The Times West Virginian


June 23, 2014

Marion County well-represented in final football game of season

FAIRMONT — As the final whistle sounded Saturday night at Laidley Field in Charleston, the North-South Football Classic came to a close. And so, too, did the high school playing careers of six Marion County football players.

Jared Harr, Matt Hopwood, Andrew Summers, Vincent Delligatti, Ryan Elliott and Chase Banker all strapped up for one last time together as teammates rather than enemies, coached by East Fairmont’s Bill Haddox.

The feeling of putting the pads on for a final hoorah was bittersweet for all involved, as only Fairmont Senior’s Andrew Summers has signed to play football in college next season.

“It felt great,” Delligatti said of the feeling. “It was one last time to play. It was different playing with all of these kids that we’ve played against for a long time. It felt good to join up.”

With other sports such as basketball and baseball, players are often paired up with players from rival teams on a normal basis with AAU basketball and Legion baseball. But football doesn’t provided the same type of option. And some would argue that the egos in football rise a little higher than in other sports, presenting a challenge for a coach and the players involved.

“They’re all gentleman. They’re all good so they respect each other,” Haddox said. “It’s fun to be around those type of kids. No one is trying to be the best. They’re just there to play.”

When coaching players from rival schools, you may want to tread lightly, but you have to coach the player, not the school, Haddox said.

“You enjoy coaching those kids. Those boys are good kids. It doesn’t matter if you coach against them. That’s OK. It’s part of the competition,” the coach said. “When you coach against them you do the best you can, but when you get the opportunity to coach them you really enjoy it.”

And for those players who grow up being taught to hate the other teams in the county, playing alongside their enemies can be rough.

“You forgot the three from Bridgeport,” Delligatti said, showing that rivalries extend past county lines.

But for an event such as the North-South Football Classic, egos can fall by the wayside.

“I talked to (A.C.) Caldera and (Anthony) Bonamico (from Bridgeport) after the game and told them that it was nice to join up and not hate each other,” Delligatti reiterated.

The game didn’t go the way that the North team had hoped, falling 46-26, but that didn’t matter to most of the players involved.

What mattered, instead, was that the experience was enjoyable.

“I was different but fun,” North Marion’s Chase Banker said. “I felt everybody that was there deserved to be there. And the county had good players. We represented well.”

Indeed they were represented well, with six players on the roster along with all but one coach from coaching staff being from Marion County.

“I felt like everybody in the county had a good game,” Delligatti said.  “Chase had a few touchdown catches. Andrew and Ryan and myself had some tackles. Hopwood had some good carries and Harr played well on the line.”

At night’s end, their entire football career had culminated with one final game, a game played with bitter rivals and close friends. And they were all grateful for the opportunity to represent their school, their county and their state.

Email Matt Welch at or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

Text Only
  • Return to Mountain State exciting for new sports writer

    When I packed my belongings out of my Morgantown apartment in May, fresh with a journalism degree from West Virginia University, I thought I had ended a chapter of my life and closed the book on my experience inside the great Mountain State forever.
    It wasn’t until I received a phone call back in my hometown of Canton, Ohio, from the Times West Virginian that the idea of a return to the area became a possibility. The opportunity to begin my professional career in an area that I’ve become comfortable with for the past several years was too good to pass by.

    July 29, 2014

  • Black Diamond.jpg Black Diamond Express looking to add elite players

     Travel sports are said to be the cream of the crop for young athletes.
    Generally, youth are selected to play on travel league teams based upon a heightened skill level or an ability that exceeds the everyday athlete.
    That’s what the Black Diamond Express softball team in Morgantown is looking for, along with a few new elite players.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steelers’ Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.

    July 28, 2014

  • All tickets claimed for LeBron’s homecoming show

    LeBron James’ Ohio hometown says fans quickly claimed the thousands of tickets available for the homecoming event expected to be his first public appearance in the state since announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    July 28, 2014

  • FSU to hold Falcon Fantasy Camp

    Ever want to be a college football coach? Now you’ll have your chance thanks to Fairmont State University’s Falcon Fantasy Camp.

    July 28, 2014

  • Lawyer: Wife plotted to take over Sterling trust

    A lawyer argued Monday that the estranged wife of Donald Sterling plotted to strip his client from the family trust that owned the Los Angeles Clippers after the head of the NBA said she couldn’t negotiate a sale of the franchise unless she owned all the shares.

    July 28, 2014

  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • Steelers’ Wheaton eyeing chance after tough rookie year

    Markus Wheaton realizes the pressure is there, but he doesn’t mind.

    July 28, 2014

  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG Post 17 falls short in Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.
    Post 17 Fairmont is hoping that they’ve now gotten all of its bad games out of the way, falling to Post 2 Morgantown, 10-0, via a 7th inning mercy rule, crowning Morgantown Area II American Legion champions.
    After playing 18 innings the night before, Fairmont couldn’t seem to get anything going at East Fairmont High School Sunday afternoon.
    As rain clouds loomed over the field, so, too, did one settle in over Post 17’s offense, Fairmont collecting just four hits the entire game.
    “Definitely not one of our better games as a team,” Fairmont’s Austin Norman said of his team’s performance. “We’ll come up tomorrow, hit and get on the same page.”

    July 28, 2014 7 Photos

  • Harrison’s 4 hits leads Pirates past Rockies, 7-5

    Josh Harrison had four hits, including a tiebreaking homer, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos