The 2017 Coalfields Pre-Season Rankings showed very few surprises when it came to the top teams in the state. Martinsburg, Mingo Central, and St. Mary’s all topped their respective classes. Now each of these have lost a fair amount of talent, and some a little less than others. It allowed for some debate amongst us on whether or not these teams are really the top teams coming into the season. For AAA, without a doubt Martinsburg is the school we all chose. With a ton of talent coming back and an experienced team coming back, it’s hard not to choose the Bulldogs. Now with Double and Single A, there was more debate. The Miners return the Kennedy Award winner at Quarterback in Jeremy Dillon and that gave them the nod over perennial power Bridgeport. Single A is a little more unique situation, as there are a few teams that we saw that can easily grab the top spot. Another aspect that is unique to Single A that many times there are teams that will go 10-0 or 9-1 and aren’t one of the three best teams in the division. Teams like Cameron, Tucker County, and Doddridge County all have those capabilities but they might need to prove more in the playoffs to solidify them as one of the top teams. St. Mary’s still got that nod in Single A, and will have many teams right on their tail.
Without further to do, here are the Official Pre-Season Rankings from Coalfields and Co.
*Note: We have ranked the overall top 10, then the AAA, AA, and A Top 10
Martinsburg came out way ahead in the preseason rankings, with many returning players off a state title team that dominated the AAA playoffs from the season before. Losing Isaac Brown does hurt a little bit but there is more than enough firepower there for the Bulldogs. Capital came out as the almost unanimous #2 team as they continue to just reload. #3- #8 could have gone in any direction. We could have put them in any order and would’ve been satisfied. You could easily see them beat each other on any night, it made these difficult to pick who came in front of who. South Charleston, Musselman, and GW round out the top 10. GW could slide up into the top 5 in the after the scrimmages due to rumors of a few transfers coming in.
Arguably the most competitive division in West Virginia High School Football for 2017. The debate was if Mingo lost too much from last season’s team to hold onto the #1 spot. We said no, for right now, with Jeremy Dillon, a quarterback who has shown they can win games, big games, by himself and that would put the Miners in good position to take the top spot. The rest of the rankings were really a crap shoot with us making cases for each one of these teams. Bridgeport came in 2nd, and we were all confident on that one. From there on out, it was straight debate till we found a consensus. Fairmont could be ranked higher than 5th as Keyser does return a pretty good squad but there is a trust factor that questions if the Golden Tornado can take that next step. Then the question of Bluefield and Wayne came in, does Bluefield rebound or do they continue their slide? Can Wayne return to dominance or are they still a year away? What about Winfield, Chapmanville, and Sissonville; these teams are a scary match up for most of Double AA but do they have enough to compete with Mingo and Bridgeport?
Finally, Single A, the division where it can be incredibly difficult to predict but pure coaching can be more influential than any level in the state. St. Mary’s returns probably the best player in Single A with Jaiden Smith in the backfield. A team that is always coached very well and finally got over the hump with a ring last season. From that point on, the debate was rather, are we going to rank the best teams or the teams that will end up with the best record? We found compromise with those ideas in our head. Wheeling Central came to number 2, with the new talent coming from Bishop Donahue, and they are believed to have a very good squad this season. Teams like East Hardy and Williamstown have established themselves as perennially Single A contenders. A few teams to look out for this season that could be on track to have a great year are Cameron, South Harrison, and Doddridge County. These teams can easily finish 10-0 or 9-1 but are they able to compete with the perennial powers? We will find out.
Be sure to follow us on our social media pages to keep up with the upcoming season.