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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 earnestly hoping to get the season in, local football will take on a whole new look. On the sidelines, though, nothing is changing.

In Steubenville, the Big Red had an unusual 6-4 finish despite again qualifying for the playoffs. Head coach Reno Saccoccia will entering his 38th season at the helm of Big Red and will taking an Ohio Valley-best 387-74 career record into the campaign.

Wheeling Central head coach Mike Young is back for his 16th season at Wheeling Central and on the heels of another West Virginia state championship.

Young’s gridders finished at 10-4 last fall and boosted his career mark to 150-43.

Brett McLean continues to pack on wins at St. Clairsville, closing ’19 with an 8-3 record, enough to push his career mark to 145-68.

Another successful coach, who like McLean, has been around the valley coaching for a while is Andrew Connor.

He heads into his 18th season after finishing a playoff season with a 10-2 slate. His total record is now at 108-70. He guided the Redskins to their first playoff win in school history.

Mike Flannery, in his 18th year at River High School, closed at 6-4 a year ago and is now the owner of a 100-81 record. The Pilots came up just short, for the second straight season, of qualifying for the Division VII playoffs.

Closing in on 100 wins are two coaches that have had great success at their respective schools. Shadyside’s Mark Holenka, in his 12th year and coming off an 8-4 record season now holds a 98-36 career mark.

Linsly’s B.J. Depew, who followed his father’s footstep on the Cadet sideline, is in his 15th season. Linsly closed at 7-3 on 2019 and that pushed his career mark to 84-55.

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