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Full Slates: Wtown, St. Marys gridders reach ten games, again

Williamstown’s Trevor Oates runs through several Ravenswood defenders in a 2019 regular-season contest.

WILLIAMSTOWN — After watching the opening week of the football season taken away by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission’s decision to push back the beginning of the year to Sept. 4, teams around the Mid-Ohio Valley were sent scrambling to find replacement opponents for their 10th game.

Ritchie County and Magnolia became the first teams to solve their dilemmas with their rescheduled opening week matchups. Williamstown and St. Marys joined the Blue Eagles and Rebels earlier this week. While the Yellowjackets and Blue Devils won’t meet for a second time outside of their rivarly game, leaders Chris Beck and Jodi Mote found challenging replacements to fill their slate.

St. Marys faces perennial Class AA playoff contender Wayne in Week 2. Williamstown suits up against annual Class A playoff visitor Summers County and its high-flying offense in Week 6.

The Devils and ‘Jackets travel for their matchups.

Both annual Class A state playoff contenders were pleased to pick up a 10th game.

St. Marys head man Jodi Mote holds a meeting with his team during a timeout of the 2019 regular-season meeting against Wirt County.

Neither group faced repercussions for an incomplete slate of games, however. New rules released by the WVSSAC earlier this week eliminated the need for teams to schedule eight or more games to earn a postseason berth.

Mote offered another perspective on his need to fill his schedule.

“You never know when the last game is going to be with this COVID situation so you might as well prepare to play as many as you can. I was more dead set on giving the our kids, especially our seniors, an opportunity to play regardless of the situation,” Mote said during.

For St. Marys, the contest with Wayne emerged out of Mote’s working relationship with long-time Wayne head man Tom Harmon on the West Virginia Football Coaches Association. Harmon and St. Marys are linked together in more than just a friendly banter between coaches. Harmon grabbed his first win at the high school against the Blue Devils in 1998.

“He (Harmon) told me they aren’t a powerhouse like they used to be, but they have a strong tradition and history and his staff and he do a good job working with their kids so it is still going to be a challenge,” Mote said.

The contest marks yet another long road trip for a St. Marys team having traveled to Naugatuck, Baker, Franklin and Charmco to face tough competition in the past years.

Williamstown and Summers don’t have nearly the gap in the last time they faced off. The Yellowjackets elimination of the the Bobcats back in the 2018 playoffs gives the group a reason to want a little revenge.

This trip to Hinton comes one week after the ‘Jackets’ rivalry game with St. Marys.

“We wanted to have a chockfull schedule and pick up another quality opponent. They (Summers) are well coached and a good team they are very solid throughout the years. We are going to have our hands full and it is a long drive but our kids look forward to the challenge just like the rest of the schedule,” Beck said. “I think we are going to be glad we saw them as we will see another offense in a schedule already filled with a variety of offenses. We have a good mix.”

With the scheduling everything looks good for each group, right now.

Both teams may not be finished with reshuffling their schedules. Depending on a decision made by the Ohio High School Athletic Association in regards to football, each teams schedule could feature another lost game. St. Marys plays Belpre to open the season. Williamstown travels to Fort Frye in Week 3.

The Yellowjackets and Blue Devils are looking to return to the playoffs after deep runs just one season ago.

In other local team news, Parkersburg South is working with Capital to play its originally scheduled opening game during both of the team’s Week 7 bye weeks, according to Patriot head coach Nathan Tanner.

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