From Wimer and back
It has been a wild week of nosing around the gridiron for this reporter, and very enjoyable to say the least. My seven-day stretch of getting out and about started Aug. 5 at Wimer Field, doing a photo shoot in preparation for The Inter-Mountain’s upcoming football preview guide. Fittingly, Wimer is where my journey ended this past Saturday as the Elkins High School Tigers took on Liberty for a pre-season scrimmage.
Taking in West Virginia’s natural beauty was a bonus as my Ford Escape and I escaped from my day job for a week’s vacation filled with one of my truest passions, the game of football. I put in a lot of miles, each one worth it to be close to the game once more.
On Monday, I stopped by the Colts’ Corral to check in on the Philip Barbour Colts. New head coach Russ Collett was barking out orders to his troops in blue as they occupied George Byrer Field. Also, I got to enjoy the antics of an old friend, assistant coach Marcus Johnson. If you know Marcus, you know what I mean — he’s always positive and always upbeat.
I also got to check in with Barbour Middle School’s new head coach, Toby Poling, on the lower practice field at BC Bank Park. As always, Toby was positive and working intently with the youth in order to help them succeed.
Tuesday was Tucker time! I hit Route 38, hung a right in Nestorville and didn’t look back as I topped Pifer Mountain. It was the first time I had ever visited Holly Meadows Golf Course near Camp Kidd. What a wonderful area it is. I went there looking for Carleigh Bolyard, a standout Lady Mountain Lion on the links.
I went on through Parsons over to Tucker Valley Middle School, where I found coach Fred Davis and the Wildcats getting started for football practice. I grabbed a couple chicken wraps from McDonald’s, then started up Backbone Mountain where I ran into TCHS coach A.J. Rapp.
Out back behind Tucker County High School on Robert Felton Memorial Field were the Mountain Lions mixing it up in the mud for contact drills. Coach Rapp and his assistants were directing traffic, Tom Gutshall was zipping around in the gold and black utility cart, and senior Brett Reall was handing out big hits and was hard to tackle.
Wednesday took me near Tennerton on the beautiful campus of Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Over at Ted Crites Alumni Field, head boys soccer coach Mike Donato unlocked the gate and let me in for some time on the pitch. He smiled when talking to me, but he was all business once he was back on the job.
Down at Freal “Red” Crites Memorial Stadium, for the first time in more than 20 years I set foot into the Bucs’ fieldhouse. I played a number of games there in my youth before the artificial turf was laid, but my memories were not covered up by the new surface.