Bad Weightroom? No Money? 5 Tips for Football Training

You know the ole saying, “All men are created equal.”  However, you rarely hear the “no weightroom is created equal.”  But let us tell you something from endless experience.  We’ve seen poor kids with a raggedy weightroom transform themselves into beasts just as we have seen kids with every resource and a state-of-the-art weightroom not make a single gain.  The truth is that there is no set of equipment or circumstance that can stop someone if they want it enough.  The pride of this state rides on the back of those who aren’t afraid to work.  Let us give away some tips to make the most of your situations and guide your passion in the right direction:


1) Take pride in what you have Say it with me:  This is my weightroom, there are many like it, but this one is mine.   It’s okay to joke about cracked mirrors, bent bars, rusty dumbbells, torn-up benches, but there also must be a level of respect as well.  In the end, your lifting metal.  Who cares what it looks like?  Believe and have a love for what is yours.


2) Learn to eat This is the trickiest one on the list.  There are many kids that struggle to find the amount of food needed to maximize gains economically.  Everyone’s situation is different and must have different solutions.  Our best tip?  Cheap carbs.  One PB&J should use no more than 25 cents worth of ingredients.  Chocolate milk is a powerhouse nectar of greatness.  The situation can be hard but look closer and you might find a plausible solution.


3) Listen to the right people Not saying that a smaller (muscular) person can’t know how to build muscle but if you want to reach a goal- find someone who reached that goal.  We could talk about training philosophies all day long.  Now, trust me, I REALLY do believe your uncle bench pressed 445 in ninth grade but maybe ask your own coach or former next-level players on their training plans.  You have limited resources- be smart about it!



4) Training isn’t everything Many players are guilty of overtraining.  It is a thing and actually can happen VERY easy.  (Check out some signs here.)  If you’re trying to put on weight, spending infinite hours exercises doesn’t necessarily help your case if you can’t eat like a horse.  Also, sleep and proper rest are ONE THIRD of the process.  Overtraining can be the kiss of death for those struggling to eat enough.



5) Intensity is everything Show me your max deadlift, and then tell me if you could do more if your life was on the line.  Intensity doesn’t stop in the weightroom.  Yes, going hard when lifting is very important.  Yet, you must bring that passion to your eating and sleeping.  If you do care enough you will find solutions through trial and error to overcome a bad weightroom or difficult time eating.  We believe in you.  You can really do it.



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

Nick Malone (2019)

Brandon Moran (Martinsburg) 2019

Dylan Wood (Wheeling Park) 2019


TIE – #5 Stephen Perrine

Photo Credits:

School: Huntington

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’2 / 215 lbs

Perrine didn’t get a large amount of off-season recognition, but it definitely wasn’t due to his effort.  He is a little lighter for defensive end but fits into Huntington’s system great.  He’s a menace off the edge and makes a lot of plays solely based on outworking his opposition.  That type of play is integral in dominating defenses.  Look for Perrine to be a leader of the perennial Highlander D.


TIE – #5 John Hicks


School: Hampshire

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’1 / 240 lbs

We’re a big fan of Hicks.  It’s hard to gain stock in the Panhandle if you don’t play for Martinsburg or Musselman, but we were able to catch wind of Hicks.  He has excellent acceleration off the edge and uses his hands to bully offensive tackles.  Perhaps his best skill is making the tackle on the quarterback/runningback in space.  Hicks returns with some other good defensive lineman for the Trojans.



#4 Caydan Keeler


School: Ripley

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’0 / 260 lbs

Keeler is the definition of a run stopper.  With decent height and a very dense build, he is a trip to move for offensive lineman.  He goes up against some of the best in the state week-in and week-out.  Though his strength shines, he has a good motor and speed.  There’s plenty of times he leverages the line of scrimmage correctly and has the hustle to chase down runs.  Keeler is ready for a big time year.


#3 Ben Gribble


School: University

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’0 / 230 lbs

Gribble possesses linebacker-size at defensive end- something we’ve seen out of University in the recent years.  However, regardless of size, Gribble doesn’t rely just on his quick burst but also can bull rush a tackle deep into the backfield.  Getting an edge on him is stressful and can require a change in scheming.  Gribble hopes to continue the University defensive tradition of recent times.


#2 Zeiqui Lawton


School: South Charleston

Year: 2021

HT/WT: 6’1 / 240 lbs

Lawton accomplished many feats as a freshman whilst playing one of the hardest schedules in the state.  A youngin with grown size, the ceiling for him is very high.  His best trait right now is his ability to play the line of scrimmage and stay in position.  There are college players who still cannot keep discipline inside the box.  He also possesses great strength and decent agility.  We’re excited to see his progression.


#1 Kalai Clark


School: Capital

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’1 / 290 lbs

We aren’t sure what is more scary: blocking Clark or the fact that he also plays fullback.  Clark gained attention his early years but still had holes in his game.  This last year, he combined a lot of traits we’ve listed above.  Strength, explosiveness, and discipline within the box.  However, he has these with a near-300 build.  Clark’s only hit is that his motor gets a little inconsistent but for the majority of snaps he plays with a lot of heart.


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 lineman in AA/A!  Let us know who should be in there!

Summer Practice Period From A Coach

Summer Ball is one of those things over the past 15 years that people aren’t really sure has had the intended benefit. It’s been evolving over that time to get to a point where it isn’t completely useless. From a player’s point of view growing up, it wasn’t really that beneficial, at least it felt that way. From a coach’s point of view, it was an incredibly important time for the season. Throughout the years, we’ve seen coaches not really understand how to approach it and now with the teams allowed to use pads in this time period has changed that approach. There has now been a change where teams are going to as many 7 on 7’s they can go to and joint practices are growing more and more every year.


               As a coach, I loved the time period. We never had enough time during the off-season to work with the kids and with the regulations put into place inhibited the majority of any work that could be done. This was our first time to really get out and work, to get some time to actually throw a ball around, sounds really crazy right. I wasn’t terribly focused on 7 on 7 tournaments, they didn’t show a ton of benefit to me. We see teams that will run fake offenses and one defense that they will never run in the season. There are teams that will run those schemes but, in this state, they are far and few. The best tournaments we played at were the ones that had the same philosophy that we had with these tournaments. We found a ton of benefit when going to those.

The schematics during this time period was half essential schemes that we were going to run and the other half experimental. I wanted to make sure that we had our year in and year out base stuff in and worked on. These are the base foundations that everything would be built off of, and we found it a great time to really slow it down and teach it to the players. The experimental stuff was things that we wanted to try and see, try and blow holes into, and see if this would be something that we would want to try in the season. Installing the schematics in this time period was very important, especially those base foundations that we would carry over into the season.


               Being able to coach the fundamentals is essential during this period too. There isn’t enough time in the world to coach the fundamentals of the game but during this slow period during the year, you can really get a chance to coach those techniques. Summer ball typically gave the most time to teach base fundamentals, as when you get into fall camp and the season, your time begins to get cut drastically in what you can fit in for these drills.

The freshman coming up usually have no idea how to practice, where to line up, how to buckle a helmet, understand right from left, and occasionally breathe on their own. Depending on the amount of freshman that would come up, we would break up practice into two different practices. The first practice was freshman and sophomores that would still play Junior Varsity. They would have their own practices, where the schematics was at its bare bones and just having them learn how to practice was the key essential. We would take the second group, which would be the varsity, and move along at a much faster pace.

Enjoy this time period the best you can, at times it can seem miserable and a waste of time, but it’s always a matter of perspective. If you look at it being miserable, it will be miserable, but if you look at it and want to enjoy it, you’ll love it. Keep it fresh, keep it light, and have fun with each and every practice that you have. Go have fun at 7 on 7’s and enjoy being around each other, because it’s going to be a long 6 months for the duration of the season.


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

Nathan Pettus (Bluefield) 2019

Timmy McCabe (Wheeling Central) 2020

Noah Dillon (James Monroe) 2019


#5 Mason Walker



School: Bluefield

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’6 / 275 lbs

No one can deny the talent of Bluefield’s backfield in 2017.  However, much of their insane success came from some talented hogs.  Walker is very unpolished, but that’s actually a compliment because he is already very consistent.  His leveraging would be better under a passing offense, but he still succeeds as being a crusher inside the box.  Walker has an incredibly high ceiling.


#4 Deiyantei Powell

Photo Credits: Marcus Constantino

School: Bluefield

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 250 lbs

Powell came into high regards last year as being another big cog in the Beaver run game.  Sporting awesome hair and being built like a tank, Powell stands out as a lineman- not a very common thing.  His hip thrust is incredible when pulling and driving on blocks.  He should become a touted prospect soon enough if he isn’t already receiving a bulk of offers.


#3 Johnny Adkins



School: Wayne

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 300 lbs

Talk about a true blood hog molly!  Adkins is a big-bellied beast that plays for one of the grittiest schools in the state.  Don’t let his mass trick you into thinking he can’t move.  He has great feet for his size and a great explosion.  His film speaks for itself as being a crushing blocker off the ball.  Adkins stock should rise even further with the predicted success of Wayne.


#2 Jerrad Price


School: Lincoln County

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’3 / 285 lbs

Price missed several games last season which led to a lack of postseason recognition.  We believe he is a top lineman in the state regardless of class.  Price possesses a rare speed in lineman that gives him an X-factor on pulls and getting downfield on blocks.  His mechanics could use work, but he quickly makes up for any lack of technique with a very violent style of play.  He’s fun to watch but not if you’re lined up across from him.  UPDATE: Price transferred to Lincoln County, and we are unsure of his eligibility status.


#1 Zach Frazier


School: Fairmont Senior

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’2 / 265 lbs

The smallest lineman on both AAA and AA/A’s lists.  Frazier proves you don’t need elite size to be an elite lineman.  He is an elite athlete, however, regardless of position.  His tenacity and wrestling-like impact blocking is top tier.  He whipped some of the best defensive lineman in the state last season.  Some could argue he is also the best defensive lineman as well, but we have to share the love a little.  Frazier is fantastic and a surefire star only being a junior.



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 lineman in AAA!  Let us know who should be in there!

8-Man Football Coming to WV?


The WVSSAC is exploring the availability of 8-man football in West Virginia.  The Coalfields and Co. brand has several writers and personnel at their disposal.  Every single member of the staff at the company is 100% in favor of exploring this development.  Football provides a special bond among players and presents an atmosphere at a school such as Homecoming and Friday Night Light experiences that all students should have the opportunity to participate in.

What is 8-man football?  Exactly what it sounds like.  Over 1,500 schools in the United States play this version.  The rules are very much the same considering the basic play elements.  Field sizes vary but the standard is 40-yard width (opposed to 53) and 80-yard length (opposed to 100).  The three missing players tend to be the two offensive tackles alongside a skill position and two defensive backs plus one defensive lineman.  It has found astounding success in regions with small schools.

There are several schools in the state who have small enrollments and are having a tough time providing enough players to field a team (Hundred, Parkersburg Catholic).  Needless to say, there are many small schools that would field a team if presented a viable option to do so (Charleston Catholic, Greater Beckley, Trinity).  8-man football is a growing option in many states.  They have a great following and field some pretty good programs.  The shortened roster sport in some states is a hot ticket.  Many schools that field 8-man teams get a lot of crossover fans who like to see a different brand of football.

With the need for a smaller amount off players to participate, schools could have the ability to field a team and present their school all the benefits of what football brings.  With a smaller number of players participating the cost of fielding a team would be less.  With the smaller numbers participating the need for a large coaching staff and the salaries that it would need to make it fiscally viable would make it doable.  In 8-man football the fields do not have to be changed, and this makes the atmosphere worth examining.

The only negative option we have discussed concerning the evaluation of 8-man football is logistics.  How many teams will participate and how far the travel needed might be is a concern.  However, most of these schools are used to traveling in other sports so that may not be that big of an issue.  However, if there is only six teams participating, is it really worth the full-scale acceptance by the WVSSAC?  Of course, we are in support and say who cares if it’s 8 or 80.  Let those schools get the experiences other larger schools get.

If one of the missions of State Sponsored Sports is to promote participation then we support it.  We support the exploration of other sports as well but that is a discussion for another day.  With so many students struggling in the classroom and discipline issues in schools, why not give them options to participate in a structured atmosphere?  For those who dispute the discipline issues in school- never believe any stat given to you by the WVDE, but that is also another discussion for another day.  Simply put, this is a good idea to explore.

Coalfields and Co. will continue to monitor this development and explore the pros and cons of the issue.  For those who will follow this development, it should be noted that the issue has wheels and has a large amount of support across the state.  With this in mind, don’t be surprised to see 8-man football come in your area.


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

Tristen Bittner (Wheeling Park) 2019

Ryan Creech (Parkersburg) 2019

Jaden Wolfley (Morgantown) 2019


#5 Logan Osburn


School: Cabell Midland

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 285 lbs

Osborne stock rose throughout the back half of the season last year and is now peaking going into his senior year.  Overshadowed by several all-state lineman next to him last year, Osborne is our top rated center coming into to the 2018.  Possessing awesome size, he has flourished inside the run-happy Cabell Midland offense.  Agility is his biggest frame of work, but his role on the interior allows him to still be a shoe-in washer this fall.


#4 Max Howell


School: Huntington

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 265 lbs

Howell has been overlooked repeatedly, even by us.  Partnering an offense with the MSAC leading rusher and #2 player in the country might be to blame.  After watching Howell’s film, he is definitely a top five lineman coming in.  In other classes, probably #1.  His build is his best feature.  Strong longs that can also move.  He’s a devastating blocker off the ball and down the field.  A great talent that has picked several D1 offers thus far and will most likely gather more.


#3 Zach Williamson


School: Spring Valley

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’6 / 275 lbs

Williamson falls in the same boat as Howell as being overshadowed then catching fire in the recruitment game.  Up to over a handful of D1 offers including WVU, Williamson has elite size and potentially great mechanics.  Of the list, Williamson could be considered the most violent with his explosion and relentless drive.  Tagging him with #2 on the list and a returning star-studded backfield, and these Timberwolves might continue their dominant reign.


#2 Doug Nester


School: Spring Valley

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’7 / 315 lbs

It should be come as no surprise Nester comes in at two.  Many could argue he is #1.  Saying Nester is a grown man assumes grown men can do what he does.  Pushing 300, he might be the most athletic lineman on the list.  Group that in with long arms and that Spring Valley grit, it is no wonder he is going to play for the Buckeyes after high school.  He has one more year of domination to go and cement one of the most storied legacies in school history.


#1 Darnell Wright


School: Huntington

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’6 / 275 lbs

Wright has become a national commodity.  There isn’t one school in the entire nation that wouldn’t take him making one of , if not the, most recruited players in state history as some having him at #2 in the US.  His lankiness yet undeniable strength and agility give him elite potential on the next level.  For now, he is responsible for anchoring one of the most consistent cores in the state.  Wright is great to watch mostly due to his high motor that further increases his level of play.


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 offensive lineman in AA/A (combined).  Let us know who should be in there!

Hardest Places to Play: AAA

In this edition we are going to tackle the hardest places to play in the “AAA” class of WV High School Football.   Of course, the consistent skill of the teams play a factor but what makes places truly incredible is when there is a homefield advantage regardless of the Jimmy’s or Joe’s.  We are scoring these on three parameters: Environment (the stadium set up and feel), Atmosphere (the crowd and announcer), and the X-Factor (what makes playing there different than anywhere else).


5. Parkersburg High School

Granted, Parkersburg High’s stadium hasn’t been in the best shape for a couple seasons, as the visitors side bleachers are condemned; never the less, there’s something about the old stone buildings and the giant cemetery that the stadium plays neighbor to. Parkersburg High is one of the oldest schools in the state and has very traditional structures that can give inexperienced visitors a very intimidated feel.  Tag team this with their rich history and lengthy fan base and the advantage becomes evident.  This has allowed several home winning streaks against rivals that span DECADES.

Environment: 4.5/5 (unique set up)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (usual fan base)

X-Factor: 4/5 (unmatched tradition)



4. Morgantown High School

Another one of the oldest schools in the state, Morgantown, has one of the coolest stadiums around. Their unique feature is also the most impactful.  The stadium is set up in a horseshoe with the school wrapping around it. When Mohigan fans pack the stands, the field gets completely surrounded and it is certainly distracting and a feeling of claustrophobia sets in.  Players struggle to stay focused in this venue because not only are they surrounded, but the sound bounces off the school walls making it VERY loud.  There is no place like it.

Environment: 5/5 (Unmatched stadium)

Atmosphere: 3.5 (Fans are magnified)

X-Factor: 4/5 (Cramped field of play)



3. Wheeling Park High School

If you don’t like water, you won’t like Wheeling Island. For those not familiar, Wheeling Island Stadium is home to the Super 6 every year and is very literally, on an island. The recent flooding in Northern WV actually had the stadium underwater in January, but everything should be alright. Surrounded describes Morgantown High well, but is an understatement for Wheeling Island. The stands are built up from around the field and soar 20-30 rows high. The giant concrete stands make it feel like players are gladiators fighting in a coliseum.  The crowd is what makes this place special as they pile in and roar it up.

Environment: 4/5 (Scaling stadium seats)

Atmosphere: 5/5 (Rowdy fans)

X-Factor: 4/5 (THE ISLAND)

wheeling park


2.  Cabell Midland High School

The Scarlet Knights don’t have the same prolonged history of other schools but it does have a combination of historical alumni from the consolidated schools.  Their home bleachers soar while the visitors get to look up at them.  Their players come out in uniform fashion, orchestrate a Samoan war dance, and the crowd is relentless.  Not only that, but they also run out behind a motorcycle and ear-ringing fireworks shoot off after every score and the announcer being not so unbiased. Gaining momentum their is on the verge of impossible.

Environment: 4/5 (Scaling bleachers)

Atmosphere: 5/5 (Top notch announcer and loud fans)

X-Factor: 5/5 (Motorycles, fireworks, and war chants)



  1. Martinsburg High School

Yes, of course the Bulldogs are on top, when are they not?  We aren’t jumping off the train until someone derails them. One thing is always certain, when you enter Martinsburg High’s Stadium, you are property of the Bulldogs for 4 full quarters.  There’s nothing special to the eye when the stadium isn’t packed, and even when it is, you may no sense it as a spectator.  But what makes Martinsburg’s home turf the most intimidating is that they don’t really talk trash, they don’t shoot off fireworks, they stand their calm and collected with an unmatched confidence.  The smaller sized field is a mere trick.  You know, right as the first kickoff goes, that they haven’t lost a home game to a West Virginia team since 2007.

Environment: 4/5 (Eerie feel with banners allure)

Atmosphere: 5/5 (Confident vibe)

X-Factor: 7/5 (They’re plain good)

Photo Credits: Christopher C. Davis


Disagree?  Let us know!  And also, what AA and A schools pose the steepest advantage?