COLUMNS

On the Mark: Jackson County football, Hall of Fame connections and Pat Pannell: Column

Mark Martin
Special to Jackson Newspapers
Mark Martin

SEASON MOVING ALONG: At the time of this writing, high school football in West Virginia will be down to its final three weekends of play.

Which is hard to believe.

The high school season has an 11-week window for teams to play their 10-game slate.

Ravenswood and Ripley will both be wrapping up a week early on Friday, Oct. 29.

While it still doesn’t seem possible the two won’t be meeting in their annual season-ending showdown, known as the “Battle of the Hatchet,” each will be closing out their respective campaigns against rivals.

Ravenswood will square off against Little Kanawha Conference foe Roane County inside Spano-Taylor Stadium at Flinn Field.

Ripley, meanwhile, will be in Mason County to take on the Point Pleasant Big Blacks.

The Vikings and Big Blacks will be playing for the Old Oaken Bucket.

If things continue, both Roane County and Point Pleasant will be going into the games as playoff contenders in Class AA.

Ravenswood and Ripley won’t be postseason teams in 2021, but there is still plenty to play for this year.

And with those opponents looming for the season finales, both the Red Devils and Vikings will be presented with opportunities to pull upsets.

HALL OF FAMER, PART I: COVID-19 put a damper on many things over the last year, including Hall of Fame ceremonies.

Schools and organizations are still trying to get back up to speed and honor their past greats.

Glenville State College saluted its Class of 2020 recently and has since announced the Class of 2021.

The class includes Janet Bailey, who is the step-mother of Ripley head girls track and field coach Krystle Cunningham.

Bailey is a Glenville State College graduate. She was both a member of the women’s basketball team and cheerleading squad while at GSC.

Bailey’s coaching career includes a girls track and field championship in 1983.

She moved back to her alma mater and served as head athletic trainer and head women’s track coach.

She would cap off her great career at Glenville as the school’s athletic director.

Bailey resides in Charleston with her husband Tom.

HALL OF FAME, PART II: A reminder to those interested that the Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set for Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Grand Pointe Conference and Reception Center in Vienna.

Tickets are still available.

The MOV Sports Hall of Fame recognizes former playing and coaching greats along with officials, media members and contributors from the West Virginia counties of Jackson, Wood, Wirt, Pleasants and Ritchie. It also features past greats from the Ohio counties of Noble and Washington. 

Current Ravenswood mayor Josh Miller will be one of the inductees. Miller will be joined by two former Ripley Viking stars in James Abshire and Chase Fischer. 

The event begins at 6 p.m.  

ROOKIE COLLEGIATE HEAD COACH: All of the fall sports at both the high school and college level are still going strong with the march to championships soon beginning.

Don't look now but basketball season is on the horizon.

This coming campaign will mark the first for former Ravenswood Red Devil basketball All-Stater Brett Rector at Salem University.

Rector is now running the Tiger program, rich in basketball history, after serving as an assistant with the University of Charleston.

The one-time Devil All-State quarterback has collegiate experience on the court at West Virginia Tech and the University of Pikeville. 

He spent one season as Parkersburg South High School's head coach, guiding the Patriots to the Class AAA State Tournament (though the team didn't play due to COVID). 

It's a great step in the coaching career for one of Ravenswood's all-time best and classiest.

REMEMBERING PAT PANNELL: I still remember blocking Pat Pannell in the Ravenswood-Ripley Hatchet game of 1978, played at Flinn Field. I was lined up at tight end and he was a defensive end.

I had gotten to know Pat through the youth leagues of sports and always enjoyed my conversations with him.

Life moves on and visits with individuals don't happen the way we would like. I'm sorry those bump-ins couldn't have happened more often.

Pat passed away after a tough battle with cancer. He was 61.

Besides being a rock-solid defensive end, he also had excelled at an offensive guard position in football from eighth grade through his senior season of '78. I can still see him with those rubber arm pads. He was a tough, hard-nosed competitor. 

In addition to football, he was also an excellent baseball player from his days of youth until his Red Devil career came to a close. 

One of his former teammates, Jim Mahan, remembered him as being "a great guy."

RIP, Pat.