Coalfields Region: TRIPLE A

The Coalfields Region is one of the most historic in the state.  Ranging over the southeastern counties of West Virginia, it features tons of schools that used to be AAA that have now fallen down to the lowest classification.  The AA state champion has come from here the past two seasons, now.  AAA is not as successful with only three schools present.  We’re taking this week to look at what to expect out of the Coalfields Region.

 

 

Tiger Pride

Princeton has not made the playoffs since the pre-Chris Pedigo era that began last year.  2017 felt a lot of bumps and bruises- mostly from past decisions.  With Princeton not being allowed to play anyone within the MSAC due to their buyout, it has crippled their schedule in terms of travel.  We haven’t tallied it up, but there is a good chance between 2017 and 2018, they will travel more than any other team with trips to Musselman, Ripley, and Wheeling Park this season.

Coach Pedigo and his experienced staff do appear to be making strides.   In their spread-based offense and blitz-happy defense, several star names are beginning to rise to the surface.  We caught wind of Ranson Graham, an offensive Swiss Army Knife, and have been impressed with everything we have seen.  He has seen snaps at quarterback but als, at wide receiver.  Basically, wherever they can get him to make plays.

Another potential all-state candidate is Chiron Cannady.  He has awesome length and will hopefully be highlighted in their scheme of defense.  Cannady will easily outsize the receivers he goes up against on a weekly basis. The Tigers appear to be more consistent at the linebacker position but the offensive-defensive lines, in general, raise a lot of of questions.  With their schedule, they need to be answered fast.  It is hard to tell how much they improve this year, but we do believe they will.  Princeton opens up with Buckhannon Upshur on August 24th.

RGraham
Photo Credits: Bluefield Daily Times

 

The Toughest of Roads

Woodrow Wilson has been in a rut the last few seasons.  In the last two seasons, Woodrow has compiled a record of 2-18- very similar to other Coalfield AAA’s.  With a 2017 12-7 win over rival Greenbrier East and a 2016 2OT win over Bluefield, they have proven to deliver in clutch situations.  A big change going forth will be replacing a three-year starting quarterback.  The good news is that the Flying Eagles are set to have many experienced players return and should have few players on the field with unfamiliar faces.

Watchlist lineman Ian Pomeroy, junior, and Colton Wright, senior, will anchor both sides of the line.  Both will match up size-wise in the MSAC and hold their own.  In the defensive middle is returning starter Nick Wickline.  Coach Street Sarrett’s two valuable weapons on offensive will come in runningback Micah Hancock and wide receiver Logan Cook, who both battled injuries in 2017.

The bad news is that Woodrow Wilson has one of the toughest schedules in the state.  This road includes AAA powerhouses Huntington, Capital, Cabell Midland, Parkersburg, and Hurricane as well reigning AA champ Bluefield.  It’s a tough road indeed.  They will be favored in a few games but will need some upsets to make a run.  They open up August 24th at Riverside.

MHancock
Photo Credits: The Register Herald

 

 

This is… Lewisburg?

Out of the three AAAs in the Coalfields region, Greenbrier East actually had the most wins.  At 2-8, it definitely wasn’t a banner year for Ray Lee and company.  After coming off a stint of successful seasons, the Spartans have seen back-to-back down years.  Hopefully, that changes behind a much more consistent offensive scheme and improved defense.

Jaylon Battaile is the horse to watch here.  He is a bit bigger sized and also has the wheels to be a big-play runner.  Finding out if he can take 20+ carries a game seems to be the big question.  Regardless, as long as they have him, the offense has a chance to move the ball.

Last season, the Spartans faced woes at quarterback.  After the QB-to-be was injured the same game he had a career performance, you could definitely see the wind let out of Lewisburg.  Whoever mans that position this year will have a great target in Colby Piner, who proved to be a consistent pass catcher from week one to week eleven.

Defensively lies their biggest problem.  They will play several smashmouth run teams like Woodrow Wilson, Bluefield, Ripley, and Riverside.  Whether or not youngin’s like Nate Baker rise in the middle, could really decide the direction this team goes.  Greenbrier East plays no patty cake road but nothing brutal.  They open up at James Monroe August 24th.

JBattaile
Photo Credits: The Register Herald

 

 

SPEED ROUND

Since there is no other AAA schools in this region, we look at the possibility over the next reclassification.  If Oak Hill acquires Single A Fayetteville, they will definitely be close to being bumped up to AAA again where they had decent success in the mid-2010’s.  Also, Shady Spring would be included in that bubble if they decided to expand AAA again.  The Tigers went to the AA semifinals a year prior to going up and went on a strand of 1 or 2 win seasons for several years.  It would also be interesting to see how close Nicholas County would be if they ever obtained Richwood- a very resisted move.  Overall, in AAA, all three teams look to be moving forward rather than picking up the pieces.

Fville
Photo Credits: West Virginia Gazette

 

 

FOOTBALL IS ALMOST HERE.  Each week we will be diving into one of our four regions.  We’ve sliced it up a little different to equal the spread of talent out.  We have the Coalfields region, MD (Mason-Dixon) Panhandle region, North West region, and Valley region.  We will spend a week on each in that order.  Every week will include Monday: Single A, Tuesday: Double A, Wednesday: Triple A, Thursday: Preseason All-Region Team, Friday: Top 10 in the Region.  Let’s get it!

Coalfields Region: DOUBLE A

The Coalfields Region is one of the most historic in the state.  Ranging over the southeastern counties of West Virginia, it features tons of schools that used to be AAA that have now fallen down to the lowest classification.  The AA state champion has come from here the past two seasons, now.  AAA is not as successful with only three schools present.  We’re taking this week to look at what to expect out of the Coalfields Region.

 

Dam Good

We thought Bluefield was going to be pretty good last year.  We thought Mookie Collier would be pretty good as well.  The fact that people are probably tired of hearing his name outside of Bluefield really understates their performance.  On a magical streak of game breaking runs, rising stars like Truck Edwards, and stellar defense, the Bluefield Beavers went unbeaten and claimed a state championship for their 7th stratight decade.

Coach Simon has been here multiple times- coming off a title.  He has never repeated.  However, 2018 might be his best shot.  Bluefield has one of the deepest lines in the state regardless of class.  All-staters Deiyante Powell, Nathan Pettus, Mason Walker, and a promising Garrett Jordan.  These boys are not just talented but are well-sized indeed.

Quarterback Chandler Cooper had more of a game manager role last season but look for that year of experience to really give him more chances in 2018.  They can ride Juice Edwards and Arnold Martin similarily to Mookie and Truck.  JJ Davis will also be a featured back.  All three of those men are top-notch defenders as well.

The defense features many of those same names and some big-time potentials like Drake Mullins and Isaiah Johnson.  Mullins, a speed rush-type, is great at making the offense go horizontal.  Johnson, a defensive back, has elite speed, agility, and an underrated ability to come down effectively on the run.  Include Kaulin Parris as the #3 K/P in the state and these Beavers might have reloaded more than anyone in the state.  Bluefield opens up with Graham (VA) in their famous rivalry August 24th.

Bluefield
Photo Credit; Bluefield Daily Times

 

 

New Challengers

James Monroe and Mingo Central have been the forefront of the Coalfields AA region until Bluefield kicked the door down in 2017.  Between the two, they lost a group of seniors loaded in yards, tackles, pancakes, and some memorable playoff runs including a state title for Mingo Central.  So, how do these schools move forward?

The Mavericks look much steadier, though witha new coach in Chris Booth, behind returning all-staters Monroe Mohler (QB/DB), Channing Carr (TE), Noah Dillon (OL/DL), and Jaden Clarkson (LB).  The same cannot be said for Mingo as they will revolve entirely around top-rated receiver Drew Hatfield.  They do have some good role players like Dougie Dillon (RB) and Josh Kinder (WR).

Either way, we think the challenger to Bluefield will be neither.  We look to Nicholas County or Shady Spring to fill this void.  One, the Grizzlies, are returning off a first round exit last year but have quarterback Jared Sargraves and runningback Jacob O’Dell to have an even more electric offense and support their annually tough defense.

Shady Spring, who has not been noteworthy since the early 2010’s, has one of their best teams in a long time.  They will return two worthy quarterbacks, all-state runningback Tyler Bragg, all-state lineman Ryan Carter, all-state defensive back Terrymykal Alexander, and an X-factor sophomore track star Isaiah Valentine.  This team went 5-5 in 2017 and dropped two-three wins late.  They open up at Lincoln County 8/24 and Nicholas County travels to North Marion as well.  They play each other Week Two.

jsagraves.jpg
Photo Credits: The Register Herald

 

 

Tougher Times

Head Coach James Toth leaving Logan during July was hard on all involved.  He did have the opportunity to return to Wahama, but now, the Wildcats are scrambling in multiple directions.   A team with promising athletes like Chucky Felder, Shawntee Mathews, and Trey Cowart find themselves in tougher times.

It was reported that they are really struggling to get enough kids out to have a football team in 2018.   If Logan does not field a team this year that will be a devastating blow to the kids and the community.  We know they’re a basketball school but avoiding a full-season cancellation of any sport must be a priority for all involved.

A county over, Scott has also had a hard time.  With 2017 being plagued with injuries, late losses, and public discipline issues, it was already hard.  Two all-state players, Carson McComas (RB) and Jerrad Price (OL/DL), have transferred back to Lincoln Coutny, and it appears Jon Jon Hamilton (WR/QB) is not returning for the season.

Luckily, they do have Connor White, runningback, and Carter Lyles, lineman, to really rally behind.  Adversity is a tough thing to deal with, but it no doubt builds character.  We hope to see Logan and Scott with a lot of much-earned success this year and in the future.  On the 24th of August, Scott opens up at Herbert Hoover, and Logan hopes to play on the 23rd.  The two are set to meet Week Seven.

CWhite

 

 

SPEED ROUND

PikeView will attempt to run their wicked ground scheme with solely Evan Rose this year and finally make it to the playoffs.  Independence, Clay County, and Oak Hill were all bubble playoff teams in 2017 and lost a lot of seniors with promising players behind, do they take the next step?  Out of Westside, who says goodbye to a winning senior class, Wyoming East, Liberty-Raleigh, and Man… who overachieves from their under .500 expectations?  Finally, Chapmanville battled injuries all 2017 including their QB playing on a bum knee.  Is Chase Berry the biggest unknown threat lurking in the Cardinal Conference?

CB

 

 

FOOTBALL IS ALMOST HERE.  Each week we will be diving into one of our four regions.  We’ve sliced it up a little different to equal the spread of talent out.  We have the Coalfields region, MD (Mason-Dixon) Panhandle region, North West region, and Valley region.  We will spend a week on each in that order.  Every week will include Monday: Single A, Tuesday: Double A, Wednesday: Triple A, Thursday: Preseason All-Region Team, Friday: Top 10 in the Region.  Let’s get it!

Coalfields Region: SINGLE A

The Coalfields Region is one of the most historic in the state.  Ranging over the southeastern counties of West Virginia, it features tons of schools that used to be AAA that have now fallen down to the lowest classification.  The AA state champion has come from here the past two seasons, now.  AAA is not as successful with only three schools present.  We’re taking this week to look at what to expect out of the Coalfields Region.

 

 

The Holy Trail

Midland Trail lived up to many expectations and exceeded many as well.  One of the deeper teams in all of Single A cruised through the regular season with few challengers.  Only a AA power in Nicholas County tacked a notch in their loss column.  Behind Thomas Ferris and over 2,000 yards of rushing, Frank Isaacs and the Patriots won their way to the quarterfinals.  There, they lost on a goalline fumble to the hotstreak Summers County Bobcats.

It was a tough loss to say the least.  Players like Ferris and Dillon Brasse, and other seniors, played their final prep snaps.  Unlike many other Single A programs, this is not the end of the world.  They return a deep skillset including returning QB Austin Isaacs, RB Morgan Ferris, WR Noah Minor, LB Cordell Lesher, and OL/DL’s Trevor Harrell and Hunter Jones.  All are all-state caliber players.

It’s hard to favorite anyone over the returning champ, but we can all agree Midland Trail will be a Top 5 team again.  They have high caliber players at every spot which is the sign of a promising squad on that level.  We hope to see Midland Trail excel again.  They open up at Independence on August 24th.

Austin Isaacs
Photo Credits: Fayette Tribune

 

 

Water & Wood

Down in the Coalfields Region lies two teams that could be the dark horses of the entire state.  The Sherman Tide and the Richwood Lumberjacks.  The Tide, last year, travelled to Weirton and took out Madonna on their home turf to advance to quarterfinals where they would lose tough eventually.  Richwood stayed in it with South Harrison until Freddie Canary took stronghold of the run game.

Between the two: who do WE go with?  It’s hard to say.  Sherman possesses an electric JT Hensley at QB and DB- also, two of the top lineman in the state with Layne Daniel and Justin Hawkins.  Their first-ups are definitely talented; the overall depth might bring a question.

Richwood, on the other hand, seems to have more men in the skill positions like QB Caleb Jantuah, RB Jeremiah Johnston, and WR Michael McGee.   Johnston is the key to this ground-heavy offense as he is a back that can take 20+ carries every game.  A true horse while Jantuah also runs but can hit big plays to McGee.

Both teams will play the top single A’s multiple times, so the question of if they are a weekly threat or a flash in the pan will be answered.  Either way, they will be exciting to watch.  Richwood opens up on the 24th of August against high-ranked Webster County and Sherman travels to dangerous Magnolia the same night.

Jeremiah Johnston
Photo Credits: Fayette Tribune

 

 

How good?

Our Coalfields Ratings were one our best successes yet whether or not many paid attention.  They predicted 9/10 of the playoffs.  However, two teams really flip-flopped it all: Summers County and Webster County.  They did so in different ways and strangely enough, played each other twice in 2017.

Summers County did get hot defensively.  With a narrrow midseason win over Webster County, they got to rematch the one-loss first round where they beat them even worse despite having an almost equal rating.  The Bobcats then took out Midland Trail who, according to the ratings, should have blew them out.  Of course, they did fall to Wheeling Central in the semifinals.

A big difference is that Summers County loses tenacious QB Tucker Lilly and Single A Lineman of the Year Andrew Richmond.  Webster County retains both RB/LBs Luke Hardway and Jordan Dancy (all-state talents).  The Bobcats do have watch list skill players Keandre Sarver, Christian Pack, and Marcus McGuire.

Both teams came out of thin air, it seemed, in 2017.  It’s interesting to see how Summers County fairs moving forward with a new quarterback and a reliance up front.  Webster County appears to have returned their core men and are probably bitter over their early exit after a 9-1 season.  Webster County opens at Richwood 8/24 and Summers County at AA PikeView the same day.  They do not play in the regular season this year.

WC SC
Photo Credits: Charleston Gazette

 

SPEED ROUND

Pocahontas County looks to replace a large senior class that got them to the playoffs.  Tug Valley also loses a bulk of 12th graders after a quarterfinalist season.  Greenbrier West, Meadow Bridge, and Valley (Fayette) appear to be better but no exceptional jumps.  Van will look for anyone to replace RB Brady Grant.  Fayetteville will depend completely on Jordan Dempsey just like 2017.  One of the most interesting teams in 2018 will be the Mount View Golden Knights.  A promising young quarterback, Jesse Rose, to accompany watch list talents RB/LB Elijah Barner, WR Marqus Ray, DL/LB Ty Powell, and lineman Jashawn Collins.  They will play a schedule with more teams their size which could get this program really rolling in the right direction.

MV
Photo Credits: Gallipolis Daily Tribune

 

 

FOOTBALL IS ALMOST HERE.  Each week we will be diving into one of our four regions.  We’ve sliced it up a little different to equal the spread of talent out.  We have the Coalfields region, MD (Mason-Dixon) Panhandle region, North West region, and Valley region.  We will spend a week on each in that order.  Every week will include Monday: Single A, Tuesday: Double A, Wednesday: Triple A, Thursday: Preseason All-Region Team, Friday: Top 10 in the Region.  Let’s get it!

TOP 5 WV KICKERS/PUNTERS OF 2019

To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended.  The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined).  Not on the list?  Good thing it’s not even preseason yet.  Prove us right or prove us wrong.

 

 

Without further ado…

 

 

Honorable Mention

*Non-Specialists*

Reed Reitter (Weir) 2019

Mason Kump (Independence) 2019

Logan Spurlock (Capital) 2020

 

 

Honorable Mention

John Campbell (Herbert Hoover) 2019

Evan Ogden (Bridgeport) 2019

John McConnell (Morgantown) 2021

Michael Hughes (George Washington) 2021

 

 

#5 Cameron Powell

cpowell.jpg

School: Riverside

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’8 / 185 lbs

Powell has one of the strongest legs in the state when it comes to punting.  Last year he was used pretty effectively in flipping field position while leaving his guys room to make plays.  He is a decent kicker as well and one of the top in the state, regardless.  He will be a valuable asset on a Warrior squad replacing some big names.

 

 

#4 Finnegan Hall

FH
Photo Credits: The Journal

School: Hedgesville

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 200 lbs

When it comes to booting that dirty pigskin, Hall is the man.  Not only does he sail some punts for over a 40-yard average but also has an astounding kickoff average of 54 yards.  That is touchback territory and in high school ball, that is valuable.  He was also nearly automatic as a field goal and extra point kicker.  A heck of a player.

 

 

#3 Kaulin Parris

KParris.jpg
Photo Credits: Bluefield Daily Times

School: Bluefield

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’3 / 165 lbs

Parris has the highest ceiling of any specialist on the list.  Parris is a consistent player with a big leg.  He often isn’t put in positions to show off his field goal ability because Bluefield usually takes it to the crib.  He got plenty of extra point and kickoff practice though- that is for sure.

 

 

TIE – #1 Jonah Phares

JPhares

School: University

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’1 / 160 lbs

Phares sails to a top spot on the list because he is the definition of clutch.  Numerous times in 2017 Phares was called late to hit a field goal including a buzzer beater game winner.  He’s 66% from the field with a long of 37.  This is not the guy you want kicking against you with the game on the line.

 

 

TIE – #1 Timothy McCutchen

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School: Hurricane

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’10 / 170 lbs

McCutchen falls in at number one because of his utter consistency.  The Redskins often struck quick and sometimes stalled out- time for McCutchen.  He went 8/13 with a long of 40.  A very impressive number is that he went 40/40 on extra points.  An automatic point after is underrated.  We like his consistency and expect big things from him this season.

 

 

Who did we miss?  Let us know!  We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids!  This was our last position of the year as we head into the season!  We look forward to meeting those we have missed!

TOP 5 WV FULLBACKS/TIGHTENDS OF 2019

To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended.  The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined).  Not on the list?  Good thing it’s not even preseason yet.  Prove us right or prove us wrong.

 

 

Without further ado…

 

 

Honorable Mention

Derek Richardson (University) 2019

Devon Matzdorff (Wayne) 2019

Ethan Travis (Oak Glen) 2019

 

 

#5 Elijah Barner

EB

School: Mount View

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’9 / 225 lbs

Barner typically plays more of a runningback role for Mount View and is also an all-state linebacker but his Mike Alstott-esque running has him here.  On their schedule, he may never go down just by one defender.  He’s stout, proportioned, and can move.  He could have a banner year for a Golden Knight looking to take another step towards the playoffs.  We’re excited to see some truck sticks for sure.

 

 

#4 Channing Carr

CCarr

School: James Monroe

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’2 / 200 lbs

Carr was underrated part of a talented Maverick offense the last two years.  He’s lanky and can play off the line or out wide.  His grittiness allows for him to survive in the trenches.  At tight end, he will be an important target under a new head coach and new full-time quarterback.  We expect a phenominal year for Carr as he has all the physical and mental tools to be a top all-stater.

 

 

#3 Dakota Cosby

DC

School: George Washington

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’1 / 230 lbs

Cosby was one of our favorite players to watch on film this offseason.  He is a definite star on defense and would be on the linebacker watch lists if we didn’t think he was also such a good fullback-tightend combo.  He’s tall but also a very big kid with large hips and a powerful upper body.  His 100+ tackle counts indicates he can move which results in head-splitting hits on both sides.  Cosby is a player you feel days after the game.

 

 

#2 Isaac Howard

IH

School: Spring Valley

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’11 / 215 lbs

On a team with star players littering each position and class, the fullback can often times be overlooked.  The Timberwolves bread and butter is the run game, and Howard has been a constant performer here.  Spring Valley fans and players know his worth but the state should too.  He’s well-sized, has that hustle to beat linebackers to the position, and then has the grit to seal them off.  A stellar player.

 

 

#1 Bryce Damous

BD

School: Huntington

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’3 / 230 lbs

If the Highlanders can develop a consistent passing game with a brand-new skill crew, Damous could put up Gronk numbers.  He’s a tall and slender but the closer you get the more you realize how muscular he is.  Add in the fact that he moves well too, and there might not be really anyone in the state who can guard him 1v1 without a lot of safety help over the top.  An incredible tool that stretches the field.  He will be a beast again this year.

 

 

Who did we miss?  Let us know!  We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids!  Our next Feature Five Friday we will take on the top kickers and punters in the state!  Let us know who should be in there!

TOP 5 WV AA/A QUARTERBACKS OF 2018

To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended.  The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined).  Not on the list?  Good thing it’s not even preseason yet.  Prove us right or prove us wrong.

 

Without further ado…

 

 

Honorable Mention

Xavier Lopez (Robert C. Byrd)

Rhett White (Herbert Hoover)

Dalton Malcomb (North Marion)

 

 

#5 Will Hackney

WH
Photo Credits: Charleston Gazette

School: Sissonville

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’1 / 190 lbs

Sissonville had a pretty great 2017 season thanks to some big-time performances by Will Hackney.  Hackney has been a consistently good passer and honorable playmaker.  He makes a lot of good decisions but can go on streaks of turnovers.  However, when Hackney has time and gets hot, few put up the numbers he does.  He has another year under his belt and will definitely be slinging a lot of tuddies for the Indians this year.

 

 

#4 Connor Neal

CN
Photo Credits: Times West Virginian

School: Fairmont Senior

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’0 / 200 lbs

Connor Neal took over after a quarterback that had led his team to the state finals.  Neal, as a first-year starter, did the same thing including a 300+ yard performance in the title game.  Though he lost a valuable threat in Bryson Gilbert, he still has his favorite receiver in Antonio Parsons.  The Polar Bears will light up scoreboards as Neal has elite confidence and decision making with a good enough arm to slice it up.  Big things to come.

 

 

#3 Jacob Hartman

JHartman

School: Petersburg

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’2 / 205 lbs

Hartman is one of the most physically intimidating quarterbacks in the state.  He’s tall, lengthy, and thick.  His numbers are shockingly impressive with seasons of 2,500+ yards passing and near 1,000 yards rushing.  He can outmuscle many defenders while also having a rocket arm.  Petersburg has been on the rise in recent times and that will come to a head this year with many weapons around Hartman.  Should be awesome to watch.

 

 

#2 Curtis McGhee III

CM
Photo Credits: WV Metro News

School: Wheeling Central

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’2 / 180 lbs

A complete unknown to us even two-thirds of the way through 2017, McGhee made his mark in the playoffs.  On a red-hot Maroon Knight offense, McGhee displayed big-play ability.  Whether on the ground or passing, he could strike from anywhere at anytime.  He has great speed and ability alongside some good passing mechanics.  His creativity in making plays puts him in positions to destroy defenses.  A big reason Wheeling Central rolls in as the Single A favorite.

 

 

#1 Cason Payne

cp.jpg
Photo Credits: The Point Pleasant Register

School: Point Pleasant

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’2 / 205 lbs

Payne remains the state’s best kept secret.  The lefty has size and athleticism.  His numbers are great both passing and rushing.  He has every charactersitic you want with good decision making, an incredibly strong arm, and respectable accuracy.  Payne can also pull it down and gain tough yards.  The Black Knights are in a great position to take AA by storm this year.

 

 

Who did we miss?  Let us know!  We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids!  Our next Feature Five Friday will actually be Tuesday and we will take on the returning tight ends/fullback of the state!  Let us know who should be in there!

Off-Season Stories (2/2)

The 2018 off-season has had even more happenings in its second half than its first.  Teams still looking for coaches, players picking up more offers, hundreds and hundreds of 7v7 games, and the itch for football season has still never been so real.  We will take you through the stories you might have missed as we have less than a month away from the pads being broken out.

 

 

For the first half of our Off-Season Stories: https://coalfields.org/2018/05/22/off-season-stories-1-2/

 

 

Coaching Vacancies

Every season the state is riddled with programs struggling to replace coaches.  As far as we know, there are four schools without a head coach.  Logan, Wahama, Berkeley Springs, and St. Albans are four programs still searching for recently (with the exception of Wahama) departed coaches.  Anytime a team has no coach in July, it puts a lot of pressure and potential struggles on the team going into August.  We hope some positivity and the proper fits find their ways to all these schools.  Tough situations.

 

 

Offers Still Picking Up

After Kerry Martin Jr. decommitted from Miami (OH) he has since picked some big offers including in-state West Virginia University.  His brother, Kerion (class of 2020), most recently picked up an offer from Western Kentucky which will most likely lead to a floodgate of schools to come.  Nick Malone, Zach Frazier, and Zeiqui Lawton all have picked up big-time Division One offers as well.  Brenton Strange now has huge offers from Ohio State and Notre Dame.  The class of 2018 and following are on a historic pace.

 

 

7v7 Headliners

Several teams made noise through 7v7s.  Many people take this with a grain of salt but nonetheless proves teams have the capacity to compete at the skill position.  Hedgesville, Weir, and Mount View were very much talked about teams perfoming well in seven on sevens.  This can at least answer the question whether or not they can replace their quarterbacks of 2017.  Several elite teams are facing stellar quarterback battles such as Spring Valley’s Will Adkins and Nate Ellis, and Martinsburg’s Elijah Banks and Grant Harman.  All have tremendous potential and played at a high level.

 

 

North/South and History Made

The 2018 North-South Classic was held at South Charleston due to a date change and reservation issues at Laidley Field.  The overall consensus was that the new venue was quite successful and many of the players, parents, and staff enjoyed the set-up.   The North won its third straight while East Hardy’s Brett Tharp garnered MVP honors.  Also, in another change of pace, Hannan High School hired the first female head coach in state history in Kellie Thomas.  She’s been around Hannan sports for awhile and is very well-respected.  We wish her the best of luck.

 

 

Our Off-Season Experience

This has been our first off-season as a staff and it has been a blast.  The player watch, clinics, and camps have all been successful and can be examined on our site bar.  As many know, our current project is a massive preseason magazine including every team + articles + additional content.  It is set to release digitally on the site mid-late July and preordering for paperback copies soon after so you all can have it before the season starts.  We are still planning to do our regional previews and have put many hours into a really cool hype video for the season.  Let’s get it.