High school grid teams hit the field

The first day of practice for a high school football team usually amounts to plenty of running and sharpening skills with conditioning drills.

Area teams went through those motions on Monday as preseason drills began around the area.

Most coaches were pleased with the number of players that reported, including Elkins High School’s Greg Hott.

“We had 34 come out and we may add a couple of more,” said Hott, who has led the Tigers to the Class AAA playoffs the last two seasons. “Most of the players came back in pretty good (physical) shape.

“But I was most pleased with their mental sharpness. We went over the offense and defense schemes and I was very encouraged by the way they responded.”

Elkins will begin the season Aug. 30 at home against Oak Hill.

Buckhannon-Upshur first-year coach Duane Stoeckle welcomed 53 players on Monday.

“We’re very pleased with our numbers,” Stoeckle said. “It was a great first day of practice and the players and coaches both showed great enthusiasm.”

The Bucs will entertain Big 10 Conference foe Bridgeport on Aug. 30.

Tucker County coach A.J. Rapp said 37 players reported for the first day of practice.

He was pleased with the commitment his players showed during offseason workouts.

“Our conditioning started in January and we had 25 to 35 players participate,” Rapp said. “To be a successful program, you have to work at it year-round.”

The Mountain Lions, who will travel to Pocahontas County in their opener, are coming off a banner season, finishing undefeated in the regular season and advancing to the Class A semifinals.

Philip Barbour and Tygarts Valley also reported for drills on Monday. The Colts open the season at Grafton for a Big 10 matchup, while the Bulldogs will entertain PVC foe Pendleton County.

Other area schools also reported good numbers for the first day, including Moorefield. The Yellow Jackets had nearly 50 players begin drills on Monday.

The Yellow Jackets, who made the Class A playoffs last season, will visit Petersburg to open the campaign.