Arena Football officially returned to Wheeling Saturday evening as the West Virginia Roughriders took on the Burgh Defenders.
It was an excellent season-opener for the Roughriders as they went on to defeat the Defenders 95-18.
Wide Receiver Larry Beavers led the way for the Roughriders with seven touchdowns and 131 yards.
Fan favorite and former West Virginia Mountaineer Noel Devine finished with five catches for 51 yards.
March Madness is in full swing, but in the Ohio Valley it’s all about football!
The West Virginia Roughriders opened their inaugural season against the Burgh Defenders at WesBanco Arena.
“Like I’ve said 100 times, it’s the Wheeling fans. We just love the people and we’re happy to be here,” said Roughriders Head Coach Mook Zimmerman.
There’s no doubt that the Roughriders are stacked with talent on their team, having hired guys who have played ball at the collegiate level and in the NFL.
“The talent that we have here, Jarrett Brown, Noel Devine is one of those guys I used to play with on the football game, and talking to a guy I used to play on the PlayStation, and I’m the older guy,” said Roughrider Larry Beavers. “Me being a vet I get to teach these guys and I’m having fun.”
Many people are used to the traditional football field that’s 100 yards, but an arena field is only 50 yards.
In addition, the goalpost is also smaller in arena football.
A few other differences, there’s no tailback in arena football, but the team does have a fullback. There are only eight men on the field as opposed to the NFL’s 11.
As for punting? It’s not permitted.
The smaller space allows indoor wall to wall contact, and one intense game for fans.
“Fans can look forward to a lot of touchdowns,” added Roughrider Noel Devine. “A lot of scoring, fast and physical.”
What do the Roughriders expect to see from the Ohio Valley Community at the season opener?
“I expect some crazy football fans. We’re going to bring some excitement for everyone,” said Roughrider Jarrett Brown. “Especially the kids.”
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