PARKERSBURG -After its season-opening 47-35 win at Ripley that saw running back Brendan Schwendeman rush for more than 400 yards, spirits around the Parkersburg South football camp were sky high.
But the Patriots quickly fell back to Earth last Friday, losing their home debut to Class A Linsly, 33-14. Just as South had run over Ripley, Linsly ran over South.
"We are going to have to some confidence rebuilding," said first-year coach Mike Eddy. "We will have to look at what we can do differently so we can be the best we can possibly be."
South will have to be at its best this Friday night, when 2-0 Morgantown visits the Erickson All-Sports Facility. The Mohigans are ranked No.2 in Class AAA in the latest Charleston Daily Mail poll of state sports writers. The Mohigans opened the season with a pair of routs, blasting both Brooke, 47-7, and Coolidge (D.C.), 66-8, at Pony Lewis Field.
"We're going back to the grind," said Eddy. "We have to go back and re-evaluate what we are asking the players to do and if they are physcially able to do it."
Morgantown has dominated Parkersburg South on the gridiron.
"The kids we are coaching now have never beaten Morgantown," Eddy said. "That puts us at a psychological disadvantage."
One the Patriots must overcome by deciding they can beat the Mohigans.
South is hoping offensive lineman Luke Williams will return to the lineup and that Cody Boggs, who adds depth at the skill position, also will be ready to play. South has added three players to its roster who recently decided they would like to be part of the football program. Still, Eddy is not pleased with the size of the roster.
"We need to foster interest in this program," he said. "There is no reason why we only have 43 players in grades 10 through 12."
Eddy was pleased with the large and enthusiastic crowd that came out to support the Patriots.
"It was standing room only on our side," he said. "That made our performance all that much more disappointing."
Rather than pointing the finger at the players, Eddy placed the blame for the loss on himself. "I don't mind taking the blame for such a beating," he said.
A beating South doesn't want to repeat.
"Morgantown is one of the top programs in the state," Eddy said. "They are established. We're on our way there."
South is asking its sophomores to grow up in a hurry. It really has little choice in the matter. The number of seniors on the roster is so small, the youngsters must step play and play now, whether or not they are ready to do so.
Morgantown, like South a member of the Two Rivers and Ohio Valley Athletic conferences, is led by running back Chazzy Thomas, one of the top candidates for the Kennedy Award. Mohigan junior Stone Wolfley, son of former West Virginia University star Dale Wolfley, already has committed to the Mountaineers.