On the Mark

Mark Martin
Mark Martin

The month of July is just about to disappear.

Normally at this time of year everyone is gearing up for the excitement of another school year and fall sports.

Uncertainty continues to linger in the air.

But we remain in hopes students will be able to return to classrooms without interruption from COVID-19.

And that athletes will get to play the sports they love in safe fashion.

Golf, cross country, soccer, volleyball, football and cheer are all West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission sanctioned sports.

Schedules have already been somewhat altered in terms of start dates for practices and competitions. Hopefully, those will be the ones all involved can go with.

SCHEDULING: It was good to see both Ravenswood and Ripley quickly fill holes in their football schedules after the initial week of the season was wiped out.

Ravenswood lost Southern Local in Week 1, but managed to pick up Clay County on October 23. Both Ravenswood and Clay County had the same open date.

Ravenswood and Clay County have a rock-solid past with some great battles.

Ripley replaced Brooke, who had been the Week 1 opponent, with Lewis County.

The Vikings and Minutemen will get together on September 18.

This will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

SCHEDULING II: A couple of Ravenswood opponents – Roane County and St. Marys – were set to meet in Week 1 of the season.

While that game was shelved, the two are still going to play, though, it won’t count in the grand scheme of things.

Roane and St. Marys are going to square off in a scrimmage. They will do so August 28, which was the scheduled date of the regular season game.

Another interesting schedule addition comes from South Charleston where Ripley native Bryce Casto, the school’s athletic director, got the Black Eagles a tenth game against state powerhouse Martinsburg.

The two will meet on SC’s new field September 18.

It was 10 years ago the two football programs were to square off for the Class AAA state championship in Wheeling.

Brooke, who had lost to SC in the semifinals, protested the game due to some Black Eagle players competing who had been suspended. Their suspensions stemmed from a fight in a playoff encounter with Hurricane.

When the dust settled, the AAA game was delayed one week with Brooke meeting the Bulldogs, who would win their first of eight titles in a 10-year stretch.

TURF’S UP: By the time the season rolls around, all but one Kanawha County school will have turf.

Riverside and Sissonville had new fields installed prior to last season.

This year, St. Albans, Nitro, George Washington and South Charleston are getting turf. (A new Herbert Hoover High School is set to be constructed in the coming years, thus, they will get a brand new stadium during that process). Capital, of course, plays its games at UC Stadium/Laidley Field, which has had turf since 1979.

The gentleman overseeing the new turfs in Kanawha County is none other than Chuck Smith, a former Ripley Viking. Smith, a 1978 Ripley High graduate, is in charge of facilities for the Kanawha County schools.

Smith was a part of the late Frank Marino’s first Viking football team of 1977.

Marino coached at Ripley for 26 seasons and is the school’s all-time winningest football leader.

CARTER’S PEN: As July winds down, Major League Baseball is ready to go.

And that means Ravenswood native Larry Carter is set to make his debut at the big league level as bullpen coach for the Kansas City Royals.

Carter has been with the organization for a ton of years, most coming at the minor league level.

He was elevated as bullpen coach for the 2020 season, only to see it delayed due to the pandemic.

It will be fun to keep up with the Royals and Carter, who pitched on MLB diamonds back in the day.

Carter has carved out an amazing career since his playing days ended.

No doubt his high school head coach – Doug Parrish – will be watching closely.