PARKERSBURG - If the statement "winning breeds winning" is accurate, first-year Parkersburg South coach Mike Eddy could be just what the doctor ordered for the Patriots program.
Not that South wasn't successful under Jon Bolen, but Eddy comes from a background that absolutely reeks of winning.
After finishing a very successful high school career under coach John Stender at Tyler County High School, Eddy was an assistant at Parkersburg, helping the Big Reds win a pair of state championships. The past four seasons have been spent as the head coach at Gallia Academy in Ohio, where after a tough first year, he directed his team to a pair of league runner-up finishes and a title last year.
Gallia also advanced to the second round of the Ohio state playoffs a season ago.
The biggest question may be can Eddy take over the Patriots and get things done in his first year? After all, South graduated a boatload of talent with all the skill position players needing replaced, all while trying to install a new system.
"It's early so these kids are going to have to try and figure out who we are while we are figuring out who they are," Eddy said. "This whole thing will be a growing process not only for the coaching staff, but also for the kids. Most of the kids we have inherited have no varsity playing time because of the large graduating class from last season."
A total of 19 seniors picked up diplomas last spring, the likes of Tyler Bolen, Logan Cox, Jake Fieler, Braxton Johnson, Wes Mitchum and Jordan Quiocho, just to name a few. Tyler Bolen, Johnson and Quiocho made up the majority of the offensive output and will be sorely missed.
Eddy will look to sophomore Garrett Gilkeson (6-foot, 160 pounds) to replace Bolen at quarterback, while Brendon Schwendeman, who Eddy calls a "very talented and special player," will handle the majority of the carries at running back. Versatile senior Cody Smith (6-0, 205) will see time at running back, receiver and will also be a backup quarterback.
The receiving corps will consist of juniors Trevor Boot (6-2, 170) and Alex Townsend (6-0, 175) along with sophomore Cody Boggs (6-4, 165), another kid Eddy is excited about.
The offensive line is the most experienced group on the team and will be counted on to help lead the way. The tackles will be senior Logan Dilliner (6-2, 250) and junior Thomas Hall (6-2, 230) while seniors Matt Long (6-1, 210) and Gage Stephens (6-1, 225) will be the guards. Anchoring the line will be the youngster of the group, Luke Williams (6-0, 230), just a sophomore. Senior Tyler Sheppard (6-1, 195) moves over from tight end and will also see playing time at guard.
While there is depth, there isn't a lot of experience in it. Additional running backs include juniors Seth Delancey (6-1, 140), Trevor Weddle (5-9, 185) and Brandon Moss (5-8, 160) along with sophomores Richie Carpenter (6-0, 185), Gage Foutty (5-7, 180), Nick Sanders (5-10, 165) and Logan Snyder (5-8, 150).
"We have a senior-dominated offensive line that is going to have to step up for us," Eddy said. "There are also a lot of sophomores and juniors at the skill positions, so we need to be competitive this year because we should be good there the next couple of years.
"You could see as many as four skill positions at a time on the field in our base wing-T set. I like to run the rules system of the wing-T, not the traditional one, so that is where we are going to start. Everything starts with the run for us, but I still believe people are going to have to respect our ability to throw the football.
"Our young quarterback can throw the ball into windows and we have some talented wide receivers that should be able to help open up the run for us.
"There is absolutely no depth at tight end, and that is a position right now that we just don't have a lot of confidence in. I am just not sure we have any tight ends that are varsity ready, so that is a position we will use very sparingly in this offense."
Eddy likes to run a 4-4 concept on defense and adjust the base off opponent's formations.
Senior defensive tackles Ryan Varner (5-7, 245) and Blaize Sorensen (6-0, 245) will clog the middle with Dilliner and Hall on the ends. Delancey and Long will be the inside linebackers, while Schwendeman and Stephens will be on the outside. Boggs and Boot will man corners with Smith at free safety.
Senior Franklin Miller (6-3, 155) and junior Micah Boles (5-7, 140) will be the kicker with senior Dominic Maone punting.
"There are still a lot of question marks on defense, and I am really pretty picky about who I put on the field," Eddy added. "I believe you have to play great defense early in the season to be successful. I also don't know that we have a ton of depth on that side of the ball, but if we can stay healthy we should be good.
"We do have a lot of two-way players, and as much as I hate going that route, unfortunately that is how it is going to work for now.
"Overall, the potential and the ability is there. It all comes down to how quickly everyone grasps our expectations. Coach Bolen had a good system and it is built in to some of these kids, and our system is different. All I ask is that the kids adjust and learn our way.
"I have found over the years that the quicker they get it, the quicker we will be successful. If you can't find it early, it is tough to generate it late. My feeling is that if we can be over .500 at the halfway point, we might just sneak into the playoffs. I never talk state championships, but I am always looking at, and will to talk about getting to the playoffs.
"I am not going to lie and say that learning a new system and just getting going that we should be able to go out and compete with Morgantown, Martinsburg and Cabell Midland, but I want to get there and I know with hard work we can. I have been very blessed through the years to be around good coaches and players and I want that to continue here."
Assisting Eddy will be Matt Kimes, John Prater, Cody Nutter, Rich Williams, Dan Fiedorcvyk, Dave Schaad, Dave Foggin and Chris Wilson.
Dylan Coe, Logan Dilliner, Matt Long, Dominic Maone, Dylan McGee, Franklin Miller, Brandon Perdue, Tyler Sheppard, Cody Smith, Blaize Sorensen, Gage Stephens, Joe Stilgenbauer, Ryan Varner.
Micah Boles, Jacob Canary, Seth Delancey, Logan Ervin, Thomas Hall, Nick Martin, Dane Mills, Brandon Moss, Brendon Schwendeman, Nate Thompson, Alex Townsend, Trevor Weddle, Chase Wimer.
Cody Boggs, Josh Boothe, Richie Carpenter, Devan Duwel, Tim Ferguson, Ryan Flinn, Gage Foutty, Garrett Gilkeson, Stoney Nolan, Levi Putnam, Nick Sanders, Logan Snyder, Garrett Walker, Luke Williams, Josh Wolfe.