Greg Adams has a warrior's heart.
Actually, he's the Belpre Golden Eagles football boss, but a warrior in the sense that he's going to battle you for every yard in a game. He was that way when he played for legendary Belpre coach Ralph Holder in the early 1970s, and nothing has changed since he was hired as the Belpre head coach back in 2010, also the year he underwent successful triple-bypass surgery at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus.
With three blockages in arteries to the heart (He also had a stent inserted in a blocked artery in 2008.) , that was a scary time four years ago. But Adams wasn't down for long - three weeks - before he was cleared by his doctor to return to his gridiron duties.
Adams - who will be guiding the Ohio All-Stars in the 21st annual Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis (BACF) Football Classic at Parkersburg's Stadium Field at 7 p.m. Friday - loves his position as head man, and it clearly shows.
"My staff tells me that I don't lack in enthusiasm in keeping the players pumped up and ready to go," Adams said. "But that's part of my job as a head coach.
"Thing is, it's never about coaching, especially in an all-star game like this. It's about these players caring and wanting to succeed."
Earlier this year, Adams got a phone call from Parkersburg Catholic's Danny Tennant of the BACF committee.
"He asked me if I would be interested in heading up the Ohio all-stars," Adams recalled.
The coach paused.
"And, I told him, 'absolutely,'" he continued. "The BACF is for a great cause, and that's what makes it easy to say yes. Our community has enjoyed this game over the past years."
Fast-forward to last Friday night, and the Ohio BACF stars' first practice at Don Drumm Stadium.
"We just want to keep it simple," Adams said. "Practice will be at 6 p.m. for the next week, and we'll be in shorts, shoulder pads, helmets and cleats.
"It's a fun atmosphere. Now, we're going to take it serious, no question about that. But we're not going to beat each other up in practice and cause injuries or anything like that. When it comes time for hitting, that'll happen Friday night (against the West Virginia stars)."
Preparing for an all-star football game in a week's time has got to be challenging to say the least.
"We've simplified a lot of things," Adams said. "I don't care what their coach called the plays and what they ran at their home field. The plays that we're putting in, they probably already know them. It just may be called something different.
"It may run out of the wing-T, the power-I, the spread, read option any type of those plays. Basically when it comes right down to it, they're all the same. They know the plays. We're just going to call them something different. It's going to be basic and we want to keep it simple. It should come together."
So, where is everybody going to play? We'll know more about that when Friday comes around. But....
"The hardest job is to find out where these kids can best help the team in one week's time," Adams said. "We've got Chandler Lang (of Fort Frye), a running quarterback. He's very mobile. There may be a time where we take him and put Austin Klintworth in at QB and Lang at wing back. We're going to be just fine and it's going to be fun."
Fun for everyone, especially the man with a warrior's heart.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org