Martins Ferry finalizes its football slate

It took a little while longer than head coach Dave Bruney might have hoped, but the fact that it’s finished is still a big relief.

Martins Ferry has put the finishing touches on its 2013 football schedule.

“We’re happy to have it done,” Bruney said.

The last two seasons, the Riders have lined up against the same 10 opponents since they were able to ink two-year deals.

However, none of those three games remain on the slate for 2013. Gone are Heath, Shenandoah and Ridgewood.

With those series not continuing, the Purple Riders found themselves in need of three non-league games.

The Riders were able only to sign one OVAC opponent for those spots. That being a week three visit from Linsly.

“Adding Linsly is certainly a challenge,” Bruney said. “Year to year, you really don’t know how good they’re going to be, so that will be a challenging game.”

The Purple Riders will open the season against Allderdice out of Pittsburgh and then welcome Wickliffe, which is located in Lake County. Wickliffe finished 3-7 last season.

“I believe Allderdice would be a Division I in Ohio and Wickliffe is exactly our size, so that’s a good fit,” Bruney said. “Allderdice normally wins five games, so if we’re able to win that game, that could definitely help us down the road in terms of playoff points.”

The Riders will return the nearly 3-hour trip to Wickliffe in 2014 to complete the two-year contract.

“We’re happy to have six home games and we could have six again in 2014 if Allderdice stays on,” Bruney pointed out.

The Buckeye 8 schedule will once again consume the final seven weeks of the Purple Riders’ schedule.

The order of the games has been jockeyed somewhat. The last several years, the Riders have tangled with St. Clairsville in Week 9. The meeting with the Red Devils has shifted to Week 4 and will serve as the Buckeye 8 opener for both teams.

Each of the other league games – outside of Bellaire – bump down one week.

Therefore, Martins Ferry will play each of its first five games at Purple Rider Stadium.

The Riders’ last home game of the campaign comes in Week 7 against Buckeye Local. They’ll finish with road trips to Indian Creek, Edison and Bellaire for the annual meeting for SPARKY.

The Purple Riders and Big Reds ancient series will remain in Week 10 even after the Big Reds leave the Buckeye 8 followin the 2014 season.

Staskey can be reached at