Prep roundup: Riffe named new Gallia Academy football coach
Gallia Academy has a new football coach. Josh Riffe, an assistant at Meigs High under former Marshall University and NFL long-snapper standout Mike Bartrum, got the job Feb. 19 courtesy of the Gallipolis City Schools Board of Education. He applied for this job on two earlier occasions and got passed over. He's in his fifth year as a history teacher at Gallia Academy.
"I'm really excited because being here in the community for the last five years, it's something that I've always wanted," Riffe told Bryan Walters of the (Point Pleasant) Daily Register newspaper. "I've wanted to be a head coach as long as I can remember, and this is actually the only place that I've ever applied for a head coaching job. This has been a goal of mine and I'm real excited to get the opportunity to be here.
"I've always had a goal of trying to get somewhere and stay there. I live here and I've taught here for five years, and I've coached here for three years. Now I have this opportunity to build a program and hopefully maintain it. That's the part that most excites me right now."
Riffe is a 2001 graduate of Wyoming East High (W.Va.) and graduated from Marshall in 2006. In 1999, Wyoming East won the Class AA football championship.
Riffe began his coaching career in 2006 as an assistant at Chesapeake, then moved to West Virginia AA power Wayne for two years. In 2009, he applied for the head coaching position at Gallia Academy, but Mike Eddy got the job. He stayed with the Blue Devils for three seasons before going to Meigs. When Eddy left, Riffe tried for that job again and came up short as Wade Bartholomew landed the position. Bartholomew went 5-5 in 2013 and has since moved on to Bloom Carroll. On Try No. 3, Riffe, 31, made it.
The transition should go smooth. Riffe is not so far removed from the program and that means some of the upperclassmen will remember him. The majority of his staff is either from or currently working at Gallia Academy.
Riffe believes that his previous coaching experiences will benefit the Blue Devils in the long term, particularly with all of the different styles that he's picked up along the way. Riffe and wife Michelle reside in Gallipolis. They have a daughter Abigail and son Landry.
CABELL MIDLAND WRESTLING: Cabell Midland will have its first home tournament next season. The "Grapple at the Castle Capture the Flag Duals" will be contested Dec. 20. Format will have four pools with four teams each with winning teams going into brackets for first through fourth. All other teams will be matched so that everyone gets five duals. Winner gets a 3-foot by 5-foot banner to display. Contact Knights coach Jarrod Sargent at 304-412-9471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OHIO ALL-STAR BASKETBALL: Ohio District 13 seniors took part in all-star basketball games in Jackson. For the boys, South Point's Brandon Barnes scored 17 as Division I-II beat Division III-IV, 103-63. Oak Hill's Garrin Stiltner had 17 points for the III-IV team and was named MVP. Symmes Valley's Jonathan Kouns netted 12 points and Tyler Rowe 10.
Division I-II won the girls game, 67-51. Ashley Frasure of Logan and Megan Dixon of Vinton County led the winners with 14 points each. Frasure was MVP.
Ibi Watson of Athens won the slam dunk title and Evan French of Warren won the 3-point shooting. For the girls, Victoria Buzzard of Warren was tops from behind the arc.
KENTUCKY HONORS: The Kentucky Basketball Coaches Association has chosen the top coach and player for each region for 2014. In Region 16, Fleming County's Troy Steward is player of the year and East Carter's Brandon Baker is coach of the year. In Region 15, Johnson Central's Shane Hall, who is headed to Marshall, is player of the year and Sheldon Clark's Frank Smith is coach of the year. Hall made the All-Tournament team in the Sweet 16 in Lexington.
LACROSSE BEGINS: The West Virginia Scholastic Lacrosse Association has started the 2014 season with 19 boys teams and 8 girls teams. Due to growth, the boys have split into two divisions, D1 and D2. Championships of boys will be decided May 17 at the Trace Fork Soccer Complex in Charleston. Girls championship game is May 16 at Alderson Broaddus. Alternate date is May 17 at Trace Fork. The all-star game for boys will be May 31 at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling.
WORK PAYS OFF: Thirty-one wrestlers who attended a Ken Chertow wrestling camp qualified for the NCAA Division I Championships held over the weekend in Oklahoma City. Chertow is a former Huntington High and Penn State standout who made the U.S. team for the 1988 Summer Olympics. He's been an assistant coach at Penn State and Ohio State and been an analyst on the Big Ten Network at CBS College Sports.
LET'S GO: The Carlos Akers/Doc Hale Memorial Invitational is Saturday at Cabell Midland's Chris Parsons Track. It's the first big local meet of the season.