CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This year's Boone County Grid Classic, set for Friday at Scott High's turf field in Madison, is being dedicated to the county's coal miners.The opening ceremony of the three-team scrimmage will include a tribute to miners, with former college coaches Don Nehlen (West Virginia) and Bob Pruett (Marshall) participating in the event. They will also sign autographs and meet with the public.Gates open at 5 p.m., with Nehlen and Pruett available for autographs at 5:15 and the opening ceremony starting at 6.The football scrimmage pairings between the county's three high school teams are as follows - Scott vs. Sherman at 7, Sherman vs. Van at 8:30 and Van vs. Scott at 10.
"I'm very excited about the coal miner tribute,'' said Rob Nelson, the event's organizer. "Most, if not all of us, have a family member who is a coal miner. I am proud of my coal mining heritage.''Bands, cheerleaders, majorettes and football players from Boone County's junior highs, middle schools and youth football organizations will also participate.Admission is $7, but free for children not yet in first grade. All proceeds will be split among the three high schools. Supervised inflatable games will be available for children.
Nelson thanked the cooperation of Bill Raney (president, West Virginia Coal Association), Chris Adkins (director, Driven Knights, Inc.), Mark Sumpter (president, Boone County Board of Education), John Hudson (superintendent, Boone County schools) and Mike Day (executive vice-president, Patriot Coal) for helping the event take place.Rein's hopeThere's something about basketball players-turned-receivers at Logan.Three years ago, Wildcats hoops standout Deyonta Coleman came out for football and blossomed into a second-team all-stater with his receiving skills. He averaged 22 yards a catch and his 11 touchdown receptions covered distances from 28 to 85 yards.
Now, it's senior Josh Rein who could be following in those footsteps.Rein, also a starter for the school's baseball and basketball squads, flourished as a wideout last year, catching 30 passes for 689 yards and nine TDs, averaging 23 yards per catch."He's one of the best I've been around,'' said Logan coach Gary Mullins. "I hope somebody [in college] gives him a look."He never says one word, but it's a highlight show in practice every day with the things he does. He's probably the best blocking wide receiver I've ever coached, along with everything he does in baseball and basketball. He's a tremendous kid and anytime the ball goes in his direction . . . well, our quarterbacks know they've just got to get it out to him and let him make plays.''
Scrimmage scrapsA few comments from Kanawha Valley coaches following their first scrimmages on Saturday:Steve Stoffel Jr., St. Albans (vs. Capital) - "Capital's a pretty good football team with speed out the wazoo, and going in it [was a concern] with our ones against their ones. But we created three turnovers in the first 10 plays, so we're pleased with our defense. We have five new faces on the offensive line since [returning starter] Preston Lester broke his ankle, and we weren't overly enthused there, but we weren't disappointed, either. They're all correctable mistakes. We're leaps and bounds from where we were last year. I think we'll be better. It all depends on what everyone else looks like.''Eddie Smolder, Sissonville (vs. Tolsia) - "We're nowhere close to where we need to be, but I was pleased with our discipline and effort. We're making strides every day to get better. The best thing is that [preseason] practice is a little bit different because we're in school already [students reported Aug. 9]. I think the kids have handled that pretty well. The kids spend all day resting, then we have practice, but we didn't get tired at all last Saturday, so we're pleased with that.''Jeremy Taylor, Hurricane (vs. Parkersburg South) - "I wasn't disappointed. They were big people like we had trouble with last year, but we moved them a little bit. We scored more than they did, but we did have a little more speed than what they had. I thought we played well. Austin Hensley [QB] and Zach Pate [tailback] played a quarter. We just wanted to see how things go. There's no reason [to play them a lot] - the games don't count. It'd be a shame to lose someone in a game that doesn't count. It's better to have everyone when you open.''
Buffalo sits it outThe only Kanawha Valley team that doesn't have a second scrimmage scheduled this weekend is Buffalo (see schedule, Page 2B).The Bison worked out against Clay County last Saturday, and that's going to be the team's lone scrimmage, as it opted not to hold another."We always seem to get people hurt in scrimmages,'' said Buffalo coach Mike Sawyer. "My feeling is one scrimmage gives us what we need.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or email@example.com.