The annual North-South Football Classic will be staged at noon this Saturday, June 8 at South Charleston High School.
Players and coaches are in camp in Institute this week, and that includes former Fayetteville head coach David Moneypenny, who will be at the helm for the South Cardinals. Midland Trail assistant coach Jeremy Moore will be among Moneypenny's assistant coaches.
“I probably did think I coached my last game (after Fayetteville's last-ever game this past fall before the school closed at the end of the past school term), then this happens,” he told The Register-Herald earlier this year. “I told somebody, ‘I think I’ve got one more in me.’
“My reaction was one of disbelief and excitement. It was a humbling phone call. I was surprised; it came out of the blue. It’s a great opportunity to do something special with kids who love the game.”
Among the South players announced earlier in 2019 were Midland Trail's Cordell Lesher and Trevor Harrell, Meadow Bridge's Caleb Richmond and Fayetteville's Sammy Pullens. That quartet will play for the Cardinals, and Midland Trail graduate Austin Isaacs has since been added to the roster. The game will give Moneypenny and Pullens the chance to represent Fayetteville High School for one final time.
A.J. Harman, of Liberty-Harrison High School, will lead the North Bears.
Moneypenny was an assistant coach in the 2016 North-South game.
"Everything's good; we're having a lot of fun," Moneypenny said Monday.
The goal in early practices, which began Sunday night, was to "get acclimated to the kids and what they can do," Moneypenny said. "We've got a really good group of kids."
As head coach, he says he has more administrative functions to which to tend, rather than just Xs and Os. That includes items such as bed checks and helping oversee outside outings.
"I've got some good coaches," he said. In addition to Moore, Independence head coach John Lilly is helping coach the defense, and Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess and one of his assistants, Brent Terry, are guiding the offense.
Spring Valley's Will Adkins is expected to get the nod at quarterback for the South, which installed Spring Valley's offense this week.
For Moneypenny, a 1982 graduate of Midland Trail High School, the game itself will be a little bittersweet.
"It will probably be the last one for me," said Moneypenny, who will teach physical education at the Fayetteville PreK-8 this coming fall but won't coach. "I'm really trying to soak in every moment I can down here.
"I've been reflecting on what the game of football has meant to me for over 30 years."
With another game to coach, Moneypenny says he appears to be recovered from a health scare he suffered during the football season last fall which caused concern and even forced him to sit out one of Fayetteville's road games. Last spring, the coach said he started experiencing chest pains but he "didn't pay much attention" to them. At a fall practice, he had problems which caused him to seek emergency medical care. After tests, he was told he'd "apparently had a heart attack" at some point. No blockages were found, however.
"Probably since December, I have not had one pain at all," said Moneypenny. "I think I'm a lot healthier."
He attributes much of his health issues to football season and the closure of Fayetteville High School.
The North-South contest is sponsored by the West Virginia Athletic Coaches Association and WCHS-TV/FOX-11. It will be televised live on WCHS-TV with Mark Martin.
To stay updated with the North-South Football Classic, follow on Twitter @NSFootballWV or on Facebook at NorthSouthFootballWV.
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