The next hurdle for Parkersburg’s Big Reds is a team that is trying to avoid a bit of bad football history as the Riverside Warriors invade Stadium Field on Friday for a Mountain State Athletic Conference game.
The Big Reds are fresh from an exciting three-overtime win over long-time nemesis George Washington and need two more wins to qualify for the state playoffs.
Riverside became a school in 1999 with the consolidation of East Bank and DuPont High Schools. In the first five years of the series, PHS seemed to make a habit of playing the Warriors twice in the same season as they met four times in the playoffs over that span after playing in the regular season as well. And PHS won every post-season meeting, including a 31-28 victory in the state finals of 1999. Three times over those first five years Riverside won the regular season meeting only to lose the rematch in the playoffs.
In 2004 Riverside beat PHS 14-11 in the regular season to square the series between the two schools at 5-5. But that was the last time PHS lost to Riverside as the Big Reds are currently riding a nine-game winning streak against the Warriors including some squeakers like 35-34 in 2008 and 38-35 two years ago.
This year the Warriors are winless in nine games and trying to avoid their first season without a victory. They have lost to five common opponents – 58-14 to South Charleston, 42-13 to Beckley Woodrow Wilson, 42-0 to George Washington, 60-12 to Capital and 63-13 to Cabell Midland. Other defeats came to Princeton (27-26), Spring Valley (36-20), St. Albans (25-19) and Hurricane (47-0).
By contrast, PHS lost to South Charleston 45-20 (after trailing 17-6 at the half), to Capital 56-20 (after trailing 28-13 at the half), and to Cabell Midland 42-21 (after trailing 28-7 at the half). But the Big Reds beat George Washington 37-34 last week and beat Beckley 24-0 three weeks ago.
Riverside is led by quarterback Cole Sigman who has completed 35 of 102 passes for 479 yards and five touchdowns with 11 interceptions. Leading rushers are Darius Booker with 321 yards on 62 carries with two touchdowns and Chaeten Wilkinson with 249 yards on 40 attempts with three scores. Top receivers are Logan Ramsey with 15 catches for 197 yards and four touchdowns and Booker with nine catches for 119 yards. Wilkinson is the top scorer with five touchdowns.
Defensively the Warriors are led by 6-foot-3, 240 pound tackle Mikeal Lipscomb with 48 tackles including five sacks while 160 pound sophomore linebacker Brody Bess is second with 46 stops and 200 pound junior linebacker Jason Bostic has 45. Riverside has eight interceptions this year – by eight different players. They also have 10 fumble recoveries for a total of 18 takeaways while giving up the ball 22 times themselves (11 interceptions and 11 fumbles lost).
Meanwhile, PHS has lived off its plus 11 turnover ratio - 23 turnovers, recovering 12 fumbles and coming up with 11 interceptions, while losing the ball just 12 times (8 fumbles, 4 interceptions). The Big Reds have also produced a whopping five touchdowns off takeaways (three fumble returns and two picksix plays) while also scoring on a kickoff return.
Corey Burdette remains the team’s leading rusher with 457 yards (3.9 average) and five touchdowns while Josh Trembly has completed 34 of 94 passes for 725 yards and 12 touchdowns. Austin Life is the leading receiver with 11 catches for 279 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, Max Chefren has been a terror with 81 stops, 28.5 of them behind the line of scrimmage. Chefren has seven sacks and two fumble recoveries. Chase Shank ranks second with 69 tackles (7.5 for loss, 2 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries).
Jenkins, Hammell To Enter PHS Football Hall of Fame Friday The most decorated lineman in the history of Parkersburg High School football and a player was so valuable to the team that he rarely left the field are the newest members of the Big Reds’ Football Hall of Fame.
Josh Jenkins and Al Hammell will enter the Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 31, when the Big Reds host Riverside.
Jenkins was a lineman who earned virtually every award available to a high school football player and was the center of a nationwide recruiting effort by nearly every college in the country. He was that rare lineman who actually outshone the backs he blocked for as he led the Big Reds to back-to-back state championships.
Hammell played nearly every down for three years, helping the Big Reds win a state title and even making the rare transition from lineman to running back as a senior when he earned all-state honors as a linebacker.
The common thread between the two standouts was their ability to help their teams win games.
Hammell’s senior group set the standard with 37 wins over a three-year period with just four defeats. His teams went 11-3, 12-1 and then 14-0 in 1999, finishing second, third and first in the state over that period.
Jenkins’ teams were second on the all-time list for wins over a three-year period with 35 (against just five losses) and are the only team in PHS history to win back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007.
As a sophomore and junior Hammell played tight end and linebacker as well as being on all special teams. Even a broken hand as a junior did not keep him off the field.
After losing the likes of Nick Swisher and Mike Lerch from his junior team, Hammell was asked to switch to tailback as a senior and spent his summer increasing his speed and agility. He responded with 1,524 yards rushing and scored 22 touchdowns, including five against Musselman in the playoffs. He scored 16 rushing touchdowns, caught three TD passes and returned three interceptions for touchdowns (tying Howard Rutter’s school record set back in 1926).
He also led the team in tackles with 122 which earned him the Huff Award as the state’s top defensive player.
After graduation he played linebacker at Princeton and then worked in higher education in West Virginia, Oklahoma and New York City. He currently works in Student Financial Services for the University of Virginia and he and his new wife Sahtiya live in Charlottesville.
Jenkins started out as a basketball star and played that sport until his junior year when his 6-foot-4, 300-pound frame lent itself more to football, a sport he didn’t start playing until the seventh grade.
As a sophomore at PHS he earned a starting position, helped the Big Reds make the state playoff quarterfinals and became a first team all-stater. As a junior he again earned all-state honors and helped the Big Reds go 14-0.
By the time his senior season rolled around he was sought by virtually every college in the country. He had an amazing 158 pancake blocks (where the defender is put to the ground), including 29 against Morgantown. In honor of that feat, current PHS head coach (then assistant) Don Reeves put a box of unopened pancake mix on top of his locker. He also found time to make 113 tackles, seven sacks and 15 tackles for loss while also rushing for a touchdown against arch-rival Parkersburg South.
He was USA Today first team All-American, Parade Magazine All-American, Gatorade Player of the Year, the first three-time first team All-State selection since Ross McHenry in 1922 and the first West Virginia player to participate in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game in Texas. He won the Hunt Award as a junior and senior as the top lineman in the state.
He went on to West Virginia University where he was a four year letter winner. He played in five games as a freshman (making the Big East all-Freshman first team). As a sophomore he started all 13 games and earned third team All-Big East honors. As a junior he made second team All-Big East but missed the 2011 season with a knee injury before returning as a senior to start 13 games and make third team Big 12 conference.
After tryouts with Seattle and Detroit of the NFL as well as a venture to Canada, Jenkins decided to try his hand at coaching and is now an assistant at Wingate University in North Carolina.
His family includes older brother Billy Johnson, a two-time PHS all-stater who played at Ohio University, Paul Johnson, who twice made second team all-state before also going to Ohio U. and who is now coaching at the University of Charleston, where youngest brother Justin Johnson is a starting lineman.
Down 21-14 with a minute and a half left in the game, the Big Reds did not quit.
Down 24-21 in the third overtime, the Big Reds did not quit.
And thanks to Corey Burdette's one yard touchdown plunge over the right side in that third extra period of play, the Big Reds were able to pull out a dramatic 27-24 victory over host George Washington to keep their playoff hopes alive.
With their backs to wall going into the game, at the end of regulation and in the third overtime, the Big Reds showed some great character with their first win over GW in eight years.
The Big Reds evened their record at 4-4 and GW dropped to 4-4.
Trailing by seven points and pinned down on their own 12 yard line with two minutes left to play in regulation the Big Reds pulled off the biggest play of the season when Josh Trembly dropped back to pass and hurled a bomb down the left sidelines to Dan Fox. Fox caught the ball in stride near midfield and out-raced the GW defender to the goal line for the 88 yard touchdown play.
Josh Roney then kicked the crucial extra point to tie the game at 21-all with 1:18 on the clock (even though Fox actually crossed the goal line with 1:30 on the clock).
It was also the longest pass reception touchdown yardage-wise in PHS history, breaking the record of 84 yards by Bill Guinn back in 1939 from Bill Bell against West Union.
GW got into Parkersburg territory before regulation time ended.
Parkersburg won the toss for overtime and elected to go on defense first. Starting at the 20 yard line, Patriot quarterback Kaleb Mackey dropped back to pass and tried to throw to the goal line but Easton Martin leaped in front and made a diving interception to end GW's possession.
The Big Reds, who had relied on the hard running of Corey Burdette to eat up minutes and yards the whole game, scored from the eight yard line on the fifth play of the first overtime but the touchdown was negated on a flag for holding that was thrown after Burdette had already scored and into an area where there were no Big Red players.
On the next play, PHS fumbled the ball away.
The second overtime saw PHS go on offense first and again the Big Reds fumbled the ball away.
But the Big Red defense held GW on downs when Ethan Airhart broke up a fourth down pass attempt into the end zone.
George Washington had the third and final overtime first possession and thanks to big defensive plays by Max Chefren and Chase Shank, the Patriots had to settle for a 23 yard field goal by Clayton Anderson which put the home team up by three and started celebrations by the GW faithful.
But apparently they forgot that PHS would get a chance to score and this time the Big Reds were not to be denied. Trembly bounced outside and gained 14 yards on the first play from the 20 yard line. Burdette then plowed up the middle for five hard yards before taking another handoff over right guard and tackle and reaching the end zone to win the game for PHS, 27-24.
Except for three mistakes in regulation, the PHS defense performed well while the Big Red offense showed its strategy was to run Burdette and try to control the game.
On the second offensive possession of the night the Big Reds drove from its own 20 to the GW 17, eating four minutes off the clock and using 10 plays before settling for a 34 yard field goal attempt by Roney. Roney's kick hit the crossbar and was no good with 3:52 left in the first quarter.
But two plays later Shank pressured the GW quarterback into a hurried throw and Austin Brown picked it off at the 25 yard line and took it to the end zone to put PHS on the board with 3:02 on the clock.
Not until early in the second period did GW show any offensive life and it took an over-the-should catch by Druw Bowen which was good for 38 yards to achieve that feat. Four plays after Bowen's reception took the ball to the 17 yard line, Nu Nu Miller scored over right guard with 8:54 left in the first half.
PHS followed that with a 10 play drive that reached the GW 23 before running out of downs.
A 54-yard reverse by Bowen set up the second Patriot touchdown which came with just 30.8 seconds left in the half. On third down from the five yard line, tailback Anderson took a pitch and then tossed a pass to a wide-open Darnell Brooks for the touchdown that gave the home team a 14-7 halftime lead.
The first half saw GW amass 90 yards rushing and 58 passing with six first downs. PHS answered with 84 yards rushing, 28 passing and six first downs.
The Big Reds were quick to tie the game in the second half as Chase Shank scooped up a GW fumble and returned it 19 yards to the two yard line on just the second play of the half.
Burdette then rammed the ball over the right side for the touchdown with just 27 seconds gone in the half.
But a 52 yard run by Miller gave the home team the lead back just 68 seconds later on a 52 yard run to make it 21-14.
The defenses took over until the 4:42 mark when PHS went for it on fourth-and-two from its own 24 yard line and lost two yards, giving GW the ball just 22 yards from an insurance touchdown.
But the Big Red defense came up big with stops by Ben McFarland, Burdette, Brown and Chefren which gave PHS the ball back on its own 13 yard line with 2:25 on the clock.
After Trembly lost a yard on the next play he got enough protection to hurl the game-tying pass to Fox.
Burdette finished the game with 71 yards rushing on 25 carries while PHS had 153 yards on the ground and 123 in the air (3-11-1) with 12 first downs and two lost fumbles.
Miller ran the ball 33 times for George Washington for 168 yards while as a team the Patriots managed a total of 235 yards on 49 attempts while passing for 76 more (6-14-2) with 14 first downs.
Defensively Shank had 12 tackles, one fumble recovery and one pass broken up. Burdette had 11 stops including a sack and two for loss while Chefren contributed 11 stops, one a sack, three for loss and caused a fumble. McFarland contributed 10 tackles with one being a sack and two for loss.
George Washington (4-4).....0...14...7....0....0....0....3....-....24
P - Austin Brown 25 interception return (Josh Roney kick) 23:02 1st
GW - Nu Nu Miller 5 run (Clayton Anderson kick) 8:54 2nd
GW - Darnell Brooks 5 pass from Anderson (Anderson kick) 00:31 2nd
P - Corey Burdette 2 run (Roney kick) 11:33 3rd
GW - Miller 52 run (Anderson kick) 10:25 3rd
P - Dan Fox 88 pass from Josh Trembly (Roney kick) 1:18 4th
GW - Anderson 23 field goal, 3rd OT
P - Burdette 1 run, 3rd OT
JVs Beat GW, Improve to 6-0
Issiah Gossett, Kendall Leary, Noah Weaver and Tyler Lawrentz led two goal line stands as Parkersburg overcame three turnovers to remain perfect on the season with a hard fought 13-7 victory over previously undbeaten George Washington Monday night at Stadium Field in a junior varsity football game.
Gossett returned from an injury to collect 12 tackles while Weaver had a huge sack on fourth and goal from the PHS six yard line late in the game.
George Washington scored first but could not dent the PHS goal line despite advancing to the 12, seven and four yard lines later in the game.
Karson Snyder connected with Zack Blosser on a 15 yard touchdown pass with 2:18 left in the game to provide the margin of victory.
Snyder rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown while Weaver added 24 yards – all in the game-winning drive.
George Washington (7-1) 0 7 0 0 - 7 Parkersburg (6-0) 0 7 0 6 - 13
GW – Nathan Toney 8 pass from Jack Grimm (Bobby Hageboeck kick) 9:06 2nd
P – Karson Snyder 8 run (Chase Minnite kick (5:11 2nd)
P – Zack Blosser 15 pass from Snyder (kick failed) 2:18 4th Team Statistics
Rushing – GW 146, PHS 134. Passing – GW 17, PHS 23. Fumbles Lost – PHS 3. Individual Leaders
PHS Rushing – Snyder 17-95, Noah Weaver 6-24, Dakoda Sims 1-14. PHS Passing – Snyder 2-8-0 23. PHS Receiving – Blosser 2-23. PHS Sacks – Weaver. PHS TFL – Max Turner, Issiah Gossett, Kendall Leary, Tyler Lawrentz, D’Shawn Curry.
Next Game – PHS at Riverside on Monday, Nov. 3.
Freshman Fall To Spring Valley 32-6
The injury-riddle PHS freshman football team closed its season with a 32-6 loss to visiting Spring Valley despite outstanding defensive efforts by Tyee Gibson and Elijah Hearn.
Gibson, who scored the only PHS touchdown on a 41 yard reception from end-turned-quarterback Nathaniel Steed, led the way with 14 tackles while Hearn contributed 11 stops.
9th Grade Football Spring Valley 6 8 0 18 - 32 Parkersburg (3-3-1) 0 0 0 6 - 6
SV – Owen Porter 4 pass from Derek Johnson (pass failed) 6:26 1st
SV – Johnson 5 run (Porter run) 1:20 2nd
SV – Damien McBride 3 run (run failed) 9:53 4th
SV – Porter 58 run (kick failed) 5:08 4th
P – Tyee Gibson 41 pass from Nathaniel Steed (run failed) 3:52 4th
SV – McBride 36 run (run failed) 1:31 4th
First Downs - Spring Valley 12, PHS 6
Rushing Yardage - Spring Valley 34-252, PHS 29-67
Passing Yardage - Spring Valley 75, PHS 70
Punts - Spring Valley 1-13, PHS 3-31.3
Fumbles-Lost - Spring Valley 1-0, PHS 3-1
Penalties - Spring Valley 11-65, PHS 3-25
Rushing - Spring Valley: Owen Porter 11-95, Derek Johnson 3-12, Josh Pennington 2-11, Damien McBride 16-141, Ryan Bailey 2-(-7). PHS: Zion Atkinson 12-72, Tyee Gibson 4-3, Nathaniel Steed 9-(-10), Cameron Day 1-1, Darohn Barber 3-1.
Passing - Spring Valley: Johnson 5-11-0 75 yards; PHS: Steed 4-11-1 70.
The 2015 Parkersburg football schedule has been announced and contains more than a few oddities.
PHS will open with home games against George Washington and St. Albans before traveling to Huntington for the second year in a row and then playing three straight home games against Capital, Marietta and Beckley.
After an open week the Big Reds travel to Ripley and then Warren. They wind up the regular season with games at Cabell Midland and Parkersburg South. The Cabell Midland game is scheduled on Thursday and might be the first PHS game played on the night in recent history although the Big Reds used to make an annual event of playing Marietta on Thanksgiving Day.
St. Albans and Ripley replace Riverside and South Charleston from this year's schedule.
Commemorative t-shirts and bracelets are available and donations can now be made online here at the football web site by clicking on the PayPal icon under the t-shirt photograph on the left side of the page. Online contributions will be added to the sponor lists if the amount is sufficient.Contributors are reminded that tax deductible checks will be accepted. They should be made out to PHS Stadium Committee.
Sponsors are being sought with 10 levels of donations - Seat Named $200, Bronze $500, Silver $1,000, Gold $2,000 and Platinum $2,500, Team Captain $5,000, Reserved Seat Row $10,000, White $15,000, Team Spirit $20,000, PHS Big Red $50,000. Sponsors will have three years to honor their pledges. Sponsors meeting any of the pledge levels will be listed on a plaque to displayed prominently in the Stadium.
Donations from fans and alumni who are proud of Stadium Field and its storied 93 year history may also be sent to Parkersburg High School in care of Charlotte Potter, Stadium Field Committee, 2101 Dudley Avenue, Parkersburg, WV 26101.
The home side finished product!
History of Stadium Field
In the spring of 1923 a group of men got together to form a stadium committee whose sole intent was to build a stadium for the newly constructed Parkersburg High School.
Those men included John S. Echols, President of the Board of Education, C.M. Martin, Sherman Dils, J.H. Biddle, C.T. Hitshaw, Herbert Smith, John Randolph, and Paul L. Summers. The committee was incorporated on July 14, 1923 and became known as the Parkersburg High School Corporation. The process of forming a corporation was necessary because the bonded indebtedness of the Board of Education was then at the peak permitted by law. Also serving on this committee was Fayette Smoot, H.L. Martin, Edward Doesch, H.R. Debussey and W.O. Holiday. The corporation leased the back campus from the Board of Education. It was impossible, according to the law of the time, for such a corporation to build any structure on land owned by a board of education. Therefore, the board had to turn over the land known as Stadium Field, on a 99-year lease to this corporation. The bonds were then released. The money for the bonds was to be recovered through football games and other activities held at the stadium.
The stadium was the first of its kind (concrete) in West Virginia and must have been the first of its kind to be built for the use of tax-supported institution without the investment of a single tax dollar.
The plans were to build one side of the stadium in 1923 and to build the other side the following year. The end of the U-shaped stadium was to be completed in the third year. When finally, completed it was to seat about 13,000 people. The end or bowl section of the stadium was never completed according to plans. The total cost of construction for the two sides was $104,000.
In just one day after the meeting in which the stadium plan was revealed, a total of $33,000 worth of bonds was sold.
In September of 1923 the first concrete was poured for the West stands of the stadium and on Oct. 4, 1923, the first game in the new stadium was played between the Big Reds of Parkersburg High School and Athens, Ohio. The Big Reds won by a 14-13 score. Ticket prices were 25 cents for student seating, 15 cents for student standing room. For the general public, the price was season ticket was $5 for seats and $4 for standing room.
In 1925 the stadium was officially dedicated. As part of the dedication, a race from Parkersburg to Marietta was held.
The installation of the stadium lights during the fall of 1940 made it possible for football games to be played at night. Until that time, most games were played on Saturday afternoon. The lights were installed by the Parkersburg Junior Chamber of Commerce at a cost of $7,000.75. The electric bill for the use of the lights was $3.25 per hour or about $10 for each game.
The lights were put in for the dual purpose of protecting the health of the players from the intense heat and to increase attendance. Among other reasons cited for the lighting was so that persons who worked Saturday afternoon could see the Big Reds play and so that the Stadium could be used for the purpose of holding other outdoor events such as political rallies or church events. Businessmen also felt that by playing Friday night games, Saturday afternoon business would be bolstered.
The first night game at PHS Stadium was Sept. 6, 1940 with the Big Reds beating Grantsville 50-0.
During the 1984-85 football season part of the stadium stands were closed for safety reasons. On June 13, 1988 it was recommended that both sides of the stands be closed. On June 14 the Board of Education accepted that recommendation.
During the summer of 1988 temporary bleachers were purchased and put up. Remodeling was done with funding help from C.O. Erickson and began in 1992. It was totally completed in 1994 with structural steel and concrete used to repair the stands.
In 1995 PHS qualified for home playoff games. After beating North Marion in the first round, the Big Reds were scheduled to host Wheeling Park. The Patriots protested the playing conditions at Stadium Field (no grass and nothing but mud) and a state inspection committee upheld the protest – moving the game to Tyler Consolidated High School. PHS won that game 28-7 and got to host the semifinal game after much work was done to repair the turf. But Hedgesville won the game 18-0 and the drive to install artificial turf on Stadium Field began in earnest.
The Stadium Renovation committee had its first planning session on Jan. 4, 1996 with more than two dozen members. In almost no time there were plans for an artificial surface to be added to the football field along with an 8-lane Eurotan track surface, new sidewalks, asphalt parking lot and refurbished concession stands.
On Aug. 30, 1996 the first game was played on AstroTurf Xl surface between Parkersburg South and Wheeling Park. On Sept. 6 the Big Reds played host to Hurricane on the new turf.
The cost of the new surface and renovations came to $1.25 million dollars which included $400,000 worth of in-kind services, $400,000 for advertising signs, $250,000 in donations and five bank loans of $400,000.
New light standards were installed in 1998. In 1999 new locker rooms were built in the Mary Lou Hague Memorial Sports and Arts complex at a cost of $536,390. In 2005 the restoration of the concrete stands was done at a cost of $129,356. In 2006 the turf was replaced at a cost of $295,000 with ProGrass artificial surface. In 2009 a new concession stand and restrooms were built on the home side at a cost of $195,000. The track was resurfaced in 2010 at a cost of $75,000 and in 2012 handrails were installed at a cost of $68,090.
In 2013 the home side bleachers were replaced in time for the second home game of the season. New seats were also installed with backs for the reserved seat section. The visiting bleachers still need to be replaced and contributions are still being taken.