Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

PREP FOOTBALL OPENER, 7 P.M. AT GEORGE WASHINGTON ; GW, SC Kick off Season

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

PREP FOOTBALL OPENER, 7 P.M. AT GEORGE WASHINGTON ; GW, SC Kick off Season

Article excerpt

INSIDE: Wheeling Central penalized by SSAC 4B

Ready or not, it's time to kick off high school football in the Kanawha Valley and around West Virginia. Neither George Washington nor South Charleston seems to feel completely comfortable yet, especially at the skill positions, but they're set to tee it up at the new start time of 7 p.m. Thursday at Steve Edwards Sr. Field in South Hills.

Both sides suffered heavy graduation losses among players who run, throw and catch the ball - SC even lost a four-year starter at quarterback in Kentre Grier - which, combined with the early start of classes in Kanawha County (Aug. 8), meant for less practice to get the newcomers ready for the opener.

"It's difficult," said SC coach Donnie Mays. "You don't have a lot of two-a-days, and you don't have the preparation time you used to. School used to start on the Monday after your first football game. Our practice time is shortened, our preparation time is shortened. I think a lot of people feel that way.

"You just hope you go against someone under the same circumstances as you, and fortunately for us it is another Kanawha County school."

Mays and the Black Eagles could have used a few more days to get their offense clicking.

Besides losing Grier and 1,300-yard rusher C.J Perkins, SC experienced a rash of injuries to its offensive players during preseason workouts, all of which helped Mays feel good about his defense coming into the opener, but all the while keeping his fingers crossed for his offense.

Mays said earlier this week that he's chosen junior Trae Murphy to start at quarterback over sophomore Bryce Damous. Damous served as the backup to Grier last year, while Murphy saw time at wideout and caught 13 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns.

"Trae will go first this week," Mays said, "and we'll see how it goes. If he can't do it, then Bryce is the next guy in. …

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