New Ratings System

One of the big news stories that has been rolling around the state is the possibility of a new ratings system for football. The ratings would give teams bonus points for every game that their opponent won, regardless of whether or not they won the game or not. This has put some into a frenzy and others saying that there isn’t much change going to come with the points change. There have been a few studies that show that in previous years, there has been not a whole lot of movement and in other years, there has been a ton. It all comes down to all close the competition is for that season. What I hope it does, is allow teams to not be afraid to schedule a little tougher.

For years, we have seen teams schedule light and sneak into the playoffs. That’s fine, some say schedule light others say schedule to the same level of their competition. It makes sense, it really does. What we have seen is that schools are now incredibly nervous to schedule the tougher teams in the state, where it is almost guaranteed a loss when they play. That loss can be massive when it comes to points and the rating system that we have, especially if you must go almost perfect to get in. The tough teams are now having to go far and wide to find games of teams who are willing to play. Most of those teams are powerhouses in their respective areas as well.

The ratings change makes a team like Martinsburg the best team you could play on your schedule. It is a guaranteed 9 or 10 bonus points per year. That could move teams rating almost an entire point, and that is with a loss! For a 5-5 or 6-4 team who is on the playoff fringe, those 10 bonus points can be the ultimate factor in them getting into the playoffs and not. It’s not punishing those teams who play a tough schedule anymore, it brings the discussion of strength of schedule into play and puts it into the rating. Teams won’t be begging to do this at all though, it will take some time to see the benefits of playing a top team in the state. One tough game like this is probably enough to have the benefit of playing a game like that. When you add the points up and do the math, there isn’t a whole lot to gain from playing many of those games. Playing one game though, can be all the difference between getting into the playoffs or sitting at home. Solves two problems in one sweep.

This won’t be the end all solution to the scheduling difficulties that we have been seeing around the state the past couple of seasons. There will still be teams not willing to play the top dogs or finding ways to game the rating system, it’s going to happen regardless. There will never be a perfect solution to making sure teams play equal and fair schedules for every team in the state. What I hope it does is allow the top dogs to have 10 games in a season, because when teams only play 9 games, those kids are being robbed. The SSAC should adopt the ratings change, give teams points for playing a tough schedule. They should also find ways to guarantee that teams don’t dodge other teams. Ideas such as playing a regional conference schedule, regardless of classification like what they do in the state of Virginia. That will obviously bring more discussion, but it gets people thinking, and that’s what we need.

TOP 5 WV AAA DEFENSIVE BACKS 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

Kaden Rice (Morgantown) 2019

Griffin Adkins (Cabell Midland) 2019

Josh Kay (Ripley) 2019

 

 

#5 Kerion Martin

Kerion M

School: Capital

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’2/195

Martin has a significant frame to work with and great football instincts.  Also being a great receiver, he has the ability to get takeaways defensively.  He will be looked to as the Cougars try to improve their secondary from last year.  He has all the tools to make that happen- speed, length, and solid tackling.  A potential breakout star in 2018.

 

 

#4 Carlito Carter

Carlito Carter

School: Cabell Midland

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’11/170

A former Black Eagle, Carter had plenty of glimpses of lockdown ability.  He plays lengthier than what he is and has about enough speed to cover anyone in the state.  His run support is spotty but definitely better than most.  Carter’s new role in 2018 could have him shining in a stacked Scarlet Knight secondary and more freedom to make big plays.

 

 

#3 Teddy Marshall

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School: Martinsburg

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’1/170

Marshall takes on the underclassman role of a current dynasty.  He’s a two-way star and will be looked to even more in 2018.  He has awesome hip movement and enough grit to force an edge when needed.  Marshall goes against top competition early and often and his ceiling is very high.  Combine all this with excellent coaching a tried-and-true defensive scheme and you get a stellar player.

 

 

#2 N’iyjere Smith

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School: Hedgesville

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’10/180

Smith is the most explosive defensive back on our list. He’s tightly built and has pretty good athleticism.  He translates all of it though into very intense play which usually wears down his opponents.  Smith could use some technical work but no one can deny his big hit ability.  An underrated playmaker in the panhandle, Smith looks to help cement Hedgesville as an annual playoff contender.

 

 

#1 Grant Harman

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Photo Credits: The Journal

School: Martinsburg

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’11/185

Harman is one of the most decorated players returning in 2018 with two rings and two 1st-Team bids.  He was integral in a dominating Bulldog defense as he has a pure knack for ball hunting at the safety position.  If he isn’t closing on passes, he is also a hard nosed run stopper that plays with great leverages.  His responsbilities will multiply this season with so many new faces, but if anyone can handle it- it’s him.

 

 

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 take on the top returning defensive backs in AA/A!  Let us know who should be in there!

 

Cover Athletes of the 2018 C&CO. Preseason Magazine? YOU DECIDE!

In our biggest project to date, we are attempting to release an incredibly in-depth and high quality high school football preview for the great Mountain State.  Each and every team gets the same amount of spotlight in detail and class.  While we piece together the information for over one hundred schools, we ask our followers to do one thing for us: PICK WHO IS ON THE COVER!  Football is a team sport and with the deep amount of talent in our state it was decided we would pick some of the best teams and three of their star players to be our candidates.  If any player or parent of those under 18 aren’t comfortable with them being a candidate, message us and we will respectfully remove them.  Voting begins today (vote at the very bottom) and will cease the last day of June.  

 

Now, let’s meet the candidates!

 

Bluefield

BluefieldBeavers

Juice Edwards – Deiyantei Powell – Arnold Martin

“Dam Good”

 

Bridgeport

BridgeportIndians

Jake Bowen – Trey Pancake – D’Andre Holloway

“The Forgotten Tribe”

 

Cabell Midland

CabellMidlandKnights

Ivan Vaughn – Logan Osburn – Griffin Adkins

“Fireworks and Motorcycles”

 

Capital

CapitalCougars

Kerry Matin Jr. – Breece Hoff – Kalai Clark

“Speed Skills, Speed Punishes”

 

Fairmont Senior

FairmontSeniorPolarBears

Connor Neal – Zach Frazier – Antonio Parsons

“The Final Step”

 

Hedgesville

HedgesvilleEagles

Malakai Brown – N’iyjhere Smith – Keenan Smoot

“Manhandle the Panhandle”

 

Huntington

HuntingtonHighlanders

Darnell Wright – Max Howell – Bryce Damous

“Hogtown”

 

Hurricane

HurricaneRedskins

JT Cooper – Nathan Roy – Christian Hill

“Seeing Red”

 

John Marshall

JohnMarshallMonarchs

Chas McCool – Justin Frohnapfel – Colby Cubick

“Still No Respect”

 

Martinsburg

MartinsburgBulldogs

Dewayne Grantham – Grant Harman – Jarod Bowie

“Dynasty Dogs”

 

Midland Trail

MidlandTrailPatriots

Cordell Lesher – Hunter Jones – Trevor Harrell

“A Team Down by the River”

 

Mingo Central

MingoCentralMiners

Daylin Goad – Drew Hatfield – Justin Barker

“What’s Next?”

 

Morgantown

MorgantownMohigans

Nick Malone – Ty Konchesky – Kaden Rice

“Last of the Mohigans”

 

Musselman

MusselmanApplemen

Blake Hartman – Tre Beard III – Sebastian Oldham

“Nothing Sweet”

 

Parkersburg

ParkersburgBigReds

Brenton Strange – Tyler Moler – Ryan Creech

“Stranger Things”

Petersburg

PetersburgVikings

Jacob Hartman – Doug Morral – Peyton Sindledecker

“Lurking at Bay”

 

Point Pleasant

PointPleasantBigBlacks

Cason Payne – Josh Wamsley – Gabe Hall

“Pleasant Payne”

 

Robert C. Byrd

RobertCByrdFlyingEagles

Robert Arnold – Xavier Lopez – Jaden Marino

“Reaching for the Throne”

 

Sherman

ShermanTide

JT Hensley – Layne Daniel – Justin Hawkins

“Roll Tide Roll”

 

South Charleston

SouthCharlestonBlackEagles

Zeiqui Lawton – Drew Joseph – Carlito Carter

“South C -> D Fense”

 

Spring ValleySpringValleyTimberwolves

Doug Nester – Owen Chafin – Zach Williamson

“Unfinished Business”

 

University

UniversityHawks

Amir Richardson – Logan Holgorsen – Ben Gribble

“Welcome to the Mountain Top”

 

Wayne

WaynePioneers

Mike Bartram – Johnny Adkins – Tanner Owens

“Pioneers of AA”

 

Weir

WeirRedRiders

Tyler Komorowski – Donovan Kirby – Reed Reitter

“Year of Weir?”

 

Wheeling Central

WheelingCentralCatholicMaroonKnights

Curtis McGhee III – Braden Price – Adam Murray

“In Progress: 2/3”

 

Wheeling Park

WheelingParkPatriots

Jermain Snodgrass – Jack Stakem – Dylan Wood

“Our Island”

 

Winfield

WinfieldGenerals

Nick Vance – John Covert – Jacob Huff

“Ready, Set, Reload”

 

 

 

VOTE NOW

TOP 5 WV AA/A WIDE RECEIVERS 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 Mentions

Jay Poindexter (Nitro) 2019

Reggie Redman (Keyser) 2019

Bronson Skeens (Poca) 2019

 

#5 Josh Wamsley

JW
Photo Credits: My Daily Tribune

School: Point Pleasant

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’8 / 170 lbs

Wamsley comes in at #5 already being the most prolific receiver in Point Pleasant history.  He is,without a doubt, Cason Payne’s favorite target and for very good reason.  He’s smaller in size but makes up for it with excellent route running and deceptive breakaway speed.  Very few dropped balls come from him and he plays with a toughness that defenses absolutely hate.  Wamsley will put up some great numbers come Fall.

 

 

#4 Antonio Parsons

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Photo Credits: Times West Virginian

School: Fairmont Senior

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’9 / 175 lbs

Parsons should be a common name around the state at this point being one of the most clutch receivers in big games.  He’s played in the biggest of the big and always stood out.  His ability to high point passes and make incredible leaping grabs is noteworthy.  He has few flaws in his game and if Connor Neal progresses as he should at QB, Parsons will have a heck of a senior season.

 

 

#3 Reed Reitter

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Photo Credits: The Herald Star

School: Weir

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 205 lbs

Reitter is the biggest pass catcher on the list.  As Weir’s do-it-all guy, Reitter has a heavy load.  Part of that job is using his crazy size to out leverage defenders and make big catches.  He also has the ability to make plays after the catch with good moves and decent speed.  Reitter is a little stiff in the hips but could potentially be a great look for a next level tight end.

 

#2 Drew Hatfield

DHat
Photo Credits: Wes Wilson

School: Mingo Central

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’0 / 180 lbs

Though Miner Mountain lost a legend, they still have an athlete who’s been 1st-Team All-State every year he’s been there.  Hatfield cemented himself as a top receiver years ago as a freshman dicing up secondaries for a state championship run.  Last year, nothing really changed.  He is elusive with decent size and undoubted play-making ability.  He is a very electric athlete and will affect games from multiple positions.

 

 

#1 Braden Price

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School: Wheeling Central

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’0 / 175 lbs

On a Single A squad already crowded with stars, Price could be the brightest.  Though used a lot as a wingback and for runs, Price makes an excellent slot.  He is quick with great hands and the ability to plant his foot and consistently get yards.  We’re big on his overall smoothness and natural technique for the position.  Price rejoins an offense beautifully set up for his success.  The Maroon Knights are loaded, folks.

 

 

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 take on the top returning defensive backs in AAA!  Let us know who should be in there!

Freshman Survival Guide: JUNE BALL

We were all those awkward ninth graders coming up at one point (even if your next door neighbor claims to be 6’4 305 at age eleven).  There’s always that one in the class already built like a grown man and the rest are a mix of lanky kids with no facial hair or butterbean lineman awaiting their six inch growth spurt.  June Ball can be intimidating- it’s your first opportunity to show your on-the-field ability and realize your hardwork or lackthereof in the off-season.

June Ball is also confusing.  While you begin learning the vast array of plays on offense, or run right or run left if you’re Bridgeport, you also have to begin learning the culture of the team.  Knowing when and when not to go hard is important because there’s a fine line between playing hard and playing out of control.  We’ll take you through several pointers to navigate your first June.

ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU DON’T GET IT All coaches are different and some might get annoyed with constant question asking but at the very least, they will recognize you trying to learn.  Most coaches have been doing it for decades, and there is probably no question they haven’t answered before.   It’s better to know what is going on then pretend to in the back.

GET A HOLD OF A PLAYBOOK/PLAYCHART Some coaches don’t give these out- if that’s the case, make your own.  Knowing the plays and schemes is just like lifting weights.  It puts you in a great position for success while giving you the confidence to perform said task.  Try and coach up X’s and O’s with your fellow teammates- it will help you learn it even more and also looks incredibly mature.

ASK WHY YOU DO THINGS SCHEMATICALLY Knowing the plays is one thing- knowing the reason behind adjustments or alignments is another.  Understanding your coach’s philosophy can be instrumental.  This can go past freshman and goes for any player.  Hopefully, the older players already know the strategy regarding their offense and defense.

WATCH THE MAN IN FRONT OF YOU The coach will explain the drill and then you get a free set of examples go before you.  Why would you bother gazing off in the distance then look like an idiot when it’s your time up?  Pay attention.  Pay attention.  Pay attention.  I realize they hand out an ADHD diagnosis like free candy these days but most coaches already have GYFC meaning get your feet chopping.

HUSTLE, HUSTLE, HUSTLE You would figure that this would be instilled in most players but the essence of hardwork can fade if not held accountable.  Hustle doesn’t necessarily mean trying to blow your ACL’s out doing high knees in the warm up but slipping while catching a pass and getting up and sprinting through the drill.  Or, falling during a blocking drill but fighting to get up until that whistle blows.  Are you going stop early in a game?

CONTROLLED DEMOLITION Linebackers playing a little rough on the receivers in pass skelly?  Oh yeah, piss off the wide receivers coach.  Diving for balls and taking out your teammates legs?  Welcome to the liability club.  Coaches love physicality when it’s asked for and even a little when it’s not, but it must be controlled.  Gaining that reputation as a bull in a China shop sticks and it all comes full tilt when you get called up in Oklahoma drill against the senior you cheapshotted.

DON’T BUDDY BUDDY UPPERCLASSMAN Seniors can be the worst when it comes to drills.  You’ll have one set that want you to take it easy on them or else you’re a tryhard or you’ll have the all out balls out that will try and demolish you every rep.  The solution?  Go hard every rep.  If they get mad at you for making them better, so be it.  You did your job and potentially will take their’s.

FINALLY, NUT UP OR SHUT UP Though politics will plague any sport on any level, high school football is your first step into the wild.  Tell your mommy and daddy to stay home.  Most coaches give reps out to anyone willing so there is no one to blame except yourself going through June.  This is your first step in the legacy you’re building- don’t ease up.

 

 

TOP 5 WV AAA WIDE RECEIVERS 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 Mentions

Chance Knox (Capital) 2020

Jake Johnson (Parkersburg) 2019

Michael Boaitey (Martinsburg) 2019

 

 

TIE – #5 Jack Stakem

JStakem
Photo Credits: The Intelligencer

School: Wheeling Park

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’8 / 175 lbs

Stakem heads into his senior year with impressive stats under his belt but without star-QB Cross Wilkinson tossing him the pigskin.  With a lot of new faces on the Patriot offense, Stakem will be looked to as the spark plug that can hit at any time.  Though smaller in size, he has modest hands and the ability to get north fast.  His big play ability will have offenses struggling as he also is a stellar short route runner.

 

 

TIE – #5 Deishawn Harper

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School: Capital

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’10 / 180 lbs

Harper possesses some of the best hip movement in the state.  If he is allowed more than a yard of open space, very few players in the state are tackling him.  Capital has a multitude of tools on their offense so he will receive plenty of opportunities to slash for big plays.  If he can play with more consistency all-around, Harper could have a great senior year.

 

 

#4 Jarod Bowie

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School: Martinsburg

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 5’9 / 170 lbs

Any other year and Bowie comes in at the number one spot.  He’s small but plays similar to that of Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill.  Being a deviant on special teams as well, Bowie has perhaps the best acceleration of anyone in the state.  His plant-and-go is a big reason he became Tyson Bagent’s favorite receiver last year.  Besides his speed, he has a stellar ability to high point balls in the air for his size.

 

 

#3 Brenton Strange

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School: Parkersburg

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 220 lbs

Strange only falls to #3 because he is a tight end playing wide receiver.  Don’t let the rank indicate our feelings- Strange is one of the most college-ready players in the state.  He has unfair length and a good amount of finesse and grace with his route running and catching.  Though lanky, he is also deceptively elusive and has a deep book of tricks.  A for-sure campaign year as he caps off a Parkersburg Hall of Fame career.

 

 

#2 Malakai Brown

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Photo Credits: WVU Wire

School: Hedgesville

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 5’11 / 195 lbs

Once again, any other year and Brown is #1 and even in 2018, we can’t fully say he isn’t.  Brown exploded onto the scene for Hedgesville last season as a sophomore leading the entire country in receiving stats for his grade.  He has almost everything you want in a receiver with an elite ball-tracking instinct, big play-making ability, and moments where you can’t believe he just did that.  We won’t argue those who have him as #1.

 

 

#1 Amir Richardson

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School: University

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’3 / 205 lbs

Richardson comes in as our numero uno because he is a combination of many of the other’s great traits.  He has big play ability, excellent hands and ball-playing, and is very consistent and versatile.  What separates Richardson is he has superb speed and explosion but also a next level frame.  University’s offense might not have his numbers match the others on the list but go watch him for yourself.

 

 

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 take on the top returning wide receivers in AA/A!  Let us know who should be in there!

TAKEAWAY: 304 Elite Camp

On Saturday, the first annual 304 Elite Camp was hosted at Parkersburg High School and went extremely well.  West Virginia specific talent spent much of the hot May day going through positional drills, 1v1s, and many reps of 7v7 with a slew of college coaches in attendance.  Here’s our takeway:

 

A/AA Came to Play

Talking to the camp director, his main goal was to allow smaller school players to compete and show their worth against big school competition.  What we saw were several quarterbacks tossing some stellar balls all day long.

Cason Payne of Point Pleasant was a pure standout possessing size and had a tight spiral while being an uncommon lefty.  Jacob Hartman of Petersburg has one of the most developed frames and skillsets we have seen all off-season.  More unknown QBs, Caden Rohrbrouogh of Lewis County and Austin Isaacs of Midland Trail had coaches talking throughout the day as well.

Sherman High had three standouts alone with linemen Layne Daniel and Justin Hawkins- both with elite size.  JT Hensely scored more than anyone on the day in 7v7 at wide out but is poised to be the quarterback this season.  Poca and Summers County also had great performers in multiple positions.

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Cementing Player Rankings

The much argued linebacker rankings were put to hush for those in attendance.  Jermain Snodgrass of Wheeling Park and Drew Joseph of South Charleston were all over the field and most importantly, stood out in individual and team with excellent angling.  Mike Bartram of Wayne and Luke Jackson of Ravenswood were constistent with good wrap ups and a few forced fumbles.  Brocton Blair of Huntington showed he deserved more in the rankings with superior pass coverage all day long.

The skill players backed us up but also caught our eyes with some new names.  Owen Chafin of Spring Valley showed off his hands multiple times and Curtis McGhee of Wheeling Central and Quisean Gray of Capital gave us a look at their defensive back skills opposed to their known offensive prowless.  Kaden Rice of Morgantown was a player heard of but not seen and stood out greatly at wide receiver alongside Antonio Parsons of Fairmont Senior and defensive back Amari George of Riverside.

Talking hog mollies, Martinsburg’s Brandon Moran, Woodrow Wilson’s Colton Wright, and Capital’s Jonathan Kennedy all had stellar days and backed up their places on our Player Watch.  The same can be said for Midland Trail’s Hunter Jones and Parkersburg’s Ryan Creech.  Dalton Geter of Hurricane caught our eye and found himself as a new addition on the list.

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What’s to Come

As we conversed with the 304 Elite staff, we truly know that these folks have nothing but positive intentions for the youth of West Virginia.  They have a lot of talent and knowledge for the state.  There is a lot of passion here and everyone will continue to see it resignate in upcoming events.

The 2018 304 Elite Camp was incredibly well run with its scheduling and assitance to media, players, coaches, and parents.  It is affordable and all costs went strictly towards covering the event.  Not only that, but there were top tier coaches working the drills with dozens of college coaches in attendance.

We heard that multiple camps would be worked towards hopefully but also adding that they aren’t sticking solely to football.  They are having 304 Elite Basketball Camp coming up soon in July in Charleston with plans to cover and help every sport they can.  These are some great people with awesome visions, and we can’t wait to see them boom!  2018 304 Elite was a big-time success!

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