Football season kicks off

PARKERSBURG -A majority of high school teams are optimistic when the regular season commences. Every team is 0-0 and believing a postseason berth is a possibility.

Tonight marks the beginning of the 2014 campaign for teams in the Mid-Ohio Valley. One of the most successful programs in the country travels to Vincent as Parkersburg seeks its 800th win in school history. If the Big Reds are to accomplish this milestone tonight, they must defeat Warren.

Two teams coming off 2-8 records hook up at the Erickson All-Sports Facility as Parkersburg South hosts Ripley. Last year’s meeting turned into a shootout with South’s Brendan Schwendeman rushing for a school record 410 yards to go with five touchdowns. Schwendeman is back in the fold and so is his quarterback Garrett Gilkeson.

Two other Wood County teams are in action but hit the road. Williamstown, which advanced to the Class A semifinals last season, goes to Kidwell to tangle with a Tyler Consolidated outfit which flirted with a postseason berth before finishing 5-5.

Parkersburg Catholic starts off with a road game against a Buffalo team which went winless last season. The Crusaders finished 7-3 and missed by tenths of a point from earning a spot in the postseason.

Also on the West Virginia side of the river, St. Marys plays its final season at Imlay Field and welcomes Ritchie County to town. Both programs were playoff qualifiers a year ago.

Two more postseason teams from a a year ago play in Ravenswood as the Red Devils celebrate 100 years of football by starting off with Wahama.

Roane County opens at home against Clay County. The Raiders are trying to snap a trend that has seen them lose its playoff opener the past three seasons.

In Glenville, Gilmer County hosts a Calhoun County program which has lost 18 straight games dating back to Week 3 of the 2012 season.

Wirt County has some payback waiting when it travels to Valley (Fayette). Last year, the Tigers turned over the ball four times, including one on a potential game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter of a 14-8 loss.

Similar to Parkersburg Catholic, Doddridge County missed the playoffs after finishing 7-3. The Bulldogs’ first test takes them to South Harrison, which lost its last five games of the 2013 regular season.

In Washington County, Belpre is looking to build upon a .500 season. The Golden Eagles first must take on a Fort Frye outfit which capped off an 8-3 finish.

Other games on the Ohio side of the river include Marietta at Morgan, Waterford at Miller, Caldwell at Newcomerstown, Frontier at Shenandoah and River at Eastern.

Marietta has a new coach in former Tiger quarterback Jason Schob. Waterford tries to continue Miller’s offensive struggles which witnessed four shutouts while averaging 8.0 points per game.

Momentum is on Caldwell’s side after the Redskins won their last six games of the regular season and qualified for the Division VII playoffs while capping off the year at 9-3. River and Eastern did not meet last season. The Eagles are looking for redemption after losing their last six games of the regular season and averaging 8.5 points during that span.