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2020 Pigskin Preview

River hopes to take the next step

HANNIBAL — If the OHSAA is going ahead with a season starting on time with the COVID-19 pandemic hovering over all fall sports, River High head coach Mike Flannery isn’t masking his expectations for his veteran squad. The Pilots’ 42-man roster, one of the biggest in recent memory at the ...

Shadyside set to christen new turf

SHADYSIDE — It seems like there’s always a reason for celebrating the Shadyside football program. Last season, the Tigers celebrated their 100th season of football. They’ve become consistent members of the Ohio playoffs, which is always a cause for celebrating. As Mark Holenka prepares ...

St. Clairsville seeks continued success

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Brett McLean has seen and done a lot in his tenure as head football coach at St. Clairsville High School. As he prepares for his 19th season, he’s faced with a challenge that he and his team have faced before. For the second straight season, the Red Devils will need to ...

Union Local using 2019 as motivation

MORRISTOWN — It’s not often that an athletic team that went winless the year prior gets a t-shirt or any type of memento to formally recognize that season. Union Local suffered through one of the toughest seasons in school history last season, dropping all 10 games, including eight ...

Barnesville seeks season-long consistency

BARNESVILLE — There’s nothing like game experience, no matter what the sport. There are times when teams have to play younger kids in order to get through some tough situations. In each of Blake Allen’s three seasons as head coach at his alma mater, Barnesville has won its season-opener ...

Beallsville enjoying increased numbers

BEALLSVILLE - Numbers and optimism are trending upward at Beallsville. Rusty Lucas begins his second season at the Blue Devils’ grid helm with a roster boasting some 20 players, a nice spike from last year. Increased numbers have buoyed hopes for gridiron success this fall. The Blue ...

Bellaire replacing heavy graduation losses

BELLAIRE — Finding a way to replace graduation losses is simply part of life when coaching at the high school level. But, when it’s 21 players, many of whom were key cogs on both sides of the ball, avoiding a significant rebuild can be a challenge. Mark Spigarelli enters his fifth ...

Bridgeport boasts experienced youth

BRIDGEPORT — Expectations are high as Bridgeport enters season three under head coach Fred Ray. The Bulldogs have plenty of offensive talent back from a 1-9 campaign, but stopping the opponent and injuries are still concerns. The Bulldogs have only have two seniors on the 2020 roster, those ...

Area coaches have had to adjust early

Coaches in all sports seem to come and go, but in the local football coaching ranks this season, they all decided to come back. Of course, the 2020 had more question marks and more realignment than any time in the past. With schools dealing with COVID-19 and players and coaches working ...

Caldwell bids to rebound from two-win season

CALDWELL - Coming off a 2-8 season and entering his fifth season on the sidelines at Caldwell, Head Coach Grant Gaydos has plenty of enthusiasm for the 2020 season having lost just one starter from last season. The biggest problem that Gaydos and the Redskins face heading into the season is ...

Buckeye boasts increased expectations

YORKVILLE — Many people often wonder how much planning goes into a season and what the chances are that everything will be covered in the planning. Well, planning for the 2020 fall season has gone off the rails. Buckeye Local football coach Roger Herbert is also the school’s baseball ...

Harrison Central wants to start fast

CADIZ — Getting off to a fast start is a key element to a team enjoying success. Harrison Central hasn’t had that luxury in Anthony Hayes’ first two seasons as head coach. The Huskies have dropped their first three games in each campaign, leading to identical 4-6 finishes. Hayes, a ...

Martins Ferry returns quality nucleus

MARTINS FERRY — After starting 1-3 last fall, Martins Ferry reeled off five victories over the final six games to finish 6-4. However, the Purple Riders fell just shy of making the Division V, Region 17 playoff field, finishing ninth just 0.8364 points behind Sandy Valley. Watching the ...

Toronto just controlling what it can control

TORONTO — The two biggest questions facing the Toronto football team this season are what will the Red Knights do for an encore following last season’s successful campaign and will they even get a chance? After missing the playoffs for three straight seasons, the Red Knights returned to ...

Monroe features strength at the skill spots

WOODSFIELD — Monroe Central High head coach Josh Ischy may not frequent casinos or plan trips to Las Vegas, but the Seminoles’ third-year mentor is ready to push his chips to the middle of the table this season. There’s optimism despite a 21-man roster and no scrimmages allowed as per ...

Rovira returns to coaching to take over Madonna

WEIRTON — Madonna football has embarked on a new era with the hiring of Dan Rovira as the head coach, and he believes his 2020 Blue Don club has the size, speed, depth and talent to compete in the West Virginia Class A ranks. “I was pleasantly surprised with the intensity this group of ...

Sisinni takes over for Filberto as Weir head coach

WEIRTON — Becoming a head coach for the first time is daunting enough, but Weir High’s new mentor, Frank Sisinni, also has to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. His Red Riders, however, should still do well in the upcoming football wars. Sisinni greeted 41 players when summer camp ...

Oak Glen coming off season to remember

NEW MANCHESTER — When Ted Arneault became the head football coach at Oak Glen four years ago, he began a culture change. The results of the seeds that he planted began to blossom last year when Arneault’s Golden Bears went undefeated through the regular season, finished with the sixth ...

Linsly taking nothing for granted this season

WHEELING — In 2019, Linsly couldn’t have asked for a better start. After winning their first seven games, the Cadets finished the year with three tough losses to finish the year at 7-3. Although finishing the year on a three-game losing streak to Kiski, Western Reserve Academy and ...

Brooke looks for continued progress

WELLSBURG — It’s always a positive when a coach knows a majority of his team is coming back from the previous season. That is the case for Brooke. After finishing 3-7 in 2019, the Bruins will bring back 18 of their 22 starters from last year’s squad. “Last season, we probably left a ...