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Last week, the Petersburg High Athletic Department announced Stacey Berg would be stepping into the boys varsity basketball coach.

According to their release, Berg is a graduate of Petersburg High School (class of 1991) and Fairmont State University.

He brings to the position over 10 years of coaching experience. Most recently, he has been part of the Viking middle school boys basketball program. Under Berg’s two years of guidance the team has a combined record of 52 and 18. They were 2017-2018 runner up PVLs and 2019-2020 PVL champs.

Berg is also a board member for Grant County Little League Basketball.

“We want to foster values in young men such as responsibility, respect, and being part of something bigger than one, a team,” Berg said. “I will do my best to mold a group of individuals to be responsible and hold themselves accountable. We will be committed to the school and the community and will be committed to work with our student athletes to provide the opportunity to thrive on and off the court. Academics will be held at a high standard. A student that does well in the classroom will do well on the court.”

In his personal life, Berg enjoys time with his family, spending time on the farm, and anything that involves the outdoors. Currently, Berg is a sales manager for Grant County Mulch. He is married to Gwen Berg. They have five children, Bryce and Payton Berg and Bailey, Grant, and Gracie Brill.

Family is very important and Berg wants to convey that to the basketball program.

“We look forward to the challenges that lay ahead. I realize there will be bumps in the road but with the support of the community, we will thrive together,” Berg said. “As Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

What are morel mushroooms?

Morels are one of the most desired wild mushrooms in the world. They are not farmed like most grocery store mushrooms, Cremini, Portobello, Oyster, etc. but gathered in the wild.

The part that is eaten is the fruiting body of the underground organism called mycelium that has a complex symbiotic relationship with trees.

Every spring mushroom enthusiasts, foraging chefs, and an ever growing group of commercial harvesters hunt these little forest treasures.

The Morchella genus has been the subject of fascination and debate for centuries. Mycologists (mushroom scientists) cannot agree on how many subspecies of Morchella there are and the nomenclature is constantly under revision. However, doesn’t “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet?”

Everyone can agree that morels are delicious and nutritious.

What do morels look like?

Morels vary tremendously in appearance. Their shape can be oblong to bulbous. Their color can be blonde to grey. Their size can be smaller than your fingertip to larger than your hand. Their most identifiable characteristic is what’s typically described as a honeycomb like exterior. Bees are are more methodical though.

The ‘combs’ or pits on the outside of morels can be tight or loose and form an imperfect pattern. The inside of morels are hollow and white’ish and up close you can detect a goosebump-like texture. The base of the cap joins to a white’ish stem which can be short or tall and the hollow of the cap runs continuous into the stem (this is important to distinguish it from some false morels).

Cutting

It is best to cut the morel with a knife an inch or less of the stem. The stem is totally edible and delicious. If you pluck, your mushroom will be dirty and frayed.

Carrying

It’s best to carry your harvest in something like an onion bag while you’re in the woods so any spores can be distributed and dirt and sand can filter out onto the ground.

Storing

Fresh morels keep for about a week refrigerated, depending on the condition you found them in. The wetter and hotter they are, the more quickly they will deteriorate. Place them in the fridge, no more than a few layers deep, with plenty of air to circulating around them. Drying is an excellent storage option.

Where do they grow?

Morels grow on the ground in broad-leaf forests, grassy woodlands, burned areas, and along woodland streams. They are thought to be associated with trees, so look near species such as yellow (tulip) poplar, ash (green, white), elm (American, Red), and apple trees. Search for them in the leaf litter and under downed logs around the base of these trees.

Morels in culture and tradition

Many families return to the same areas year after year to look for morels. These secret spots where morel mushrooms just seem to flourish are often passed down.

Nicknames

Shrimp of the woods, chicken of the woods, haystacks, dry land fish, merkles (miracles), hickory chickens, sponge mushrooms and molly moocher.

Book

Bill Roody, the foremost authority on wild mushrooms is the author of the book “Wild Mushrooms of West Virginia and Central Appalachia.”

When to hunt morels in West Virginia

Morels begin to spring up in early April and somtimes up through June.

How to eat morels

Soaking morels in water for a couple of hours cleans them and washes out any bugs living inside the hollow mushrooms. Some people slice them in half lengthwise for a more thorough cleaning.

Sauteing morels in butter

brings out their rich, almost meaty flavor. Many people batter-fry morels or used sauteéd ones on a steak, burger or as a pizza topping.

Morels are not to be eaten raw or consumed in large quantities because they contain a mildly toxic sub- stance, which is destroyed in cooking. As with any food, it is possible for some people to have an allergic reaction to morels.

Record- breaking morels

• Charlie Ware of Old Mines, Missouri - 12 inches tall with a 4 1⁄2 inch diame- ter, and a circumference of 13 inches.

• 13-year-old Kayden Graber of Linton, Indiana - found a morel mushroom that was nearly a foot tall.

Kelly Young, of Walnut, Iowa - weighed 1.5 pounds, was 15 inches tall and 14 inches around.

The danger of false morels

There is a mushroom, often refered to as the false morel, that is poisonous if consumed.

False morels look some- what similar to true morels, but there is a difference in the two types. True morels have a honeycomb like cap and can be black, yellow, and tan in color.

Some true morels can also have a blue and gray color to them.

False morels don’t have as distinct honeycomb pattern as do the true morels. When a false morel is cut in half it will have a milky white substance inside and should not be eaten. A true morel will be hollow, whereas a false morel will be solid.

Another notable differnce between the two, is that false morels tend to be solitary while true morels will be found in groups.

References: untamedfeast.com; highland-outdoors. com; register-herald.com and morelmushroomhunting.com

Bob Mullett, game director of the West Virginia Schools Athletic Coaches Association’s Friday Night Rivals North-South Football Classic, has announced the rosters for its 2020 event.

Among those athletes named the event was Petersburg High School senior, Dawson Tingler.

Tingler was assigned to the North Bears roster in a defensive position.

Daran Hays of North Marion High School will lead the North Bears. Ray Lee of Greenbrier East High School will guide the South Cardinals.

North assistant coaches are Steven Harbert of North Marion, Gary Lanham of North Marion, Britt Sherman of Martinsburg and Nathan Tanner of Parkersburg South.

South assistant coaches are Aaron Baker of Greenbrier East, Alex Daugherty of Riverside, Jake Harper of Greenbrier East and Mark Workman of Liberty-Raleigh.

“We have a fine group of players again this year and look forward to another great game,” said Mullett.

Some of the standouts selected include Parkersburg South QB Brandon Penn, the 2019 J.R. House Award winner as the state’s top quarterback; Martinsburg’s Jarod Bowie, the Fulton Walker Award winner in 2019 as the state’s top special teams player; Oak Glen’s Michael Lemley, the 2019 Carl Lee Award as West Virginia’s top defensive back; Martinsburg’s Malachi Brown, the 2018 Randy Moss Award as the state’s top wide receiver while playing at Hedgesville High School; Doddridge County’s Hunter America, the 2018 Curt Warner Award recipient as West Virginia’s best running back; and Mingo Central’s Drew Hatfield, the 2019 Randy Moss Award winner.

The 2020 West Virginia Schools Athletic Coaches Association’s Friday Night Rivals North-South Football Classic will kick-off at noon on Saturday, June 13 at South Charleston High School’s Black Eagle Stadium. The game will be televised live on WCHS-TV with Mark Martin.

Stay updated with the North-South Football Classic. Follow us on Twitter @NSFootballWV. “Like” us on Facebook - NorthSouthFootballWV.

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