Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


September 14, 2013

Coach Snidow makes NFL news as printers make the words work in area

— — Maybe some things really don’t change. David Woodard, a musician, librarian at the Emma Yates Library in Pocahontas, proud father of a fine little young lady, businessman and school board member (just listing all that makes me tired) is also a sports fan.

Somehow David got mixed up as a child and became a Redskins fan. Nevertheless, he sent a great picture and explanation through the mail about an event from the season-opening game between the ‘Skins and the Philadelphia Eagles that is sure to warm the heart of anyone who likes the Tazewell Bulldogs — or Emory & Henry College.

Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly used an unusual formation in the second quarter of the game earlier this week which featured three offensive linemen next to the quarterback and two more lined up next to the outside receivers. Kelly got it from former Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier, now the coach at South Carolina.

Spurrier retrieved it from an old Wasp playbook and the coach who originated it was none other than the late Conley Snidow. He used it first at Tazewell High School. Snidow put the play into a series in the 1949 Burley Bowl game that evidently Spurrier saw film of and later adopted.

My broadcasting partner and fellow teacher Jerry Smith at THS says that he used the same formation a few years back in a middle school game when he was co-coaching with Chuck Burton, a long-time Tazewell staffer now teaching and coaching in the Roanoke area.

In addition, Sam Angles, who was not only an All-Southwest District performer a few years back but also a solid athlete for the old Bluefield State College Big Blues, as well as a Tazewell teacher and a broadcaster with me on the old WTZE airways, remembers the play.

Both said that the play was not used in the 1986 state championship game between Tazewell and Nottoway. Sam remembers Spurrier using it a time or two and Jerry said a play like that would only work in special situations and that most good teams today would be ready for it or would call a quick time out to set up a defense.

Still, it was wonderful to learn that more than 60 years ago, the “old ball coach” who led the Bulldogs to some great seasons, Coach Conley Snidow, devised something that still works in the mighty NFL today.

Thanks David, Jerry, and Sam for your insight.


Newspaper work is all about printing. One of my longest-tenured friends in Tazewell, Doyle Rasnick, has also been one of the area’s best at that trade, along with his wife, Linda, and family for many years. That business, Clinch Valley Printing, has also worked with the Daily Telegraph over the years. Like many of your neighbors, the Rasnicks are rock-solid, honest, dependable, and reliable.

Now with their “retirement” (they still stay very busy) the operation has changed hands. Richard and Susan Weaver are keeping the tradition going and are happily doing very well. Like the Rasnicks, they are helpful and good friends to many community efforts. In small towns across the country, it is always the local businesses who make living much more worthwhile.

Look through high school annuals from your own past and check the ads in school newspapers. Local business is the backbone of success for our children. Like you, I try very hard to shop locally and support projects in my own backyard.

I buy automobiles from people I have had in class. My insurance agent has been my friend for almost 40 years. My local doctor helped to save my life four years ago and I have taught my dentist’s children while later watching them play various sports. My mother gets good care from many of my former students and friends. That is what it means to live in a hometown, I suppose, less than a mile from where I was born.

So, it is simply another “local boy makes good” type of story that could no doubt be retold in Princeton, Bluefield, Richlands, Grundy, and many other localities.

Four Seasons Country is truly a special place.

Larry Hypes, a teacher at Tazewell High School, is a Daily Telegraph columnist.


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