MARIETTA, Ohio — They may be the new kids on the block, but this won’t be their first time around on the gridiron.
In its first year of eligibility, the Point Pleasant football program will have a significant impact on the final outcome of the 2015 Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis Football Classic being held Friday at Don Drumm Stadium on the campus of Marietta College.
Both PPHS and Wahama became eligible this year for inclusion into this event, which is currently headed into its 22nd annual contest between some of the best players in the Parkersburg-Marietta region in a West Virginia versus Ohio based format.
Gilmer County and Roane County joined the Big Blacks and White Falcons as first-year eligibles, while Athens and Nelsonville-York are also first-time participants on the Ohio side.
Point Pleasant, however, will have the most representation of any school participating in the annual contest. Besides having a game-high eight players involved, the entire Mountain State coaching staff will consist of Dave Darst and his assistants from PPHS.
“We are honored that the West Virginia side of this event wanted us to do this. When we, meaning the staff, got together to discuss this, we decided that this was a good opportunity for us to coach together at something worthwhile. We did not want to pass up a chance like this.
“You get to coach some of the best players in West Virginia, and that was really exciting to us. Plus, we get a chance to work with some of our graduated players one more time … and that’s kind of a thrill too.”
The eight familiar faces that Darst is bringing with him to Ohio’s first city have served as cornerstones in the PPHS program over the last four years. The Big Blacks have currently made seven consecutive postseason trips in football and own a state-best 23-game regular season winning streak headed into the 2015 campaign.
Recent graduates Aden Yates, Jon Peterson, Brian Gibbs, Cody Marcum, Noah Morgan, Dylan Lunsford and Chase Moses will strap on the PPHS helmet one more time for Coach Darst, which should make things a little more comfortable for both parties involved.
“These eight seniors are part of the winningest four-year class we’ve ever had at Point Pleasant, and honestly they are really good leaders,” Darst said. “For me, I have my quarterback and some very familiar pieces in other places. That will definitely help us coaches get our offense and defense in before the game.”
Wahama’s Demitrius Serevicz was also selected to participate for the West Virginia squad, but will not be able to play due to recovering from a torn meniscus during wrestling season.
Mason County, however, is not the only program of local interest in regards to this annual fundraiser. Meigs will have a trio of players participating on the Ohio squad, while Eastern is sending a pair to reinforce the Buckeye State roster.
Playing one final game for the Marauders are Brad Harless, Daylen Neece and Michael Davis, while Christian Speelman and Brent Welch strap it up one more time as Eagles. The Ohio squad will be coached by Trimble’s Phil Faires.
West Virginia leads the alltime series by a 13-8 count, but Ohio won last year’s contest by an 18-13 margin at Stadium Field in Parkersburg. The series is split at 3-3 over the last six years as well.
Regardless of which team wins Friday night, Darst noted that even the losing team comes away with a great sense of dignity and pride in being part of something better.
He’s also hoping that some of the local football fanatics will come out and be part of this special event.
“That’s the real gem about this game. All of the money that is raised goes to a good cause, to help in the research of the battle against cystic fibrosis,” Darst said. “We’re hoping that our community, that the other communities who have players involved, will come out and support the kids one more time for an even better cause. It should be a fun time.”
2015 BACF Football Classic Rosters
Point Pleasant: Jon Peterson, WR-DE; Dylan Lunsford, PK; Aden Yates, QB-DB; Brian Gibbs, TE-DE; Gage Buskirk, WR-DB; Cody Marcum, RB-DB; Noah Morgan, OL-DL; Chase Moses, OL-DL
Wahama: Demitrius Serevicz, TE-DL
St. Marys: Jason Allen, TE-DE; Jeremy Pratt, RB-DB; Corey Stewart, RB-LB; Jared Bills, FB-DL; Bernie Northrup OL-DL
Ritchie County: Tristan Ray, RB-LB; Weston Ward, OL-DL; Rayce Bolin, OL-DL
Roane County: Steven McGinnis, WR-DB; Cody May, WR-DB; Caije Nichols, OL-DL; Alex Ashley, OL-DL
Paden City: Brandon Cross, WR-DB; Zach Heasley, QB-DE; Denton Thomas, OL-DL
Gilmer County: Anthony Dean, WR-DB; Austin Ratliff, WR-DB
Doddridge County: Wyatt Ford, RB-LB; Devin Yeager, OL-DL
Ripley: Jake Martin, RB-DB
Tyler Consolidated: Nick Anderson, OL-DL
Williamstown: Dakota Watson, RB-DB; DJ Kerns, OL-DL
Parkersburg: Josh Trembly, QB-DB; Stephen Dailey, WR-DB; Dan Fox, WR-DB; Chase Shank, RB-LB; Max Chefren, RB-DE; Charley Conley, OL-DL
Parkersburg South: Brendan Schwendeman, RB-DB; Alex Townsend, WR-DB
W.Va. head coach: David Darst, Point Pleasant
Meigs: Michael Davis, RB; Daylen Neece. OL; Brad Harless, OL
Eastern: Christian Speelman, WR; Brent Welch, OL
Trimble: Terry Simerly, WR; Austin Downs, WR; Caullin Lunsford, FB; Micah Couch, OL; Tanner Koons, OL
Belpre: Manney Tullius, RB
Federal Hocking: Ivan Santiago, RB
Nelsonville-York: Jeremy Warren, WR; Dakota Mays, TE; Jay Elliott, OL
Athens: Bryce Graves, RB; Troy Stadler, RB
Warren: Jared Isner, RB; Brandon Pahl, OL; Cole Wigal, WR-K
Marietta: Grant Lehman, TE; Garrett Davis, RB; Evan Rhodes, OL
Fort Frye: Terren Huck, QB; Brandon Close, RB; Levi Baker, OL
Frontier: Mitchell Reynolds, QB; Rodney Barnes, RB; Lane Curtis, OL
Caldwell: Jamieson Ackley, OL; Christian Guy, OL; Tanner Baker, TE
Monroe Central: Zach Jorris, WR; Levi Brown, RB; Gavin Morton, WR
Morgan: Logan Meadows, WR; Michael Apperson, RB; Kade Mayle, OL
River: Brok Cross, WR; Cole Islay, RB
Beallsville: Mikey Palmer, WR
Ohio head coach: Phil Faires, Trimble
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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