Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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Sports column

August 19, 2012

Column: Prep, college football on the way back

— Football season has arrived.

The high schools kick off for real on Friday, and the colleges begin on Saturday. That will be followed the next week by more high schools and more college football.

Life is good.

Beaver-Graham — or Graham-Bluefield (whatever your allegiance) — will highlight the 14-game prep schedule, with only Hurley from the region waiting an extra week to take the field.

The Daily Telegraph sports staff and numerous other folks have been combining efforts to complete the Blitz 2012 football publication will be in your hands on Thursday.

There is much left to be done to get 40 jam-packed pages of high school and college football previews, photos, rosters and so much more. The past three weeks have been spent compiling everything to go into it, now comes two days of getting it all ready to go.

So much for a day off this week.

The second year of the Blitz website (bdtblitz.com) will also continue this season. I was asked to add a few schools this season so the number went from 11 to 19 schools, with only Haysi among the 20 teams to be featured in the actual tab not being represented. (Maybe next year).   

The site is slated to be up and running on Wednesday, with previews, articles, photos and the list goes on and on, along with updates on all the games in the region on Friday nights.

This has been a huge undertaking and we hope our readers will check it out. It will be a tall task to get scores and updates on all those games, but we’ll do the best we can. If you want to help in calling to update scores for your respective schools, please drop me an email.

We are also going to do the “Pigskin Pickers” again this season, which will include high school, college and pro games. Not only will there be the normal chart on Fridays each week, but there will also be a similar game on the Daily Telegraph website (bdtonline.com) with prizes to the winners. Details coming soon.

Last season I attempted to compile the statistics of all the schools and run them each week. Those stats were compiled from game stories or the coaches, which is the preferred method since those are the official stats. I hope to do it again, but coaches are urged to either email or call statistics in by Wednesday of the following week.

Those statistics will also help with the Player of the Week honors, which will be compiled each week this season, with an overall Player of the Year selected during a banquet in December. Coaches are urged to make recommendations for this award.

There is also college football on tap this week. Bluefield College will play its first game since the program was disbanded following the start of World War II in 1941.

The Rams will host the University of Pikeville on Saturday at Mitchell Stadium.

Here are few facts about this edition of the Rams from Rudy Roediger, the new sports information director (and assistant women’s soccer coach) at Bluefield College.  

The current roster has 68 players, along with 10 others expected to redshirt. More players will arrive this week, with classes starting on Wednesday. They currently have 40 players from Virginia, followed by Florida (11), West Virginia (6), Georgia (6), North Carolina (5), New York (3) and one apiece from California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and Tennessee.

Among the local products are R.J. Buford and C.J. Manns (Bluefield), Keith Dunn, Lamont Edwards, Aderrius Jackson (Graham), Joel Calfee and David Keen (PikeView), Kyle Sheets (Tazewell), Dylan Kidd (Bland County) and Jabe Meadows (Montcalm).

Roettiger was able to visit local libraries and use other sources to compile interesting tidbits about the programs, including an all-time roster, year-by-year results, series histories and more. Check out a program at Saturday’s game, it is worth the look.    

Bluefield had a football team from 1922-41, compiling a 79-57-7 mark, including a 9-0 mark in 1933 and an 8-1 record in ’29. The ‘Ramblin Reds’ — among the other nicknames at Bluefield — were 4-4 in ’41 under Tony Lolito, the final head coach before Gravier. Bluefield also won four SJC (Southeastern Junior College) championships.

Mike Gravier is Bluefield’s eighth head coach. “Mullie” Lenoir was the most successful, posting a 63-28-2 record in 11 seasons.

The Rams were 51-23-2 in the 1930s, and 28-34-5 the rest of the years. Bluefield was 22-11 at Mitchell Stadium, which the Ramblin Reds first used in 1935.

Bluefield has played 43 different opponents, posting best marks against Hiwassee (9-0-1), the Emory & Henry freshmen (5-0), Louisburg (4-0) and Shenandoah (4-0).

They struggled with Concord (4-7-1), Tennessee Wesleyan (4-7), King College in Pennsylvania (0-5) and Milligan (1-7).

Bluefield is 11-8-1 in season openers, and 12-5-2 in home openers.

 Bluefield will play in the Mid-South Conference, a strong NAIA league that has five teams in the preseason rankings, including Georgetown (Ky.) at No. 4. The Rams host the Tigers on Sept. 1.

Kickoff on Saturday is slated for 1 p.m.

The cost of admission is $7, with kids admitted for $3. Season tickets can be purchased for $35.

*****

  Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. He encourages assistance with high school football score updates and statistics at sports@bdtonline.com or call (304) 327-2813 after 4 p.m.

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