Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 31, 2013

Football season kicks off with toss of the coin

By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Click here for more on the Beaver-Graham game.

Traffic was moving slowly along Stadium Drive as early as 3 p.m. School buses and parents with children from Bluefield Middle School inched along as vehicles carrying football fans arrived in the parking lots around the stadium. Tents with Bluefield and Graham fans enjoying food and refreshments were in place and continued to pop up and excitement grew in anticipation of the start of the 87th meeting between the Bluefield Beavers and Graham G-Men.

‘It’s one of those great rivalries where it doesn’t just touch the schools, it touches the community, said Bo Hocker, of I-High Marketing with the Great American Rivalry Series. “This is one of the best in the country and we love coming here and had to come back for another one.”

The first fans began entering the stadium just after 6 p.m., claiming the “prime” seats, top row, midfield, and the steady flow continued through the gates even after kickoff. With the seating bowl filled, fans walked around the concourse and stood along the fence behind the goalposts.

“The atmosphere for the Graham and Beaver communities is great,” Kim Miller, Bluefield High School Athletic Director, said. “Everyone comes back for their reunions and it’s just a good clean rivalry where everybody enjoys getting together and reminiscing about when they were on the field.”

The teams arrived in their buses and went single-file into their respective locker rooms only to emerge later in small groups for warmups until eventually the playing surface of Mitchell Stadium was filled with Beavers and G-Men stretching, doing exercises and running plays.

The Bluefield High School Marching Band under the direction of David Wilson took to the field for its pregame presentation and rendered the National Anthem. The G-Men emerged from the locker room on the East side of the stadium, followed moments later by the boom of the BHS ROTC cannon and the Beavers running through the BHS Band to the West sideline.

The captains met at mid-field, the head official tossed the coin into the air and another chapter in the Beaver-Graham rivalry began to be etched into the history books.

Dan Nevin, of the Wounded Warrior program participated in the coin toss. Nevin, from Jacksonville, Fla., lost both legs when he was wounded in Iraq.

— Contact Bob Redd at

bredd@bdtonline.comc