The playoffs are getting closer every week. Nerves and pressure can be felt from the stands. C&Co. traveled to feel these emotions in Week Seven. For the first time, the Main Event was a blowout but still spices up the entire division. This has positioned us for perhaps the most intense week of football coming up next week. Enjoy the read of the only statewide review.
Here’s our take on what happened Friday night:
The New #1 Award – A new number one, for the first time in 2017 in any division, has been named. The Bluefield Beavers. After defeating several AAA’s and top-ranked out-of-states, the Beavers dismantled Point Pleasant. In a much anticipated match-up where many thought the Big Blacks would dominate- it wasn’t even close. Mookie Collier continues an amazing season by dicing Point Pleasant up for 172 yards and three touchdowns on EIGHT carries along with big time receiving. That was complimented by 70 yards and three touchdowns by Truck Edwards. The game was never close and Bluefield sent a message 42-13. Justin Brumfield of Point Pleasant did bring his A game though for 192 and both of their touchdowns. Wow.
Bounce Back Boys – Several teams did not start off well and are now really starting to flex their muscles. Curtis James ran for over 100 in an easy win for Doddridge County- their fifth in a row. Pocahontas County dropped a loss to a questionable Richwood team and narrowly beat a bottomfeeder Greenbrier West team- a win is a win. Wheeling Central, after playing a killer schedule, slid past an out-of-state opponent by one which keeps them very much in the mix. Finally, Robert C. Byrd had a solid matchup against a respected Elkins team- coming through late for a 28-24 win.
Humanity Award – Martinsburg. After looking unstoppable in the first half of 2017, Martinsburg faced a fierce Sherando (VA) team. This was a game where the untested Bulldogs had to play from behind. It was a big play game with Martinsburg allowing big strikes after their own scores (one of which was a pick six by defensive end Jalen Hesen) and it stunted momentum with a touchdown late in the second quarter going down 21-14. However, they stuck with DeWayne Grantham, who finished with three scores, including the late tying touchdown. This positioned a Bulldogs stop which led to a well-orchestrated drive to allow Lucas Duffy to hit a 24-yard field with 27 ticks left. They would win 31-28. Now, we know they are human, but we know they can win under pressure as well.
MSAC Drama – The big game of the MSAC this week was Capital and Hurricane with many expecting Hurricane to come out of on top… which they did in the first quarter. However, after that, Kerry Martin Jr. and Quisean Gray ran a steady offense combining for over 300 yards of offense- also an 88-yard blocked field goal touchdown return by Kerrion Martin allowed a dominate, hard-nose win by the Cougars. Interceptions killed St. Albans against a steadily improving GW team behind QB Grant Wells. Parkersburg dealt with a stiff Woodrow Wilson team that had given top teams problems. QB Kam Mace accounted for 350 yards in the 34-8 win. Also, Spring Valley dominated a promising Riverside squad 49-14.
Gimme Some Respect Award – Three teams qualify. With good records, they seem to have faded out of light due to early losses. However, a team like Wayne has crushed its opponents with its only loss to Mingo Central. They beat Herbert Hoover handedly behind the legs of Mike Bartrum and the arm of Jeremiah Milum. Winfield, who lost to Wayne, is also dominating as dual-threat QB Andrew Huff threw four TDs and Zach Bratton ran for three against Poca in a 57-12 crusher. Also, John Marshall possesses a mysterious talent in Dereck Hess who gets more airtime every week. This time they move to 5-2 after defeating Warren Local (OH) 48-6.
Powers Roll – While many scrap for points, some are boasting their will to prove a point. Fairmont Senior arrived in Weirton and didn’t play any games. They quickly shut down the Red Rider offense and ran all over the former top ten team due mostly to Bryson Gilbert who had 123 and five scores. QB Connor Neal also accounted for hundreds of yards and several touchdowns in a 49-20 thrashing. North Marion, with only one loss, was down 34-0 at the half to the very dominant Bridgeport. D’Andre Holloway and Jake Bowen both eclipsed the century mark and Bowen had THREE big time interceptions. Disputed #2 Mingo Central defeated Nitro 52-0 with four early touchdowns from stellar QB Jeremy Dillon.
It’s Gonna Be Close Award – Philip Barbour flexed its muscles on defense scoring three times on takeaways against East Fairmont. They now appear to be picking up steam after a 41-14 win. Braxton County also appears to be surging towards the postseason with a big time win against previously one-loss Nicholas County. Heath Cottrill and Tayton Stout seem to be a very precise combination. We can also mention Lincoln’s explosive offense as being in very much of the mix. Further away, teams such as Chapmanville and Winfield appear to thriving outside the top ten.
#KneeGate – Many criticized our early induction of Morgantown to the top ten, but they had our backs Friday Night. Facing off against a lethal Wheeling Park offense, they limited them to three points. The offense took a while to get going and a game changing play occurred when Ty Konchesky was slung down with the ball though he rolled over the would-be tackler. He got up and ran for a long touchdown. Many have disputed if his knee touched the ground- it is a close call. However, it remained a touchdown and Konchesky finished with 170 and three scores- Wheeling Park never recovered. The game finished 28-3 in a big time W for the Mohigans.
Now That’s What I Call Defense Award – Two teams struggling to gain traction in 2017 went toe-to-toe in Jackson County Friday Night. South Charleston has slowed after a big start- the same can be said for Ripley. In a game featuring multiple drives stall out in the redzone, they found each other sitting 0-0 at halftime. This was oh so familiar to a 7-6 upset years ago by Ripley. Robert Evans and JT Kemp combined for 160+ but could not find the endzone. Finally, during the third, an offense missing several starters due to suspensions, the Black Eagles hit a short pass that went for a 52-yard score on a Barham-Murphy connection. Turnovers ultimately killed Ripley and South Charleston remains in the race.
Should We Worry? – Three teams with previous big wins are now looking questionable in the eyes of the state. University barely escaped St. Albans in overtime and did not handle Hampshire as we expected though Robert Sanders did replace Trevor Barnhart quite well. They’re still 7-0, though, and might be banged up after a tough opening stretch. Mount View dropped a random game to Tolsia and that has hurt their stock. They’re still in it but that was a should-win. And, Oak Hill who began undefeated, lost big time to Princeton who gained over a 400 yards in a blowout win. The Princeton team had been down on their luck in 2017.
Single A Throne – The top five Single A’s in the state won their games in a combined score of 258-44. It’s looking very much like a top heavy race. Jaiden Smith has defended his title as the returning star of Single A- the same can be said for Brett Tharp of the dominant East Hardy program. South Harrison’s Freddy Canary ran for 230 and four touchdowns… in the first quarter and will begin the hardest stretch of any Single A team this year. Madonna’s Donovan Kirby won’t be tested until Wheeling Central here soon- a big turnaround game for them. Finally, Midland Trail’s big win over Liberty (Raleigh) positions them to take on nearby #6 Fayetteville for perhaps the biggest Battle of the Bridge ever. Buckle up folks.
Noteworthy Performances – Lincoln QB Kobie Carpenter helped his team to 559 yards of total offense (351 by him) in a vital win against Grafton. Midland Trail relied on the passing game in a blowout win where Austin Isaacs threw for five touchdown passes. Miles apart from each other, Pikeview’s Hunter Mitchelson totaled 296 and four scores and Devon Sibley of Princeton scored three times for 216 yards. Also in Doddrige’s big win, Tanner Lett threw for four touchdown passes. Mentioned in the winless category, Hundred will continue their nation leading losing streak after having to forfeit due to a lack of players. However, Washington got their first win in a staggering 60-47 shootout against AA Frankfort. What a week!