PARKERSBURG - Any football team that gets off to a 2-0 start has to feel good about itself.
That's particularly so for Parkersburg High School as the Big Reds have beaten two traditional rivals against whom they often have struggled.
Last Friday night, Parkersburg made its first road trip a successful one as the Big Reds downed Cabell Midland, 37-34, on a last-second field goal by Cody Roney.
That came on the heels of a season and home-opening 33-22 victory over the Big Reds' long-time nemesis, Brooke.
Yes, the Big Reds feel good about themselves.
But they feel bad for one of their team captains as senior Chad Collins tore his ACL and is out for the season.
Collins was Parkersburg's do-everything player - running back, strong safety, punter, kickoff returner, punt returner, inspirational leader. Yes, PHS will find substitutes for all those positions, but it won't be able to replace the talent and tenacity Collins brings to the field.
One of the several players who had to pick up the slack after Collins went down -Kyle Foster - was involved in a big, yet accidental play against Cabell Midland. Pressed into duty as the punter, Foster was told by coach Don Reeves to punt the ball out of bounds. Instead, he boomed it down the middle and the Cabell Midland returner fumbled it on the 1-yard line, setting up a PHS score.
Parkersburg had a lot of heroes, some the usual suspects such as quarterback Alex Ash (10 of 18 passing for 154 yards) and tight end Jeremy Bell (3 receptions, 43 yards).
Ash's other receivers also came up big as split end Zayne Minnite had three catches for 36 yards, Adrian Webster hauled in a 35-yard TD pass and Skyler Terrell had a key reception for 14 yards.
Running back Adam Lindamood, who now will be asked to carry a bigger load, rushed for 71 yards in 14 carries.
Then there was the special teams play of Roney and Josh Lewis, who blocked a Cabell Midland punt and returned it for a touchdown.
PHS returns home this Friday night to play one of its three non-Mountain State Athletic Conference foes, Marietta.
The Tigers - under first-year head coach Bob Springer - are 1-1, having defeated Morgan before losing last Friday to Washington County rival Warren.
"They're a young team, but they are very competitive," Reeves said.
"They come out in the I-formation and run right at you."
Reeves is expecting a large, enthusiastic crowd given this is the 107th meeting between the Big Reds and the Tigers (PHS leads the series 73-27-6), plus PHS is inducting all four members of the Phillips family - Larry, David, Rick and Mike - into its football Hall of Fame during pregame ceremonies.
Larry, David and Rick all won the Hunt Award while Mike was the runnerup for the honor, given annually to the state's top lineman.