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MHS Linemen

By Staff | Oct 14, 2009

This is the first time that my little sister Kyra and I, Tianna, have written a story for our Pap Pap. He has been so busy covering football and other local sports that he hasn’t been able to come visit us yet during this season.

That’s going to change this weekend, but he says change isn’t always good, especially when it comes to sports. He often says, “If its not broken, don’t fix it.”

That could be the theme of this season with the Blue Eagle front line of Jake Potts, Drew Schmalz, Andy Huggins, Matt Riggs, Dillon Simmons, and Jared Blatt. These six guys have picked up where they had left off from last season.

After only losing one linemen from a season ago, Pap Pap said the Blue Eagles have reeled off 10 straight regular season games and 13 of their last 14 games.

He said that the offensive linemen don’t get the publicity or the accolades that the defense, running backs, receivers, and quarterbacks get, however they just go out and do their job without notice in the papers.

Most of these guys didn’t see much action until last season and had to learn as the season progressed. It took a few games for them to get started, but many so-called MHS fans were looking to the linemen as a scape-goat when they lost their first few games of the 2008 season. But, these guys, with the help of Coaches Moke Riggs and Dave Grandstaff, turned it around and have put together a very nice unit.

Our Pap Pap Crawford said that these guys have bonded like we have and truly help each other. They are “glued to the hip” and support each other in good times as well as bad.

The MHS backs of Dillon Jackson and Stingray Bates have benefitted from the maturity that these guys have given Magnolia. Each running back has run for over 100 yards in a game this season and both scampered for over 100 yards against the Weir Red Riders this past Friday. This is largely thanks to the holes the linemen opened wide enough that Mack trucks could run through.

Not only has the offensive linemen jelled as a unit they are big and bulky. Riggs in 6′ and weighs 235 pounds; Potts is 6’4″ and tips the scale at about 215 pounds; Schmalz is also 6’4″ and weighs nearly 245 pounds; in the middle at the center position Huggins is 6’3″ and weighs in at 230 pounds; Simmons is the only underclassmen in the unit is 6′ and tips the scale at 220 pounds; last but not least is Blatt who at 6’5″ and 220 pounds not only blocks for the backs, he is a receiver at tight end.

With all this muscle up front the Eagles have one of the best if not the best front line in high school football.

However, these guys are not done. They are on a mission and that is to win one game at a time; be on the turf at Wheeling Island against the second best team in Class AA; and bring home its school’s second state football championship.

Our Pap Pap said he has a soft heart for the linemen. He was a tight end for the River Pilots in 1969-’70. He injured his knee after his sophomore season and said he wimped out during his final two seasons, but Kyra and I believe he was just afraid he was going to hurt it worse.

Pap Pap says that the linemen do most of the work during practice and are the first to get scolded if someone misses an assignment. If the line doesn’t do their job, then the backs and quarterback can’t do theirs.

Don’t get our Pap Pap wrong, he says that each and every player is important, including the guys on the bench. They must always be ready to come in and do the job without notice and be ready to do the job the starters were doing, or not doing. There are many that he has told us, but we’ll use this time for the offensive linemen.

Our Pap Pap wishes these guys the best of luck the rest of the season and we hope that he can go back to the Island with them and cover another state championship for the Big Blue.


Our Pap Pap has been telling us that he is quite upset with a few of his teams that he covers. He says that they won’t give him any statistics to put in the paper, not even a score. And they only get in the paper if he goes to their game and keeps his own stats for the whole game or match.

He covers Magnolia, Valley, Hundred, Paden City, and River. Magnolia has football, volleyball, golf, cross country, plus boys and girls soccer; River has volleyball, golf, cross country, and football; Paden City has golf, volleyball, and football; Valley has volleyball and football; and Hundred only has football; Plus he has bowling and any other sporting event that happens to come his way. Please help our Pap Pap out and send your stats in. He wants to get as many sporting events in as possible and has other things he can put in instead like pee-wee football; flag football, and recreational soccer;

Pap Pap is coming to see us this weekend, because all the high school football teams are playing away or are idle. If you can see it in your heart to send our Pap Pap some stats and some pictures he will be tickled. When he is tickled, we benefit!

Our Pap Pap said there is now a drop box outside of the Wetzel Chronicle and people can drop off statistics or pictures. Or if you cannot do that, e-mail him at sports@wetzelchronicle.com or fax him at 304-455-1275.

Thanks for reading the paper and we wish the MHS linemen as well as all the area linemen the best of luck the rest of the season and throughout the playoffs and state championship game.