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By Staff | Aug 22, 2018

With fall sports season now in full swing, all the schools are gearing up for what they hope to be another round of success for the local athletes.

While most everyone is talking about football, we also have cross country, volleyball, golf, band and cheerleading.

Paden City’s long-time football coach Brent Croasmun will be back at the helm as head coach for his 20th year. Croasmun has somewhere around 24 players this season and is assisted by ex-Wildcat Tim Raper and Ron Casto.

Last season the Wildcats ended 2-8 for the second year in a row; however, with several experienced players returning and some talented newcomers, things just might be on the uprise for the home team. The Wildcats have six home games this year which should be to their advantage, and a few changes in the schedule could help as well. I look for the Wildcats to go 6-4 this year with a chance at extending their season. The early schedule showed only nine games, but the Wildcats have picked up a 10th game against Vincentian Acad, of Pennsylvania. They will open at home Friday at 7 p.m. against Parkersburg Catholic. They have an open date on Oct. 19.

Tyler Consolidated is down a little in numbers, but spirits are running high as the Silver Knights will try and build a solid team around quarterback Griffin Phillips and do-it-all junior Mark Rucker.

Coach Ryan Walton’s team has one change on the schedule with Wirt County replacing Ravenswood. Last season the Knights ended 4-6 after going 6-4 with a playoff appearance in 2016. Walton is hoping to use the experience coming back and the schedule change to their advantage and extend their season by a few games.

The Knights return a solid defense with eight starters returning. The Silver Knights open up at home on Friday against Ritchie County. If everyone stays healthy, look for the Knights to finish 7-3 and make the playoffs.

Paden City and Tyler Consolidated are each looking for some success this season in volleyball. The Silver Knights return a nucleus of experienced seniors who have been working hard in hopes of another run to the state tournament. They have several hard hitters and are solid at nearly every spot.

Coach Richard Summers knows it’s not going to be an easy ride but feels his girls are up to the task. Most of them will be working toward their fourth letter and have been to Charleston for the past three years. Their goal is to bring home the championship trophy. The Knights will be led by seniors JoLee Walton – one of the great setters in the state, Cora Grimm – an all-around player who has a wicked serve, Emily Lancaster – another complete player with great leaping ability, Alexa Johnson – one of the best hitters around, Josey Jones – a great all-around player who is another factor around the net, and Peyton Kocher – the Libero, who also serves very well. These girls have been together since middle school and should be the favorites to win most meets.

Paden City will be playing under a new coach as Jennifer Yeater has taken the head job with the retirement of Coach Fred King. Yeater lost a few quality players to graduation but returns the OVAC Class A player of the year, sophomore Hope Weber. Weber is a hard hitter and a game changer, and the Wildcats will be looking for her to control the net while playing on the front line. Also back after a successful freshman year is sophomore Mallory Yeater, who does most of the setting but can also hit and plays a good all-around floor game. They are hoping to get back to the OVAC championship game and advance in the post-season. Madi Still and Cora Anderson will also provide experience for Coach Yeater.

Both schools have quality bands which won several awards last season and are practicing very hard to come out on top in this year’s competitions once again. The Silver Knights are under the direction of Band Director Matt Jennings, while the Wildcats are led by Director Debra Price, who led them to Orlando, Florida this year where they performed at Disney World.

Tyler Consolidated has girls and boys soccer and should be competitive in both this year. They lost a few players to graduation, but soccer is fast becoming the most popular high school sport in the country. I don’t know much about the game, but from what I have watched, it looks like you better be in great condition. It’s a non-stop up and down the field sport that requires a lot of energy. It is also a more physical game than most believe. Concussions are higher than most sports. You really have to use your head to play the game. The Knights’ boys team is coached by Scott Wall, while the girls team is led by Coach Ben Thomas.

Both Paden City and the Silver Knights will have cross country teams and are working hard to keep the pace. If you like distance running, and I do, you will want to take in a meet or two. Running up hills, through valleys and creeks is not for everyone, but it sure is a great conditioning tool for the athletes.

Golf may not be the most physical sport in the world, but it sure could qualify as one of the most difficult and one of the most fun to play. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and practice to hit a ball down the fairway and into a little round hole. It’s just not easy; I never was much good at it, but with the right coaching and spending time on the course (which is one of the keys), you can soon learn the tricks of the game. There is a lot of skill involved, and I enjoy watching it – amazing how far and accurate some can hit the ball. It’s another one of those games that boys and girls can play together.

Cheerleading is a sport like none other; some of the kids amaze me with their agility and ability to tumble the length of a field. It really is cool to see young people training for the sport. They do their builds and toss each other in the air. It is one of the toughest sports out there today. I watch on the college level, and it takes some strong people to do the things they do.

To get the programs up and running every year is a task that not everyone would want. The job of the Athletic Director is one of the most time-consuming of all. Everything that goes into an athletic director’s job requires much help from the coaches, parents and fans. If you see them struggling, offer your help. I’m sure they would appreciate it.

Golf has already kicked off, and soccer will start this week. I guess you know what that means. School has started, and summer is officially over. Good luck to all the kids for the 2018-19 school year. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com