INSTITUTE, W.Va. — If David Moneypenny is overcome with emotion in the North-South Football Classic, don’t expect anyone to blame him.
Moneypenny, head coach of the South Cardinals and formerly the head coach of Fayetteville High School, gets a chance to represent FHS one final time Saturday at South Charleston High School.
Fayetteville was closed at the conclusion of this school year and its students will attend Oak Hill beginning this fall.
“It’s pretty special,” Moneypenny said. “We lost our high school this year, so this is very special. I’ll leave it at that.”
Moneypenny paused briefly to gather himself several times Tuesday at West Virginia State while discussing what coaching the South meant to him.
Above all else, Moneypenny is out to enjoy the experience as he tries to help the South snap a three-game losing streak in the series.
“They all come from different backgrounds, but one good thing is they’re good football players,” Moneypenny said. “I’ve told myself over and over again I’m not going to overcoach these guys. They’ve proven themselves on the field. We don’t need to change a whole lot of what they’re doing.
“The key is don’t overcoach them, utilize what they have and keep these guys united, and good things will happen for us,” Moneypenny said.
Moneypenny will also coach FHS linebacker Sammy Pullens, who will play for the South in what will mark the last time an athlete represents Fayetteville.
Heavy RCB influence on North
Of the 32 players on the North roster, three are from Robert C. Byrd.
Tailback Ghovan Davidson and linemen Robert Arnold and Jaden Marino will play for the Bears, but the RCB ties don’t stop there for the North.
Eagles’ assistant coach Teague Wagner, a former RCB standout who played in the 2013 North-South Football Classic, is a North assistant coach.
Additionally, North head coach A.J. Harman of Liberty Harrison was previously an assistant coach at Robert C. Byrd.
“Coach Harman was my middle school coach my eighth grade year at Mountaineer,” Davidson said. “Teague’s been my coach for four years and I know the (whole North staff) really being from Clarksburg.
In addition to Wagner, the North assistants are Mark Sampson of Fairmont Senior and Mickey Foley of Grafton, two of Robert C. Byrd’s nearby rivals in the Big 10 Conference.
Davidson is RCB’s all-time leading rusher and will continue his college football career at Glenville State.
Enjoy it now, look back later
Another player heading to Glenville State this fall is Spring Valley quarterback Will Adkins, who will suit up for the South on Saturday.
Adkins, at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds already has a bigger stature than most college QBs.
He’ll see time behind center along with Sissonville’s Will Hackney and Midland Trail’s Austin Isaacs.
“We got chosen because we’re the best in the state, so it’s definitely an honor to be up here with a bunch of guys going to the next level,” Adkins said. “You make new friendships and meet new people.
“I’m rooming with the kicker (Hurricane’s Tim McCutchen) who’s going to Charleston, so I’ll be playing him in a couple years. Austin Isaacs is coming with me to Glenville. Will Hackney is going to West Virginia State. It’s going to be fun. It’s something we can look back on in the future and talk and laugh about.”
Adkins believes the week of practice, in addition to Saturday’s game, benefits all 67 players from both teams.
“You’re playing against really good competition, which is just going to make everyone else better because of it,” Adkins said. “It’s great being able to test your skills and abilities to see where you stand in the pack. It’s really good for everyone.”