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The New Sheriff and the 1962 Marlinton High School Copperheads

The 1962 Marlinton High School Copperheads who won the Northern Greenbrier Valley Championship and were undefeated in nine games during the regular season. Pictured, first row: Assistant Coach Arch Wooddell and Coach Elmer Friel. Second row, l to r: Fairley Workman, Delmas Barb, Bob Galford, Ray Sharp, John Buzzard, Steve Malcomb, Ben Gay, Joe Shafer, Paul Workman, Richard Doyle. Third row, l to r: Arthur Scott, Don Circosta, Philip Anderson, Riger Irvine, Don Ramsey, Richard Morgan, Raymond Fitzgerad, Charles Jones, Paul Layman, Harry Kelley. Fourth row, l to r: Bernard King, Wayne Harper, Denny Hansford, Gary Layman, Warren McCloud, Bill Perry, Ronnie Roy, David Sheets, Gary Hefner, Jerry Buzzard. Fifth row, l to r: Carmen Sharp, Wilbur Boggs, Clyde Campbell and David McLaughlin. Photo source: 1962 Marlintonian

Bobby Galford ~
A Copperhead for life
Class of 1962

What a year!
Why, you ask?
Well, that’s the year a “New Sheriff” arrived on the scene for the Copperheads football team.
Who am I talking about?

Well, none other than Coach Elmer Friel – he actually started in 1961. But on August 15, 1962, it was a new day. That’s the day we started practicing twice a day, and I’m here to tell you that Coach Friel and his very able Assistant Coach, Arch Wooddell, took a bunch of rag tag football players and started the process of molding them into a well-oiled machine. The practices were brutal with one thing in mind – to get us into the fastest and best shape of any team we played. He wanted us to be as fast in the 4th quarter as we were on opening kick-off – and he succeeded!

Now, I know there were some real good football and basketball teams prior to 1962 – such as the 1960 basketball team that won the sectional playoff and advanced to the regional and played in the championship game losing to Rainelle (I think). And there were a lot of good players in the ‘50s, but as far as our ’62 team, we took no prisoners that year as our record shows we were undefeated.

Then came the playoff game in the Greenbrier Valley playoffs against Rainelle, who was also undefeated. That game attracted a crowd of more than 3,000 (three thousand!) people and what a game it was.

We did lose the game by a score of 19-12 but the town and Marlinton High School really won big because it was just the beginning as the years following that game were winning seasons for Coach Friel with even a State playoff for the Copperheads. From 1962 until 1970, when the county consolidated to Pocahontas County High School, the Marlinton High School Copperheads were well represented throughout the whole State of West Virginia.

I know I speak for all my classmates and teammates that “Almost Heaven, West Virginia” are four of the most beautiful words ever written.
Watch for our float in this year’s Pioneer Days Parade on July 8.

The Class of ’62 looks forward to seeing all of our classmates from before and after 1962.

Let’s make this 2017 Pioneer Days one for the ages.

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