The West Virginia Smash are getting set for their second season of semi-pro football in Morgantown.
“We’re really excited. Part of the Gridiron Developmental Football League. The ‘GDFL’ for short. Last year was really just a test run, trying to bring semi-pro football back to Morgantown. The whole reason I wanted to start the team was just so we could have the guys that wanted to go to the next level, they would have a place to really showcase their skills in order to get to the arena league or to get to college, whatever they wanted,” said James Clark, team founder and co-owner.
Last year, Clark’s club had 20 or fewer players on the roster for most of its games. But this year, it will have more than double that, including players that formerly played at Glenville State or for the Mountaineers.
One of those players is Alfred Dickey, who unfortunately never got the chance to play in a game for West Virginia University.
“Having an opportunity to play football again after me blowing my knee out, having that opportunity to do that, and having Chris and James put this organization together, give me another chance. Pretty much put it all out on the field and have that passion, pretty much to give them in return what they gave to me again,” said Dickey, one of the Smash’s key defensive backs.
For some, Like Dickey, the Smash provide the chance to prove they’ve still got game. For others, like former Glenville State quarterback Jermell Corbitt, it’s also a chance to share the game with their family.
“My son getting to see me play – he’s six year’s old. I’m getting a little older, and I want him to see me ball out I guess. I coached also, after I was done playing at Glenville State and it’s definitely good for him to see me play,” said Corbitt.
The Smash also can be a spring board for players to play in Arena leagues or at other highers levels of football.
“Within a semi-pro system you go out of your way to build guys and try to find talent that’s looking to get to the next level. So far we’ve got four guys in Arena. We had a guy make it to a higher level of arena just based off the team’s numbers from last year. We’ve been really impressed with where we’ve come,” said Smash head coach Chris Simpson.
It’s a good problem to have when players can’t participate in practice because they’re signed with an Arena team. That’s one of the goals for Simpson and the other team leaders.
Another is to keep the program growing. And to make a playoff push in year two.