Pigskin Preview 2017

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King football is back

PICTURED ARE two of the area’s top senior football players, who will serve as the leaders for their respective teams this season, which begins officially on Thursday. Standing is River’s Lukas Isaly, while Martins Ferry’s Dalton Hoover is sitting. Both had all-Ohio seasons in 2016. ...

A half century on the gridiron

By BUBBA KAPRAL Executive Sports Editor WOODSFIELD — The year was 1968. LBJ was winding down his time in the White House. Star Trek made its TV debut. And sadly, both Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. It was also marked the year Jay Circosta launched his ...

Big Ten champ Penn State overshadowed by OSU

By ERIC OLSON AP College Football Writer Defending Big Ten champion Penn State returns a Heisman Trophy candidate at running back and a record-setting quarterback, and the Nittany Lions generally are regarded as one of the 10 best teams in the country. They’re not even picked to win ...

Harrison features new field and faces

By SETH STASKEY Times Leader Sports Editor CADIZ — There are certainly a lot of things to be excited about as it pertains to Harrison Central football. But, head coach Justin Kropka, who is entering his 13th season at the helm, prefers to temper the excitement and simply focus on the ...

Martins Ferry boasts quality cast

By SETH STASKEY Times Leader Sports Editor MARTINS FERRY — Dave Bruney has experienced it before. He’s not one to get caught up in the number of players listed on the roster. He prefers the quality of the players listed. As the veteran Martins Ferry head coach prepares for his ...

Monroe Central bids to rebound

By RICK THORP Times Leader Sports Writer WOODSFIELD — The story of the 2016 Monroe Central football team can best be told using one number — 40.7. That’s the average number of points allowed by the Seminoles in each of their nine losses a year ago. When you figure in their one ...

Line development will be critical for River

By SETH STASKEY Times Leader Sports Editor HANNIBAL — The bar has been raised at River. Now it’s simply a matter of sustaining the level at which the Pilots have played the last several years. Though the Pilots, who finished 10-0 last season before falling to Columbus Bishop Ready ...

Shadyside wants to finish better

By SETH STASKEY Times Leader Sports Editor SHADYSIDE — As he prepared for the 2017 season, Mark Holenka had several thoughts running through his head. Many tied into the tough-to-swallow way in which last season ended in the Division VII regional quarterfinals against Harvest Prep. ...

St. Clairsville experienced, but young

By SETH STASKEY Times Leader Sports Editor ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Not many motivational speeches have been needed around St. Clairsville’s football camp this summer. That’s what happens when a team so accustomed to winning at a high rate experiences a ‘down’ season. Or the type of ...

Union Local looks to build on success

By KIM NORTH Times Leader Sports Writer MORRISTOWN — Although Union Local was a senior-ladened team that started 5-0 and fell just shy of a Division V state playoff berth in 2016, Bruce Stiles, entering his fifth season as the Jets pilot, doesn’t see much of a dropoff this ...

Allen now guiding Barnesville

By KIM NORTH Times Leader Sports Writer BARNESVILLE — Usually it takes a season or two for a new head coach to transition his systems into a new program. That is not the case for Blake Allen who was elevated from offensive coordinator to head coach at Barnesville following the resignation ...

Things looking up at Beallsville

By BUBBA KAPRAL Executive Sports Editor BEALLSVILLE — These are exciting times for the Beallsville High football program. A new and much-needed million dollar fieldhouse will be ready for the 2018 season. Already in place is a state-of-the-art video scoreboard. And most importantly, ...

Oak Glen breaking in fresh faces in spots

By JOE CATULLO For The Times Leader NEW CUMBERLAND — Even with 10 seniors on Oak Glen’s roster for the upcoming season, the Golden Bears are starting fresh on and off the field. After an underachieving 2-8 record a season ago, second-year head coach Ted Arneault knows this year will be ...

Bellaire bids to sustain momentum

By KIM NORTH Times Leader Sports Writer BELLAIRE — It had been awhile since Bellaire fans had something to cheer about at Nelson Field. The 2016 Big Reds advanced to the Division VI state playoffs and finished 6-5 under first-year head coach Mark Spigarelli, a Bellaire alum. “We had a ...

Krol takes over at Bridgeport

By KIM NORTH Times Leader Sports Writer BRIDGEPORT — For the third time in the last four seasons, Bridgeport has a new head football coach. Gary Krol was hired when Zack Melton resigned after last season following a two-year stint in leading the Bulldogs. Melton had replaced Rudy Vavrock ...

Ohio State poised for big things

By RICK THORP Times Leader Sports Writer COLUMBUS — Urban Meyer doesn’t like to dwell on the past. Ohio State’s sixth-year head coach is more of a forward thinker. So, when discussing his team’s prospects for the upcoming season, Meyer prefers not to talk about last season; or ...

WVU has unanswered questions

By JIM BUTTA For The Times Leader MORGANTOWN – In 2016, West Virginia won 10 games for one of the best seasons in recent memory, climbing as high as No. 10 in the College Football Playoff poll at one point. It marked only the ninth time the Old Gold and Blue finished with ...

Toronto prepares for new-look schedule

By AARON PETCHAL For The Times Leader TORONTO - The Toronto football team has established itself as a quality program, and though they are a youthful bunch this season the Red Knights hope to continue their winning ways and make it to the postseason for the fourth straight season for the ...

Linsly boasts more players, OVAC foes

By BUBBA KAPRAL Executive Sports Editor WHEELING — B.J. Depew enters the 2017 season a happy man. The classy Linsly head coach is upbeat for two good reasons. One, his roster numbers are up dramatically. Two, the Orange-and-Black will be tackling an OVAC-laden schedule for the first ...

Trail slated to face eight new foes

By RICK THORP Times Leader Sports Writer OLD WASHINGTON — When Donnie Kerns took the Buckeye Trail football reins last year one of his first objectives was to change the culture. Following a 6-4 campaign, it appears he’s on his way toward doing that. While the Warriors didn’t ...