Well the first week has come and gone and Coalfields&Co. hit a home run on its Fight Card. Both Main Events lived up to the billing. Bluefield seemed outmatched, but this was the Beaver-Graham game, and forced a fumble on the goal line with a minute left. Jeremy Dillon launched a precise hail mary to Dawson Elia with no time left to beat Point Pleasant.
Here’s a speed run through what happened around the state:
- AAAAAAND STILLLL THE AA STAAAAAATE CHAMPS OFFF WV – Mingo Central lived up to the hype as they were basically out played, out hit, and out hustled but found the championship spirit to win the GAME! At the end of the day, big time players make big time plays in big time games, and that is what exactly what happened. Jeremy Dillon and Cason Payne, Mingo and Point’s QBs, combined for nearly 900 yards off offense and ten touchdowns. Dawson Elia, touted Tug Valley transfer, proved his worth with a success on the ground and the epic snag to snap Point Pleasant’s 43-game regular season winning streak.
- Send a Message Game – Riverside had been hyped up and delivered. The Warriors put up over 500 yards of offense against an improved Woodrow Wilson squad. Mark Scites has proven to be a lethal weapon, and this is exactly the start Riverside wanted to build momentum. Well, Coach Davis, it is there. The message has been received.
- Going Nowhere Game – Parkersburg, who looked pretty lackluster in the scrimmages, came out of the gate swinging to let everyone know they are still the Big Reds and should be respected as such. They had a very stiff defense led by all-stater Brenton Strange; it was showcased. St. Albans’ offensive coordinator Scott Tinsley is an offensive guru- holding an offense of his to that score is impressive and speaks volumes.
- Upset Special of the Week – Notre Dame over Pendleton County. Where did these guys come from? Notre Dame’s Ryan LaAsmar could be one of the best in Single A football. He’s tall, athletic, and has a decent arm. He has a huge weapon in Joel Maurer, a gigantic receiver who might be uncoverable on deep routes. Pendleton County isn’t the semifinal team of 2016, but they have good players such as all-around QB Kole Puffenberger. They might not get a high seed, but they are dangerous. Trust us.
- Prove US Wrong Game – At Coalfields and Company we have a motto – If you don’t like our picks and player reports – prove us right or prove us wrong! Midland Trail lived up to the preseason hype. They did both, backing up the hype, then defeating Independence who every writer and followers had picked. Thomas Ferris was consistent on offense and the Trail defense dominated Independence early and often. Independence has a schedule to recover. However, right across the bridge Jordan Dempsey and the Fayetteville Pirates await a very anticipated Battle of the Bridge with Midland Trail.
- Valley Rivalries – Chase Berry stepped in for the injured Chapmanville star QB, Adam Vance, and could not get the job done (though he passed for 189 and two scores). Dylan Smith also performed well, but Sissonville is right back on track to being a top AA contender (watch out for those Weir boys again though). Another valley battle had Hurricane spar with rival Winfield. Curon Cordon proved his worth scoring on an electric return and offensive play where he reversed field. Andrew Huff played well, but turnovers, penalties, and a stout Cooper-Shine Redskin defense were impressive.
- Comeback Kids Game – Huntington, easily. This was a huge comeback against a very good football team in an out of state game. The game did not get started until after 9 o’clock, and man, did the Highlanders put on a show. At one point, they were down three scores. Jadon Hayes showed out. He gathered 150 yards on the ground and five touchdowns as they marched back won by double digits. Billy Seals has a great team- we at Coalfields and Company think they might be the only ones who can touch Martinsburg.
- Hate That We Told You So Games – Morgantown is still good. North Allegheny is just really good and Stuebenville is probably even better. A notable effort by lineman Jaden Wolfley of the Mohigans against some top recruited players. In fight card matchups, Musselman and Williamstown were picked heavily against good teams- both delivered. Musselman’s smash mouth offense with Northcraft, Robertson, and Rine can’t seem to regain the media’s respect, though, after their 2016 loss. Bridgeport also dominated an always good Lewis County.
- Rival Game Drama of the WEEK – Goes to G Dub and South Charleston. DQ Watkins affected the game on both sides of the ball- perhaps, sending a message to us for leaving him off our preseason top player. Grant Wells and his Patriots seemed in control until Trae Murphy, QB of the Black Eagles, blew it open with a late 70+ yard touchdown scramble. Both teams seemed sloppy, a theme we noticed in scrimmages, however, if they polish it up we will see them both go to the second round or further like in 2016.
- Surprising Openers – A slew of teams didn’t just win, but dominated. Shady Spring, who has struggled for traction, whooped on Lincoln County 34-0. Magnolia is returning their former selves after a destructive performance against Parkersburg Catholic (48-0). Pocahontas County and Scott both were dominate as well. Wayne and Parkersburg South also showed new waves of winning where as Jefferson was put down hard, unexpectedly. Ripley and running back Robert Evans also showed promise against Parkersburg South. Same can be said about Montcalm, Hampshire, and Ravenswood- all with good wins.
- Goal Line Stances of the Week – Goes to Buchannan Upshur for a last second win over Princeton, and Pikeview with their version of a goal line stand over a returning playoff team. Give Coach Pedigo of Princeont credit, he had the balls of the week going for the win on a two-point play, the right call, Buch-Up just defended it well. And by gosh, Pikeview is going to make us eat our words as we challenged them to win two games this year. Great start boys. Oh yeah, if you didn’t see on TV, the Bluefield-Graham goal line fumble was bonkers.
- 42-0 and 54-0 – Both half time scores of AAA power, Martinsburg, and A power, St. Mary’s were well ahead at the half. Bagent, Jackson Jr., and Grantham popped off on Loudoun Valley, a good team from Virginia. Even the Bulldogs’ JV held tight with them in the second half backing our humorous honorable mention spot. On the other side of the state, Jaiden Smith tore through poor Ritchie County with four touchdowns and hundreds of offensive yards.
- Losing Streaks Stand and Snap – Poca’s closest game of 2016 and most winnable of 2017 was all for not as Nitro beat them handedly pushing their losing streak to 38. Ahead of them, Clay-Battelle mangled Hundred 48-8 pushing their’s to 39. However, two teams snapped long streaks. Philip Barbour and Oak Hill snapped two streaks that lasted multiple season on Friday. Oak Hill’s was led by a phenomenal performance by Khori Bass with 300 yards of offense and three touchdowns.
- Noteworthy Performances – Kobie Carpenter, Lincoln, went against fellow top QB Heath Cottrill, Braxton County, and came out steadily throwing for 300+ yards and four touchdowns. In out of state battles, the duos of Cabell Midland and Capital were both impressive: Jovaun Light, QB, and Ivan Vaughn, RB of the Knights and Kerry Martin Jr., QB, and Anthony Pittman, WR, of the Cougars. Both lost close games. Jaden Kuroski of East Fairmont scored three different ways (run, catch, pick) while Connor Moore of James Monroe scored four different ways (run, catch, pick, and return).