MERCERVILLE, Ohio — As it turns out, the Rebels will be road warriors throughout August and most of September.
That’s because, as Ohio Valley Publishing has learned, the South Gallia High School football team has elected to switch sites for two home contests — its opening two games in fact.
Actually, it’s an Ohio High School Athletic Association jamboree game against River Valley — and its season opener against Sciotoville East.
In a telephone interview on Thursday with South Gallia Athletic Director Jacob Attar, he confirmed that the Rebels’ OHSAA jamboree game and season-opening game will both be played on the road.
South Gallia will venture to nearby River Valley on Saturday, Aug. 20 for the jamboree, and will travel to Sciotoville East on Friday, Aug. 26 for the season opener.
The River Valley kickoff is set for 7 p.m., while the East affair is also now set for 7 p.m.
Attar said the switches are being made on the advice of Dresden Landscaping of Dresden, which seeded the Rebels’ football field this past summer — after a new drainage system was installed underneath the field.
Simply put, the natural grass surface needs an additional two weeks — without any play on it — to establish itself.
“The field is done, but these two weeks give us two necessary weeks for the field to mature and the grass to settle correctly,” said Attar. “The field needs the extra time, so we have decided to switch the first two home weeks.”
Attar added that the new drainage system improves the watershed, and that the field’s zero-inch crown was increased to a 20-inch crown.
As of Thursday, he said there are no plans to move any other games away from SGHS.
Hence, four of the Rebels’ first five tilts are on the road — with the only home bout being against Trimble on Sept. 9.
As it stands now, South Gallia goes to Sciotoville East before facing Federal Hocking on Sept. 2, as the Rebels return to the road at Manchester on Sept. 16 and at Eastern on Sept. 23.
South Gallia will then host Belpre on Sept. 30 and Waterford on Oct. 7, before two more road shows at Wahama (Oct. 14) and at Southern (Oct. 21).
The Rebels’ fourth and final home game this season will be against Miller on Oct. 28.
Attar emphasized that for the 2017 season, South Gallia will host River Valley for the OHSAA jamboree and host Sciotoville in the opener.
He also wanted to express thanks towards the community for its understanding of the situation.
The first official day for mandatory football practice in both Ohio and West Virginia is Monday (Aug. 1).
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106