The week prior we visited a slew of games, however, we settled for two games in person- and they panned out. Coalfields and Company wants schools to prove their picks wrong and many sent the crew a message with a lot of upsets occurring along the way. This upcoming week will mark the halfway mark and its almost time for some positioning to take place in the weekly polls for the playoffs. It’s far too early to worry about the WVSSAC rankings because many teams will bump along the way- after all , Martinsburg and Spring Mills was supposedly a top ten matchup.
Here’s our take on Week Four:
Main Event Award – Cabell Midland and Capital. Oh my, this game was a slugfest. After an absent defensive performance on both sides, Cabell Midland managed to tie it up late 49-49 after conquering a 21-point deficit. On Capital’s drive up the field with almost no time left the Scarlet Knights committed a rarely called pass interference and gave the Cougars an untimed down where QB Kerry Martin Jr. hit WR Anthony Pittman over a group of defenders- he sprinted in for a walk off touchdown. Perhaps both squads have supreme offenses or both might need a lot of work on defense. It was a track meet, and if it went into OT Cabell Midland might have pulled it out. Going into Ona and winning is impressive and will be in the back of everyone’s heads moving forward.
AA Heavyweights – The Fairmont Senior and Bridgeport game. Our top two games lived up to their hype. Bridgeport had this game in their hands and was well on it’s way to the victory as the Polar Bears could rarely stop the Indians from the 20 to 20 but did manage to keep them out of the end zone. A late punt return set up by Bryson Gilbert allowed QB Connor Neal to find WR Antonio Parsons, his favorite WR, to take the lead. After NO ONE picked the Polar Bears, they took off a Bridgeport team we argued for a number one spot. STATEMENT. Down south, Mingo Central, the reigning heavyweight, demolished a promising Sissonville team. Though QB Will Hackney performed decent, the Miners compiled 695 yards of offense and 69 points… jeeze. QB Jeremy Dillon threw for 264 and four scores, RB Dawson Elia has evolved to full form rushing for 295 and four more touchdowns.
The AAA Killer Award – The Bluefield Beavers. They have beaten three straight AAA opponents- they were all lower tier teams, but they were also all on the road and traditional foes. Mookie Collier has defended his top ten player ranking averaging 10+ yards a carry. Jason “Truck” Edwards is also a little thunder to Collier’s lightning on both sides. Also, skill player JJ Davis has impressed on offense and defense. They have the number one SSAC rating and have moved to number three in our rankings. The Beavers have won a state championship in every decade… are they due?
Defend The Rank Award – University. Yes, the giants in the MSAC were battling it out in Ona but the game of the week might just have been up North. In a game boasting several top 25 players, it was full of drama. Both QBs (Wilkinson and Bailey) threw for 200+ yards and three TDs. After a blocked Wheeling Park extra point- University used that momentum to go down the field with time slipping. With three seconds left Phares, kicker of University, hit a 32 yarder to win 37-34. University moves to 4-0 and Wheeling Park goes to 2-2 with two close losses to two great teams. The battle for the North is far from over and Morgantown seems primed for competition after destroying Brooke and the return of Logan Holgorsen. This is going to be interesting.
#ANEWSTREAK – One week after their first win in years, the Poca Dots grabbed a second W. This time against Logan. It’s remarkable and every player on that team should be immensely proud. Losing is contagious, and it becomes the easy way out. It seems they have turned the tide and will look for a third win. Great news, and we’ll always be a fan of the Dot. They do have some tough Cardinal opponents upcoming- however, we believe #ANEWSTREAK is coming.
Not So Fast Award – Goes to Keyser and Weir. No writer was willing to bet on a Golden Tornado team that was blown out a week prior. The followers felt otherwise. After Tyler Komorowski and Tyler Mack ran wild, Keyser gameplanned exactly for that and won the battle up front. Weir had the lead though off big plays from Sebastian Spencer and Reed Reitter. However, a blocked XP and failed conversions had them sitting at 18. Keyser’s more consistent run game led by QB Brady Ours and RB Christian Ravenscroft, 189 yards, would seal the deal late. We knew both teams were good and Keyser showed a lot mojo being able to bounce back. We see both as contenders still.
Big Program Win Game – Goes to the South Harrison Hawks with their win over the Steubenville Catholic boys. It seems like every single A we hyped up have delivered. An impressive 48-14 win. We haven’t seen them against a big name in-state opponent but we look forward to the matchup. RB Freddy Canary, the fastest player in WV, has proven to be unstoppable and his partners in crime running backs Barnett and McFadden are also talented. South Harrison is dangerous.
Be Careful Now Games – Goes to Fayetteville over Meadow Bridge and Huntington over the Big Reds from Parkersburg. RB Jordan Dempsey didn’t blow out Meadow Bridge as we predicted which makes Midland Trail’s previous thumping more impressive. Huntington let Parkersburg hang around longer than they would’ve liked, thanks in part to QB Kam Mace and Brenton Strange. However, the Highlander still compiled 570 yards of offense- a lot from star RB Jadon Hayes and WR Mikal Dawson. They did not perform as wanted and will need to get their identity in check before they meet up with Capital next week.
Not-So-Top Tens – The Martinsburg and Spring Mills game was supposedly a top ten machup. It was over in the first quarter and the Bulldogs continue to build momentum for the rest of the year. It is just a reminder that the ratings haven’t polished out yet. Spring Mills has nothing to hang their heads about, the Bulldogs will leave a wide path of destruction through the panhandle this year. Several other teams hanging around the top ten that we were dismantled and put down: Riverside, Ripley, Elkins, Clay-Battelle, and a Pocahontas County team that couldn’t even hang around East Hardy.
The Unbeatens of Old and New – Much has been said on East Hardy, Fayetteville, Midland Trail, Webster County, and South Harrison. We can not begin to forget about St. Marys. The reigning champs haven’t been tested yet. Jaiden Smith is on pace for a record breaking year- compiling 266 yards and four touchdowns against Marietta (OH). In the panhandle, RB Donovan Kirby rushed for 207 and also four scores in a blowout victory against Bealsville (OH)- moving Madonna to 4-0. The Blue Dons seem to have turned the switch on their program. Finally, Cameron is dominate and looking to perform better in the postseason. Look out for this team, their QB Colby Brown is tall, fast and has a solid arm. Three different spots, some old some new, but all are on a crash course with the powers of Single A.
Making It Interesting Award – Wayne gets this one. It seems as if once we forget about a team, they make a statement. We had finally allowed Winfield back in the top ten and the Pioneers had something to say. The Generals’ Andrew Huff and Nick Vance had rushed for a hundreds of yards in previous games, however, Wayne dominated this game after the second quarter. By controlling the clock with a solid run game led by Jeremiah Milum who finished with four touchdowns (one pick six) and also creating turnovers when Winfield began driving (three interceptions). AA is a headache to predict. Wayne could be a team with a lower seeding due to the mass amount of teams in AA but with a defense like that, they could be trouble.
Instant Classic Award – Two Coalfield region rivals butted heads Friday Night in Sophia, WV. Independence and Shady Spring isn’t a statewide known rivalry, but it definitely gets rowdy. Independence, who hasn’t started out great, hosted a Shady Spring team which has exceeded expectations thus far. It was a defensive showdown. Though both teams lingered into each other’s redzones, five total turnovers held both 0-0 at halftime. In the fourth, a big run let the Patriots knock on Shady’s door. However, a goal line stand ensued. 3-0. The Tigers didn’t fault and marched down the field capped by a 15-yard run by Tyler Bragg (finished with 89) and gave them a 6-3 lead with minutes remaining. Their defense held up and Shady Spring walked out victorious. A great game where Shady Spring is looking their best in years and Independence continues to slip.
The Land of AA – We hit on the top teams and their domination. Mingo, Fairmont, and Bluefield sit unbeaten and rarely challenged. Bridgeport, James Monroe, and Point Pleasant dominate and have only lost to top teams. Weir and Keyser are neck and neck. Then, there’s the rest… three additional unbeatens linger in the top ten/honorable mentions: Oak Hill, Nicholas County, and Liberty (Harrison). Oak Hill hasn’t played a quality AA opponent yet, but that shouldn’t take away from Khori Bass- a horse of a runner. Nicholas County will rely on their stingy defense once again and we’ll have to wait to see them tested (most notably Fayetteville coming up). Liberty (Harrison) knocked off a hot Philip Barbour team behind two dynamite running backs. The North Central possesses three talented QBs who have the firepower to give any team a run: Heath Cottrill of Braxton County, Kobie Carpenter of Lincoln, and Dalton Malcolmb of North Marion. The 2017 playoffs might be competitive from head to toe.
In a losing effort to Lincoln, WR of Buckhannon-Upshur Drew Heatherly caught 3 passes for 166 yards and two scores. Ahmed Ali, kicker for Parkersburg South, had three field goals (one being 49 yards) in their win over Princeton. Jayden Rhodes of Ravenswood ran for 232 and put the game on ice with a late score. Lincoln County could not slow Brady Grant of Van as he ran for 198 and two scores. Nathan Roy of Hurricane threw for 195 and three touchdowns in a scary game that they almost lost. On the defensive side of the ball, Madonna recorded 11 sacks- four of which were done by Derrick Cooks. In a game where the lights of the stadium literally went out for a time, Pikeview’s up-and-coming duo of Hunter Mitchelson and Evan Rose combined for 200+ to almost upset James Monroe who was saved by Connor Moore who had everything: yards, scores, and a game icing pick. What a week of ball!
Feature Image Photo Credits: http://www.TheET.com