Paul AdkinsSports Editor
April 11, 2013
If you like Cardinal Conference football then you should be at Mingo Central’s Buck Harless Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 17.
That’s when all eight league teams are scheduled to scrimmage in the first ever Cardinal Conference Gridorama.
All eight schools got together recently and drew names to see who they would play.
Chapmanville Regional High School drew Poca and will scrimmage against the Dots in one of the four preseason games.
Wayne, the two-time defending Class AA state champions, are set to battle it out against the Scott Skyhawks. Wayne beat Keyser 35-0 in last year’s state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium. The year before in 2011 the Pioneers won 34-7 over then Cardinal Conference member Point Pleasant in the finals.
Wayne also won a recent 2A state championship in 2006 with a 33-6 victory over county rival Tolsia, which has since rejoined the conference.
The other four league teams — host Mingo Central, Sissonville, Tolsia and Herbert Hoover — will also scrimmage against each other.
“We’re going to play three quarters of football in each game — two at the varsity level and one at the JV level,” Chapmanville football coach George Barker said about the gridorama. “It’s going to take place in the second Saturday after practice starts. We start practice on August 5. The games will probably start around 3 o’clock in the afternoon to get in all four scrimmages. We put everybody’s name in the hat and drew them out one at a time. The first team drawn was Poca and the second team was us, so we’re going to scrimmage Poca.”
The new gridorama is molded after the Mountain State Athletic Conference which has had its own preseason grid the last few years.
Mingo Central, which had affiliate league status last season and made it to the playoffs, will play a full slate of Cardinal Conference games this fall.
Buck Harless Stadium is considered one of the top high school football facilities in the state. The stadium has a grass-like Field Turf artificial surface, a large locker room, unlimited parking space and holds around 5,000 fans.
The home of the Miners hosted the Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl for the first time last summer as the West Virginia All-Stars won 37-12 over the Kentucky All-Stars. This year’s Senior Bowl is Aug. 3, also to be played at Mingo Central.
Barker said Harless Stadium is the perfect choice for the event.
“This way everyone has to go to Mingo Central,” Barker said. “They are the new kid on the block, so to speak, and they get to welcome everybody and everybody gets to visit their facility ahead of time. I think it’s a pretty good deal for us. Everyone scrambles around trying to find scrimmages. This way it’s already built in. It’s the first scrimmage instead of the second. A lot of these gridoramas are the second but we thought it would be better to be the first.”
Chapmanville is hoping to bounce back from last year’s 4-6 season.
It was the Tigers’ first losing campaign since 2005 and broke Chapmanville’s string of five straight playoff appearances.
Chapmanville faltered down the stretch, falling to Tolsia (40-32), Wayne (55-7) and 3A Point Pleasant (48-15) in the last three games.
This fall, Point Pleasant is off the schedule as the Big Blacks will be replaced by Mingo Central, which plays a full seven Cardinal Conference games this fall. The Miners are set to play at Chapmanville in Week 8.
Barker said he’s in the process of meeting with prospective football players for the coming season.
The Tigers are set to take part in the three-week summer practice period in June and will have at least one 7-on-7 event tentatively slated for June 14.