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Steve Novotney Says, "Locals Make It Super"

The year was 1992, and Magnolia High had climbed the Class AA bracket once again to earn a chance at winning the school's first state football championship since 1964, when the Blue Eagles defeated Mount Hope, 15-7.

The opponent was Buffalo Wayne, and the venue was Laidley Field in Charleston, and when head coach Dave Cisar and his football team arrived to begin pre-game preparation, the gates were locked. So they waited on that frigid December evening until finally an unapologetic official arrived to allow both teams entry.

Faithful fans from Wetzel and Wayne counties were in attendance, but the enormous stadium appeared pretty empty because when it was constructed in the late 1970s, the facility could seat as many as 18,500 people. There were no receptions or dinners for the players and staff members, and zero local volunteers were assigned to assist the visiting schools while navigating their way around the state's capital city.

Why not?

Because those features were not added to the annual Super Six Football Championships until a group of fine folks here in Wheeling scored an improbable coup and captured the event in 1994 for Wheeling Island Stadium. Since then 66 championship teams have hoisted the hardware, including Wheeling Central Catholic (eight times), John Marshal (1996), Weir High (1998), Magnolia (2010 and 2015), and Wheeling Park High (2015).

This year, though, not one of the six teams planning to compete during this weekend's Super Six hails from the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference. Instead, Martinsburg High (13-0) and Spring Valley (12-1) will vie for the Class AAA title; Fairmont Senior (10-2) and Mingo Central (13-0) are the Class AA finalists; and East Hardy (13-0) and St. Mary's (13-0) will decide the Single-A championship.

But that doesn't mean locals are not involved anyway. The volunteer team assistants will be available once again to all of the incoming schools to ensure getting to and from several different free events will be easily accomplished; local restaurants will welcome the teams and feed them for free; and a plethora of Super Six sponsors have stepped up to allow the players, coaches, and fans to have the best possible experience during their visit to the city of Wheeling. That is exactly why, each and every time the local committee members have returned to the state's Secondary Schools Activities Commission in Parkersburg to bid for the event to remain here in the Northern Panhandle, they have proven successful.

They've made it special, continue to do so, and will again this weekend. And several businesses will benefit from the economic impact the annual games provide. It is a win-win for Wheeling and a debt of gratitude is owed to local committee members.

Thank you.