Solid slate of Saturday encounters set

Three games are on tap tomorrow when high school football kicks off its Saturday schedule.

Beallsville will unveil the Paul Kanzigg era when the Blue Devils trek to Bowerston to meet Conotton Valley at 1:30 p.m. Bellaire will meet Steubenville Central at Harding Stadium and Linsly will entertain Magnolia at Wheeling Island Stadium, with both of those games having 7:30 p.m. kickoffs.

Kanzigg took over the Blue Devils’ helm when veteran head coach Dave Caldwell retired after 30-plus seasons at the Monroe County-based school.

“I am excited to take over and I believe I am up to the challenge,” Kanzigg, who served as the team bus driver under Caldwell for the past few seasons, said. “We lost a very good bunch of players, but I expect the winning to continue.”

First-year Rockets’ head coach Eric Schumacher has had a busy summer. He led the Ohio-side to a win in the OVAC All-Star Classic in late July before readying his squad for its season.

Conotton Valley was 2-8 last season.

Bellaire at Steubenville Central

The Big Reds won a shootout last year on the Reno Field turf, 63-27, but fourth-year head coach Jose Davis is worried about his team.

“We are very young and inexperienced at several key positions,” he offered during Thursday night’s McDonalds OVAC Kickoff Classic at Wheeling Island Stadium. “I told you in the preseason that you can’t teach experience.”

Bellaire returns junior quarterback Spencer Badia who passed for nearly 2,400 yards and 28 touchdowns. He lit the Crusaders up for a Bellaire single-game record 507 yards and seven TDs last season, but as Davis puts it, “That was last season when he had a veteran corps of receivers. This year he doesn’t have the luxury, but we expect him to take a leadership role and learn with those kids.”

Classmate Nick Patrone is the lone seasoned receiver returning.

Steubenville Central will be led by three-year starter Brenton Colabella at quarterback. The junior has passed for nearly 3,000 yards in his career, and is close to establishing a new career record for the Blue-and-Gold.

His favorite receiver, Zach Herrington, returns.

Magnolia vs. Linsly

In the McDonalds OVAC Kickoff Classic finale, the Blue Eagles and Cadets will clash for the first time in quite some time.

Magnolia finished 5-5 in 2011, but veteran head coach Mark Batton is seeking improvement this season as 15 lettermen return. Batton saw last season as a learn-on-the-job for a youthful squad.

Meanwhile, Linsly is in the rebuilding mode under seventh-year head coach B.J. Depew who coached the Cadets to a perfect 10-0 season and OVAC Class 2A title last fall.

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