A column by Phil Perry

Winter sports, hatchets and giving thanks

With fall sports wrapping up in the county, I wanted to send a shout out to the local middle school coaches. I realize we covered this to some extent over the summer but I felt it was important to touch on it once again as we head into a new season.

We will get out to cover middle school sports as often as we can but varsity sports is and always will be the priority for the paper so we do need your help to get all of your kids the coverage they deserve.

Quite honestly, we aren't asking more of you than the varsity coaches. We just need you to email your scores and game statistics to sports@jacksonnewspapers.com or you may fax them to us at 304-372-5544. Please do not fax photos to us. Yes, folks have attempted to do this before. It does not work.

Be sure to touch base with Greg Matics for Ravenswood sports team photos and myself for Ripley team photos that will appear in our Winter Sports Tab.

If you don't post your schedules and rosters to the WVSSAC Website, it is very helpful for you to email your schedule and a NUMBERED roster us as it helps us identify all of the kids in the action photos we take and we aren't calling you to identify No. 17 as we approach our deadline.

It was quite an honor to cover my first "Hatchet Game" for Jackson Newspapers. Ripley took the trophy home in the first ever overtime game in the rivalry series, 17-16.

I look forward to covering the "Jackson County Shootout" rivalry games (boys and girls hoops) for the second season. I am anxious to cover this season's senior Ripley hoopsters like Jacob Haynes, Casy Smith, Chuck Sleboda. Jillian Mullens, Melissa Hughart and Ali Cunningham. While I will only see Ravenswood play when they face Ripley, I am excited to cover players like Jake Martin and Hannah Murray.

I am so pumped for wrestling season that I could run through a wall!

This week marks my first year on the job and after spending 12 years as an entertainment writer (mostly music), it has been a pleasure to finally have the courage to pursue my dream of sports writing. I want to thank all of the coaches, parents and local sports fans for welcoming my wife Nikki, our two-year old daughter Maria and myself into the Jackson County community.

The last year here has been a treat for me getting to know the student athletes and being able to cover their feats in athletic competition is quite frankly, an honor for me.

It is important for me to love my work and I have always strived to put myself in a position where I go to my office with passion and enthusiasm.

A big thank you to all of the coaches who have taken the "extra time" to do video interviews and make absolutely sure that I have all I need to do my job efficiently and effectively.

Thanks to the parents who send stats and photos from away games. In the year that I have been on the Ripley sports beat, I can honestly say that not one day has passed that I am not grateful for what I do for a living and it is all because of you. Thank You!