NEWTOWN — Mingo Central’s Buck Harless Stadium will host the first-ever Cardinal Conference Football Gridorama on Saturday, Aug. 17.
All eight league teams are scheduled to scrimmage that day.
“Yes we are hosting the first Cardinal Conference Grid-o-rama,” Mingo Central coach Yogi Kinder said. “The conference coaches wanted to come to our place to have the first one. I think this will be a yearly thing. It probably will move around to others schools from year to year. We are hoping to do a good job putting it on and try to promote it as much as possible. Maybe we can host it again in the future.”
Kinder said the Cardinal Conference is filled with good football teams. The Miners joined the league last season.
“I think the Cardinal Conference is the best Class AA conference in the whole state of West Virginia,” Kinder said. “There are some good football teams in the league and I’m sure glad Mingo Central is one of them.”
Chapmanville Regional High School coach George Barker said the eight teams were placed in a hat and then drawn out to decide who plays each other in the scrimmage.
Chapmanville drew Poca and will scrimmage against the Dots in one of the four preseason games.
Wayne, the two-time defending Class AA state champion, is set to battle it out against the Scott Skyhawks. Wayne beat Keyser 35-0 in last year’s state championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium. Keyser is who Mingo Central played in its first-ever football playoff game last year.
The year, before in 2011, the Pioneers won the title 34-7 over then Cardinal Conference member Point Pleasant in the finals.
The other four league teams — host Mingo Central, Sissonville, Tolsia and Herbert Hoover will also scrimmage against each other.
“We’re going to play three quarters of football in each game, two at the varsity level and one at the JV level,” Barker said. “It’s going to take place in the second Saturday after practice starts.”
Mountain State teams start practice on Monday, August 5. The games are tentatively scheduled to start around 3 p.m. in the afternoon in an effort to get in all four scrimmages in.
The new gridorama is molded from the Mountain State Athletic Conference which has a similar preseason scrimmage session.
Mingo Central, which had affiliate league status last season and made it to the playoffs, will play more Cardinal Conference games this fall. This is only the second season for the Miners as members of the league.
Buck Harless Stadium is considered one of the top high school football facilities in the state. The stadium has a Field Turf artificial surface, large locker rooms, and unlimited parking space. The seating capacity of the stadium is 5,000.
Barker said Harless Stadium is the perfect choice for the event.
“This way everyone has to go to Mingo Central,” Barker said. “They are the new kid on the block, so to speak, and they get to welcome everybody and everybody gets to visit their facility ahead of time. I think it’s a pretty good deal for us. Everyone scrambles around trying to find scrimmages. This way it’s already built in. It’s the first scrimmage instead of the second. A lot of these grid-o-ramas are the second week, but we thought it would be better to be the first.”
Mingo Central finished 5-5 in the regular season and the made the Class AA playoffs for the first time in school history. They lost at Keyser, but still got much-needed experience in the post season.