Tygarts Valley players, coaches working hard on and off the field

The Inter-Mountain photos by Edgar Kelley Third-year Tygarts Valley coach Rodney Bright observes a drill Friday evening at Bulldog Field in Mill Creek. The Bulldogs open the regular season Aug. 30 at home against Valley (Wetzel).

MILL CREEK — With the opening week of high school preseason football drills officially in the books, things will heat up from here on out as teams prep for opening night on Aug. 30.

Although practice just started on Monday, prep coaches work year-around to get their programs where they need to be. And that’s exactly the route Tygarts Valley coach Rodney Bright has been driving down the past two years as the Bulldogs coach.

“We’re heading in the right direction for sure,” Bright said during a break in practice Friday evening. “We have 31 kids out this year and last season we won five games, which is the most in 13 or 14 years when (TV) last made the playoffs. So we’re feeling pretty confident and the kids are fired up.”

The number of players suiting up and the win totals aren’t the only areas of improvement under the third-year coach. One look around the football facilities and one can’t help but be impressed.

“Our coaches put a lot of work into fixing things up and re-painting everything inside and out” Bright said. “And we had some donations from some folks that also helped. My brother Norm (Bright) and Woodford Oil got us some equipment up here, and the quarry on Kelly Mountain (Central) gave us a really good price on some gravel. Those two things allowed us to put a new French drain in the field house, so now our locker and weight rooms don’t flood every time it rains now.”

Tygarts Valley’s Landon Kyle gets under a pass during Friday’s practice at Bulldog Field.

Even though things seem to be on the rise for Tygarts Valley, Bright says there’s still work to do both on and off the field.

“My next goal is to get the weight room where we need it to be, not only for football but for all the sports up here, he said. “As far as on the field goes, we’re pushing the players hard and they are responding. We want bigger and better things for sure this season.”

The Bulldogs, who will open the season at home against Valley Wetzel, lost several upperclassmen from a year ago, but a strong nucleus returns for 2019.

“We lost 12 seniors from a year ago, but we have many key players back,” Bright said. “We have some kids returning that had played before but didn’t come out last year. We’re really excited for the upcoming season.”