The Best High School Football Team in WV History? PART THREE

Eight teams remain in the race for the greatest team to ever grace a West Virginian high school field.  Round one saw some upsets (or if they really qualify for) and some incredibly close games.  Round two will crown the best from each era.  Once again, the stats have been analyzed- taking into account every variable we can think of… then we simulate a realistic happening between this ultimate squads.  Here is what we have:

 

BRONZE

’65 Bluefield vs ’73 East Bank

One week removed from their previous wins, and both teams are beaten up.  Preparing to go down the hardest stretch of games ever played in West Virginia, East Bank is ready to take on the other greatest Bluefield team ever in another Gainer-Arthur coaching matchup.

The styles are the same but this Beaver team has a much stouter defense and also an X-factor in young runner Pete Wood.  With the Beavers taking the ball first, they would try to run Wood toe-to-toe with Geiger.  This would work for one first down- but that was it.

East Bank would attempt to show them how Pioneers run the ball, but they too would go one and done.  This theme held true for the first quarter and a half as neither team crossed the fifty.  Only up until a big Beaver pass by John Land had a busted play push them into the redzone.  However, two TFL’s by Don Payne set the ball back and allowed Bluefield to miss their field goal heading into the half.

The second half would appear to be taking a much different route as Claude Geiger got rolling down the field.  Three consecutive 10+ yard runs had the Pioneers sitting steady enough to squeak in a field goal when the Beaver defense clamped down.  3-0 East Bank.

Bluefield owned the next three drives but got nothing out of them.  Though Tim Sarver pushed the ball down the field twice, no points were gained.  And a forced three-and-out followed by another long but non-scoring drive allowed East Bank to have the game with the clock ticking.  Geiger horsed two first downs to the ice the game and take it home for the Pioneers.  The now champs of the Bronze Era.

’65 Bluefield (0) ’73 East Bank (3)

73East Bank 2

 

 

SILVER

’79 Bridgeport vs ’87 Winfield

Winfield stands alone in being the only non-AAA team in the field.  However, it is deserving.  Their blowout win gave them a little better rest than Bridgeport intense overtime win over Charleston.  But Core Field isn’t Bridgeport Atheltic Field, and the Tigers aren’t the Indians.

The foot behind was obvious from the get-go.  Winfield did belong on the field but Bridgeport owned it.  The Indians superior line play allowed for an early breakaway TD by Charlie Fest.  Winfield crushed for every yard but eventually gave the ball back over.  This time, it was a designed QB run by Bobby Marra that caught the Generals on their heels- allowing for another Indian touchdown into the second.

Right as it seemed coach Leon McCoy and his squad was outmatched, they put together an impressive drive pulling out everything in the playbook.  They relied heavily on wideout Brent Wells to outmatch the Indian secondary.  Sure enough, it allowed for a late half march into the redzone and a QB sneak to make it 14-7.

Winfield’s opening second half drive had the same promise until Brad Minetree put an end to Wells dominant day with a lunging interception.  The roaring Bridgeport stands fired up that stout O-Line and big runs from Fest, Marra, and Burner followed the next two drives- pushing it to 28-7.

The General’s had never been in the position of being behind.  Their typical dominance did not prepare for such adversity and the Indians did what they did what best.  Stop the offense, run the ball, and milk the clock.  All the way to being crowned winners of the Silver Era.

’79 Bridgeport (28) ’87 Winfield (7)

79Bport2

 

 

GOLD

’89 Capital vs ’93 DuPont

Perhaps the most anticipated matchup of the tournament so far.  The highest projected winner of the tournament vs a one-loss team that many argued shouldn’t even be considered.  This type of animosity set a violent tone heading into the game at Laidley Field.  Even the fans were getting at in pregame.

Even with the tension and packed stands, it’s always football after that first kickoff.  Capital deferred and wanted to test out the star-studded.  Wish and receive.  Though the loaded Capital D-Line owned DuPont’s front, Bobby Howard still managed to keep falling forward.  This culminated in a tone setting opening touchdown drive.

Capital was not ready to flinch.  They showed that they too could run the ball and scored in half the time.  Coach Roger Jefferson’s decision to send multiple blockers at Howard seemed to work.  The quick drive forced DuPont to score fast too but a bad pass deep to Randy Moss was undercut by Will King and returned deep.

King doubled up for the second quarter and made that takeaway a score and the first lead of the day for Capital.  Coach Dick Whitman went back to what worked and pounded Howard down for a DuPont field late.  Capital would complete a series of passes that allowed timeless field goal to keep it 17-10 at the half.

The unforgiving Cougars would march down the field again to start the third with 24-10 lead.  However, their confidence was overdone with a kick to Moss- who took it up the middle at lightspeed to bring it back to within a score.  Whitman’s defensive adjustment allowed a key stop and a chance for Howard to run them back in the game.  Cougar lineman Joel Chapman began taking over the line of scrimmage.

The fourth played mainly around midfield with neither team pushing very deep into the other territories.  As the impatience grew, several turnovers were forced by Capital as they kept trying to hit Moss deep.  Eventually, one did strike late allowing a quick field goal bringing it to 24-20.  The game culminated in a 4th and 2 on DuPont’s 45 with a minute left.  Jefferson stuck to his gun and ran King up the middle for the game sealing first down and the best of Gold Era.

’89 Capital (24) ’93 DuPont (20)

 

 

PLATINUM

’11 Martinsburg vs ’16 Martinsburg

A true paradox of time as teams not only coached by the same coach, also having very similarly designed teams.  The originators of the dynasty versus the prodigies.  The home crowd found themselves profoundly confused on who exactly to cheer for.  Regardless, the electricity of Martinsburg was there as always.

Getting the ball to start their run was the elder of the Martinsburg teams. In a case of showing a type of older brotherly love, they ran it down the pipe constantly.  Though Trey Henry and Jalen Hesen of the defensive line held tight, the constant slamming of Justin Arndt pushed them down the field.  As the pressure mounted, a well-timed shotgun PA was called allowing quarterback Brandon Ashenfelter to drop a dime for the first score of the game.

Feeling confident, the older Bulldogs took the spot on defense.  What they didn’t expect was a bomb down the field to start the game.  And it worked.  Tyson Bagent nailed Isaac Brown on the run for a game tying score just like that.  Following up, the ’16 Bulldogs had a very good defensive drive.  Tavis Lee finally got the better of lineman Eugene Germain for a sack and punt.

The young gun Bulldogs elected to tag team runners Mikey Jackson Jr. and Dewayne Grantham down the field resulting in a field goal.  The past drives were almost identically repeated going into the half with another unsuccessful ’11 offensive drive and another ’16 field goal putting it at 13-7.

Feeling the moment, Bagent put together a string of solid passes that stretched out the middle of the field moving linebacker Logan Jenkins out of position as much as possible.  The well-called drive was capped by a Grantham run in.  As the ’11 Martinsburg gripped down, the pressure seeped in, and though after a tough run with several broken tackles, Ashenfelter coughed up the pigskin giving the prodigies full control into the fourth.

The more experienced version of coach David Walker attempted to take the clock out while getting a score.  However, it was derailed by an awesome strip and recovery by Arndt.  With under 5:00, Cedric Brown got the better of secondary for a deep score putting the game back in reach 20-14.  Follow that up with a 3-and-out, several dime passes by Ashenfelter, and the game came down to a ticking clock on the ten-yard line.

With no time for timeouts, the proper coverage was called allowing for safety Grant Harman to sniff out the playcall and making a leaping interception to win the game for the younger Bulldogs.  And just like that, the hype all seemed very much real as the ’16 Bulldogs were crowned winners of the Platinum Era.

’11 Martinsburg (14) ’16 Martinsburg (20)

16 Mburg

 

 

As our project winds down, we would like to make it a little more interesting going forward.  We are electing to pit the ’73 East Bank against the ’16 Martinsburg for a true test of generations.  One half simulated with 70’s rules and the other with modern.  

 

 

Winter has Broken

This was always one of my favorite time periods in the year as a player. The winter months of January, February, and March were always a grind. Those three months were always used to build mass and strength. The hours were always dark, the weights were heavy, and while it was the backbone of the off-season; it could get old over time. There just comes a point where it’s time to get back outside and start to move around again. April is that month were you can start getting back out of that turf and getting after it.

You almost always start to feel a little overweight, fleshy. April and May was the months were you could come back and start to chisel back up again, to get that built up fat that is covering your muscles cut back down again. Also, the feeling of not passing out because you are finally starting to get back into shape is one of the better ones after not running for a long time and struggling through 6 110’s. It’s the best time of year to start getting your body back into physical shape, to cut down the fat, and be able to really move in open spaces.

This is where you can start getting you body into physical shape for the May Camps, Summer Ball, and then into August Camp. You need to have a plan in this time of year because your training is going to change. You shouldn’t just jump right into a different routine, you’ll lose some of those gains that you made during the winter months. Being able make more gains in April and May, while making yourself quicker and leaner is the ultimate goal that you are looking to do in this time period.

Some tips for April/May:

  • Understand your Diet: Cut out the fast food, cut out the unneeded starches. Continue eating the proper carbs and protein. Even choosing water over Gatorade is a move you can make to get yourself leaner and faster.
  • Start with the feet: Be able to get outside and moving will get you into shape. This is a great time to use the weather and get onto the field so you can start moving in bigger spaces. Just doing this alone will start to get you into shape.
  • Start light with running: There’s a difference between running for a time and getting into shape. You probably have been running for time but not literal getting your body into condition. Start light and slow, each week, add a little more to your plate. Improve the intensity and duration. By the time June hits, you’ll be in decent shape and be ready for you to get into summer conditioning.
  • Never Skip on the Weights: You need to continue lifting hard and heavy. Your body will adapt to the new routine, but never stop trying to get strong. You might not feel that it is possible to do, but it is, starts with your diet and your mindset.

 

Things for you to do in Spring that will help you and your team.

  • Start doing football drills: Get a list of drills and work your fundamentals. You have the weather on your side now, use it to your advantage.
  • Skelly/Group Drills: Start competing. Organize 7 on 7’s, 1 on 1’s. A. They’re fun, B. they’re going to make you a better player. It’ll make your team better, it gets you playing the game of football. You need to work on those skills against competition, this is where you can do it.
  • Worry about your Senior Year: Don’t worry about what camps your going to or who is recruiting you. Worry about the season that you are about to go through. Everything else will take care of itself in due time but don’t allow the recruiting process to take away your focus on the season.

 

Those are small, minuscule things that you can do that can help you improve your game, and get yourself ready for the June circuit. Always take an opportunity to make yourself better and your team better. Being able to get outside and away from the snow is a blessing for us all, and we shouldn’t allow an opportunity to pass.

Combines: Hurt or Help?

The High School Football Combine era has taken a full spin in recent years.  When the original combines evolved many years ago it was an excellent way for players to get good feedback and get serious exposure.  Originally, the Division I coaches was allowed to participate.  This was an excellent way for many players to get recruited.  Players from every small town to every inner city would come out and show their skills.  The prices were held to a minimum and participation skyrocketed.

 

Once people saw how many players were coming to the combines and the possibility of money being made changed the landscape.  Then the NCAA decided to ban Division I coaches from participating and the landscape of combines in the USA mass produced.  Many of the combines were nothing more than money makers.  Almost all the combines were scams. Players were  being told that multiple colleges were being fed their results.  Yes, they emailed some G.A. at the local college the scores, but trust me, nobody payed any attention.

 

However, in the last few years, several of the legit combines have survived and giving players exactly what they were looking for.  So, with this in mind, do combines help or hurt you in your recruiting process?  So, let’s look at the variables.

 

Combines basically do two very basic things! #1 they can prove you can play at a high level athletically.  #2 they can prove you cannot play athletically.  How can it prove you cannot play?  If you go to a combine and do not produce then it is on paper, you can’t go back and change it.  You may go to another one and get a better score but guess what – your score is on paper.  If you are a running back and go to a combine and drop a 4.85 40 then you sealed your fate.  Nobody is going to see a 4.85 and decide to start recruiting you.

 

Defensive Lineman are running that time these days.  There are so many arrogant players and parents who truly believe they can be the best thing in history at the local school and not train for the combines and just show up and land a scholly just because you’re the man.  Parents are worse than the players in this.  Many players know their level and their skill but somebody told their parents they were great and they signed up for every combine on the coat.

 

How can they help?  First it is a competition with yourself.  You go to a combine after a year of hard work and then you can see how you compare to the other players in the country.  That is a very good way to look at combines.  A challenge and an opportunity to compete with the best in the country.  However, the secret is you trained for it.  Listen to your coach.  We have news for you: they will call your high school coach first.  You can hire every speed and position expert in the country but believe it, they will call your coach first.  There are zero problems having extra help from experts but always lift with the team first and have the personal trainer work on the little thing that cannot be accomplished by the high school coach.  Either way listen to those who know and have done it and train before you go.

 

Several indicators give a good perspective more than others.  For instance, the 40 time is great but it’s not the end all in the process.  In saying that you better be in the perimeters in your position though.  Vertical Jump is an indicator on explosiveness.  The shuttle drill and L drill are good indicators of quickness and speed burst.  Several of those type drills need to be worked on before you go to a combine.  Even though your strength level should be improved, most college coaches know they can improve that tremendously upon arrival.

 

 

The next stage in the combine will be one on one work.  If you have not trained and go to a combine, this is where it will show the most.  WR’s not primed for this will be jammed up and DB’s not primed will get exposed in coverage.  LB’s who haven’t practice will be tasked with covering backs out of the backfield (hard to win even for the best) or big tight ends.  O-Lineman with sloppy feet will be exposed immediately and D-Lineman with no strength will get eaten up if their speed doesn’t come through.

 

So, as you see these two things are going to happen, #1 prove you can play and #2 prove you cannot play.  It is entirely up to you.  Use the data in a responsible way and be honest with yourself.  Take the data and go back to work and improve the scores.   Then begin the process of getting better.  Always look for ways to become better.  The players that become satisfied get passed up.  The ones who do not work hard will eventually phase out.

 

So here are the 5 keys things to do for the Combine in High School:

 

  1. Research and see if it is legit. Ask your high school coach, he knows the truth.  Be careful to ask some trainers because they are paid by the combines to get you there.

 

  1. Research and see what tests are going to be applied. Then work on those drills prior to going so you have a comfort zone on what you’re going to be tested on.  Never just show up.

 

  1. Always get tested in the 40 or 20 dashes electronically prior to going to the combine. Your track or speed coach should have one.  Never use the hand-held score as your go to on this.  You will be surprised in the difference on hand held and electronic times.

 

  1. Work your craft. Work on position specific drills prior to going.  It is legal in every state to go out and work with your fellow team mates or position coaches.  Just ask for help.

 

  1. It is all about academics in the first place so you can be the best player on God’s green earth but if your grades don’t match then you’re the next guy on the corner telling everybody how good you were.

We need to have a talk

There’s a problem that is growing in sports. One that isn’t hitting you in the face quite yet, but the road is being paved and we really need to have a talk about it. Over the past decade, the number of referees participating in sporting events have fallen off drastically. Quite frankly, I can’t blame them. The way that referees are treated is disgusting. The lack of respect from coaches, players, and parents is ridiculous and using the old adage that it’s part of the game is a stupid comment to use.

What job, much less a job that people volunteer to do, has a reputation where you are allowed to ridicule and come at these people for simply trying to do their job? How would you feel if someone came into your workplace everyday and criticized you on every little move you made, how you looked, how you worked? You probably wouldn’t like it. The thing about it is that refereeing is incredibly difficult and not an easy job to do at all. Most calls are judgement calls, and with the pace of games these days can become very difficult very fast. Just go out one time, I ask you, and referee any game. Whether that is a pickup game or an official game, and you’ll begin to understand the job at hand.

The issue going on is that one day, there will be a massive shortage on referees. The college and professional ranks will probably not feel it but down in the grassroots programs, it’s going to come very quick. Why are we trying to run out anyone who is doing these jobs? The quality of refereeing will not only continue to decline but with time, the older people will stop giving their time. There are not enough referees coming back into the fold to off-set the losses that we are seeing. I have a feeling there will be a time where we will see that games will get postponed or cancelled because there simply aren’t enough referees to do those games.

It’s simply a matter of respect. There is a lack of respect for the referees and the jobs that they do. It’s a lack of respect from the parents, the coaches, the fans, and the players. It literally needs to change very soon, or we won’t have anyone to referee these games. We need to get ahead of this issue now. We need to start teaching the young players that they need to respect the officials and treat them as their word is good. Even if they are wrong or even if you don’t agree with it, you need to respect them.

Parents in the stands. Stay quiet. Give your child a role model that you would be proud of. If you are acting like an idiot in the stands, what does that tell your child about how they should act like it public. Learn to control yourself and treat others with respect. Stop looking at it as part of the game and start understanding that there is a major issue growing and if it’s not corrected soon we will all start to pay for those actions.

Being a referee could be an excellent side job for those who are struggling with money. Not only will you get to stay involved around sports, but you get to be apart of the event as well. Being a referee gives a lot of benefits, we just need to start getting rid of the negatives. With the way the world is right now, that may be tough at first but if we start understanding that there will be a problem one, we can get ahead of it and help our sports out in the state.

The Best High School Football Team in WV History? PART TWO

The sixteen teams have been introduced.  Four eras, stretching from 1962-2016, all with an equal shot to be proclaimed the greatest team in state history.  Each matchup was analyzed, voted on (by the staff and the public), and a realistic winne was chosen. For now, every matchup is within its own era so things such as equipment, surfaces, rules, and schemes (things we are all taking into account) do not need adjustment.  Without anymore talk, here’s Round One:

 

 

BRONZE

’62 Bluefield vs ’73 East Bank

Mitchell Stadium would be packed endzone to endzone.  Their Beavers, coming off the best season in school history, were set to face a similarly built opponent- the Pioneers of East Bank.  Both led by emerging legends as coaches: Merrill Gainer and Don Arthur, respectively and both are known for their stout defense and powerful run game.

The Beavers’ gameplan would be simple.  Out hit and out last this talented East Bank team.  The first quarter would see both do this.  Run after run after run after run.  Both teams would gain one or two first downs but nothing further.

Halfway through the second, still scoreless, Beaver quarterback John Land would toss up a promising pass only for the receiver to cough it up resulting in a recovery by Pioneer Don Payne.  This was the momentum needed for the Pioneers to ride their horse, Claude Geiger, straight down the field to take the 7-0 lead right at the half.

Gainer abandoned anything but their usual crash course of success.  Running backs Tim Sarver and Dusty Lotito would alternate carries back and forth down the field for a game tying touchdown.  Even though this chunked up the third, Geiger would break free next drive for a 76-yard score.

The fourth was intense being within one score.  Both defenses were ferocious.  However, only one drive even made it past the fifty resulting in a missed fourth-down conversion.  The Pioneers would use Geiger to milk the clock and score a late field going up 17-7 with minutes left.  That is how it would remain as the Pioneers stepped away with an impressive first round victory and still alive as the best team in state history.

’62 Bluefield (7) ’73 East Bank (17) 

73EB

 

’65 Bluefield vs ’69 Charleston

Mitchell Stadium prepared for its second hosting as an elder team in the tournament.  Their team was similar- amazing defense and led by an even more experienced Merrill Gainer.  Their ’65 season shocked a lot of people, even themselves, and this was not the case as they suited up against a Charleston team primed in the middle of a three-peat.

The Mountain Lions had a much faster pace offense behind Kennedy Award quarterback Rick Hurt.  Coach Frank Vincent took this difference in styles into mind on the first three drives but had zero luck in the first against the Bluefield defense.

Though the Beavers struggled size-wise to handle Mountain Lion lineman Rick Katzeff, they elected to run away from him.  Johnny Wright and Johnny Beckett in the unbalanced Wing T offset Katzeff’s dominance and scored on back-to-back drives in the second.

The Mountain Lion drought lasted all the way to the fourth.  Gainer utilized sophomore Pete Wood to run the clock and punch in yet another touchdown plus 2-point conversion- stretching it to 22-7.  With minutes left, Hurt had his first successful drive tucking and running for a 44-yard scamper.  Though they recovered the ensuing onside kick, they ran out of time.  The Beavers get one through to the next round.

’65 Bluefield (22) ’69 Charleston (7)

 

 

SILVER

’79 Bridgeport vs ’88 Charleston

Bridgeport Athletic Field was ready to host hopefully Charleston High’s truly last game ever.  This battle of legends pitted Wayne Jamison vs Roger Jefferson.  An age old school vs the final season of a legendary program.  Throw out all the records.

Charleston brought a higher level of energy to the field.  Quarterback Will King seemed to rise to the occasion again with a multitude of broken runs leading for a tone-setting first drive.  Bridgeport played tough but lost the line of scrimmage early.  Mountain Lion Jerome Dean pushed it in early 7-0.

The Indians replied with an uncharacteristic three and out due to two TFL’s by Carl Bruer.  Charleston’s next drive drove down just as fast but ended in a field goal.  Indian quarterback Bobby Marra stepped up through the second but on their best drive yet, was sacked from behind by Todd Robinson resulting in a turnover attempting their first pass.

Another broken scramble by King gave the Mountain Lions a field goal and 13-0 lead at the half.  Jamison’s runners kept character.  Big runs by Charlie Fest resulted in a long scoring drive drawing it to 13-7.  For the first time, the Indians halted Jefferson’s offense.  After pounding runs by Fest, a play action pass to Brad Minetree tied the game up with half the forth left.  However, the extra point was blocked.

Both teams had chances to win but the defenses stepped up.  The game headed to overtime where back-to-back three and outs came- resulting in two fields.  The second overtime was started by Charleston and ended quickly with a bobbled run and fumble.  Bridegport took the momentum and used their relentless run game to punch it in for the victory.  The Indians would move onto the second round.

’79 Bridgeport (22) ’88 Charleston (16) 2OT

79Bport

 

’81 Sistersville vs ’87 Winfield

The energy at Core Field was electric.  The Sistersville Tigers were just beginning to build up steam behind dynasty-building Lou Nocida.  However, their foe would be a deadly one coming off a record-breaking performance in the state championship.

The Winfield Generals were dominant from the get go.  They drove directly down the field for a score 7-0.  The Sistersville’s line could handle the Generals and had little success.  After a punt, General receiver Brent Wells caught a curl and took it sixty-three yards for another score.

Nocida elected to slow the game down and pounded safe runs with Brian Swisher.  Though it slowed down, no points came of it.  In the second, Sistersville handled the difference better but though holding it 14-0, General linebacker John Brown stripped and scored with seconds remaining making it 21-0.

The Tigers seemed mostly defeated in the second and still relied heavily on Swisher for their offense.  Coach Leon McCoy let them burn clock and banked on the drives to stall- which they did.  Winfield would ice the half with a seven minute drive topped off with another score.

A late big run by Swisher closed the gap to 28-7 and several TFL’s gave Sistersville hope late on.  It was too little too late, and the came back never happened.  Leon McCoy and his Generals would still be in the running as the best ever.

’81 Sistersville (7) ’87 Winfield (28)

 

 

GOLD

’89 Capital vs ’94 Ceredo-Kenova

The Wonders of Ceredo-Kenova would be ready to take on the tall task of the first year Capital Cougars.  Though nobody on their schedule was on that level.

The opening kickoff made this evident as Cougar Eric Smedley took it right up the gut and back for Capital score.  The momentum carried as Wonder RB Bub Taylor failed to get a first on three carries.

Roger Jefferson’s offense clicked just like the other two sides.  QB Will King tucked and ran several times for big gains- finally, scoring another touchdown.  Though into the second it appeared as a blowout, Ceredo-Kenova would put together an impressive drive resulting in a field goal.  14-3.

Wonder lineman Shaun Saunders held his own but couldn’t block both Todd Robinson and Joel Chapman.  The second half was riddled with failed runs and another deep punt return by Smedley set up another big score.

Going into the fourth, a Bub Taylor score followed by a Zane Smith interception had Coach Don Money in position down 21-10.  Cougar linebacker Al Dean quickly stopped those tides with a strip and recovery.

King would put together back-to-back drives down the field to put the game completely out of reach 35-10.  The Wonders put up a good fight but were outmatched.  Onto the next round for the Cougars.

’89 Capital (35) ’94 Ceredo-Kenova (10)

 

 

’90 East Bank vs ’93 DuPont

Nothing better than a rivalry matchup trying to find the greatest team in state history.  Both schools facing consolidation in the coming years and one more theoretical battle at Calvert Field and one more battle between legendary coaches Ralph Hensley and Dick Whitman.

The jump start would have all the makings of the rivalry.  Big hits and a good amount of smack talk.  No love lost.  DuPont would feed the ball to stern runner Bobbie Howard resulting in decent runs but no points.  The same occurred for the Pioneers as they too quickly stalled out.

Top prospect Randy Moss would come through next drive with a long catch and run.  This set up Howard for a score midway through the first.  Hensley’s offense responded with another big drive but Howard quickly forced it to stall out with two big TFL’s.  DuPont would show it how it’s done into the second with another Howard touchdown run.

East Bank was a disciplined team and quickly put together an important drive finishing with a push in TD by Brad Slack.  A botched kickoff gave Moss another chance to gut the Pioneers, a fumbled snap gave the ball back instantly.  Taking the final minutes out, the Pioneers would score again to tie it up 14-14.

The third quarter showed a swift increase in defense.  Selling out to stop Moss and Howard worked and resulted in takeaways y Dale Phalen and Mike Hale.  The stalemate continued through the fourth when it was quickly broke by an 81-yard slant route taken to the house by Moss.

East Bank would put together a typical rivalry drive and within the ticking minutes score yet another touchdown to look to upset the AAA champions.  They would also elect to go for two and successfully have a play to Robbie Robinson.  22-21.

DuPont, with everything on the line, drove the field quickly.  A big run by Howard followed by a catch and go by Moss set up a first-and-goal with seconds remaining.  Whitman elected for Howard to run it in for a walk-off score- which he did to take home the trophy 27-22.

1990 East Bank (22) 1993 DuPont (27)

0Moss1111-260x300

 

 

PLATINUM

’04 Morgantown vs ’16 Martinsburg

The bowl that is Pony Lewis Field was packed to the brim.  Their Mohicans had been nothing short of dominating- historically, at that.  Coming off the destruction of a Nate Sowers-led Martinsburg team, they were ready for the Tyson Bagent-led Bulldogs.  This Bulldog team was experienced with dealing with ground and pound teams- recently dominating a D1 loaded Spring Valley roster.

Coach David Walker elected to take the ball to begin the game.  Things started quickly.  The high paced and high-flying offense was clicking instantly.  Tyson Bagent put together pass-after-pass down the field as the Mohicans seemed out-of-place.  The quick drive down the field was capped by a 21-yard score by Dewayne Grantham off an outside run.

Where Martinsburg recently struggled with Spring Valley, Morgantown took note.  Perennial scorer, Spencer Farley, was handed the ball time after time as he pounded away at the Bulldog line.  John Bowers ground game was obviously successful- tying the game at 7-7 with minutes left in the first.  The early success of the offenses faded, however.  TFL’s and sacks by Spencer Farley and Jalen Hesen had both sides stalemate.  Morgantown managed a long field goal before the half ended.  10-7.

Though Spencer Farley had seventy yards in the first half, the Mohicans tried to catch the Bulldog D off guard with a Charles Russell pass.  Grant Harman of Martinsburg had other ideas with a key interception.  Bagent took advantage of the situation dropping a 43-yard dime to Isaac Brown to take back the lead 14-10.

The defenses’ stints of dominance took break for the next quarter and a half.  Farley traded a touchdown only for Bagent to pass for another.  Mohican fullback Maxwell Anderson grinded a score but was matched by a Mikey Jackson scamper.  Late fourth, a Mohican punt gave Martinsburg a chance to put the game on ice being up 28-24.  Icing is what they did.  With one minute remaining, Grantham broke free from a sure-tackle in the backfield by Adam Brandt and took it 56-yards to cement the game.  Bulldogs would be moving onto the next round.

2004 Morgantown (24) 2016 Martinsburg (35)

 

 

’11 Martinsburg vs ’14 Capital

The anticipation was incredible in the stands at Cobourn Field.  Martinsburg was coming off back-to-back undefeated seasons and a big time win over George Washington.  Capital showed zero intimidation as they were loud pregame riding tons of momentum after destroying rival South Charleston in their previous matchup.  Martinsburg elected to not play into the hype as much.

At the flip, Martinsburg deferred to the second half wanting to see what the Cougar offense had.  They wished and received.  Quarterback Tyree Pratt drove down the field quickly and effectively, finally scrambling in for a touchdown minutes into the ballgame.  The hype train rolled as Martinsburg gained only 15 yards and punted.

Pratt took a backseat this go around and let Kennedy Award winner Kashaun Haley do the dirty work.  Though Martinsburg was physical including two TFL’s recorded by lineman Eugene German, the Cougars hit hard on big plays crossing into the second quarter.  The long drive was exclamated with a pass out of the backfield from Pratt to Haley.  Capital stood 14-0.

The running game was not working against the motivated Cougar defense.  Lineman Jonathan Burkes and sophomore linebacker Dorian Etheridge lived in the backfield.  Coach David Walker elected to hit steady passes down the field to move Capital to their heels.  Quarterback Brandon Ashenfelter relied heavily on three third down passes to Cedric Brown to keep the drive alive.  As the half closed, they got within the one and Ashenfelter snuck it in.

Capital wasn’t content with the 14-7 lead with two minutes left and tried to air it out leading to a pick.  Martinsburg kneeled the final seconds and came back out calm and collected in the second half.  A big return by Cedric Brown set the tone putting them deep in Capital field position.  Justin Arndt took the snap thirty-seven yards right up the gut to tie it up.  The Cougars seemed rattled and though driving back down the field, had a miscue leading to fumble recovery by Bulldog lineman Josh Harwood.

Martinsburg failed to capitalize and punted it back to Haley who chunked into great field position.  They continued to feed him down the field and into the fourth quarter.  What ended up being a seven-minute drive culminated to a fourth and three on the goal.  The Cougars elected to go for it and on a play action rollout, Huff Award winner Logan Jenkins caught Pratt’s foot causing a change of possession.

With half the fourth left, Ashenfelter led a textbook drive all the way down the field.  Runs off the edge and quick passes into the hook.  Capital was gassed and Ashenfelter punched in his second touchdown of the night with over a minute to go making it 21-14.  Pratt seemed prepared to have a classic game winning drive but two plays in his receiver fumbled the ball leading to a scoop and score by Martinsburg.  There was nothing else to do and the Bulldogs continued their win streak with a 28-14 win and the game ball going to Brandon Ashenfelter.

2011 Martinsburg (28) 2014 Capital (14)

11Martinsburg

 

 

ROUND TWO POPULAR VOTE

Do you look like a college player? DEFENSIVE EDITION

We all hear it.  We all know the person.  If you don’t, you might be THAT guy.  The guy that is all about college football.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, if you are legitimate, however, statistically speaking- the probability is low.  Anytime this type of talk of said it is automatically scorned for being negative or being a ‘hater’.  Once again, there are always exceptions.  This is merely a reality check to some, goals for another, or an article put together by former coaches and players from all levels that “have no idea what we’re talking out” as said by the delusional.  We’re taking a look at what levels of players should look like in high school throughout West Virginia.  If you don’t agree, that’s okay- it’s just a subjective article backed by experience.

 

Defensive Line

Division One – Height: 6’1+ / Weight: 260+ / Bench: 315 / Constant disruptor with double teams off the edge or in middle

Division Two – Height: 5’11+ / Weight: 250+ / Bench: 285 / Clogs up the area well and makes plays

Division Three – Height 5’9+ / Weight: 240+ / Bench: 255 / Has big plays here and there while holding his gap

The difference between levels as a lineman is the most obvious.  Much of this goes to the eye test.  Does the player look like a beast?  Does the player control the line of scrimmage like a beast?  The domination factor is in place here.  A D1 lineman dominates his foes every single snap.  That natural strength must be there and it can be measured somewhat through bench.  Also, height matters incredibly.  If you’re under those heighth, you won’t stack up against offensive lineman.  The end heighth would actually be 6’2-6’3 but the weight minimums could be 30 pounds lighter.  Do you dominate?

Examples of a D1 Defensive Lineman: Reese Donahue (Cabell Midland)

Counterexamples of requirements: Lamonte McDougal (Starting NT for WVU)

 

Linebacker

Division One – Height: 6’0+ / Weight: 220+ / Clean: 285 / Tons of TFLs and sacks and is punishing

Division Two – Height: 5’10+ / Weight: 205+ / Clean: 255 / Makes majority of team’s tackles and runs defense

Division Three – Height: 5’8+ / Weight: 195+ / Clean: 225 / Solid defender but lacks big play ability

Linebacker is a position where size and speed are more like bonuses than necessities.  However, the height and weight will dictate your recruitment, there are plenty of successful smaller linebackers on the top level.  The obvious difference is how many times the announcer calls your name for a tackle and the type of tackling your doing.  A top level LB is CONSTANTLY berating the offense in rush defense or pass defense.  From a testing POV, we think cleans are a great predictor as they are pure explosion and technique aside from raw strength.  Where do you stack up?

Example of a D1 Linebacker: Owen Porter (Spring Valley)

Counterexample of Requirements: Justin Arndt (Former Starter at WVU)

 

 

Defensive Back

Division One – Height: 5’10+ / Weight: 190+ / 40YD: 4.60e / Can’t catch on him and makes tons of tackles

Division Two – Height: 5’8+ / Weight: 180+ / 40YD: 4.70e / Allows few catches and is good in run support

Division Three – Height: 5’7 / Weight: 170+ / 40YD: 4.75e / Good in coverage and 50/50 on run support

While the gap of talent between D1 receivers and D2 receivers is large, the same isn’t true for DB.  Defensive back is a very mental position in college and requires strict discipline.  The biggest difference between levels is speed.  Actual speed, not your dad’s stopwatch- electronically speaking.  If you aren’t trackstar fast, you aren’t covering top receivers.  Also, a big difference seen is how ferocious of tackler one is.  You might be fast and lockdown receivers, but do you lay the stick when they come your way?  It matters.  A lot.

Example of a Division One Defensive Back: Derreck Pitts (South Charleston)

Counterexample of Requirements: None- you have to be fast

Scouting Report: Charleston

Four days at the Charleston Civic Center can get exhausting, especially when it comes to finding things to do in between sessions. We’ve been veterans of this event for almost the entire time they have been holding them. We seem to believe that we have a solid idea of places to go, places to eat, and things to see in between the sessions of games.

Now for some of us, we’ll spend almost every day in Charleston and won’t miss a single session. Which is one of those things that you must do at least once in your life because if you do it right, you will never regret it. For others, you come up once or twice, depending on how your team is doing or who is playing. Either way, you will be spending some time in Charleston and would like to do something.

It’s a West Virginia tradition to make a trip to Charleston a full day event. It’s one of those things where you plan it out well in advance. Make a list of stores that you must go to and restaurants that you must try. If there was a dictionary that held the many different sayings and words that is in a West Virginians dictionary, “Going up to Charleston” would be on one of those pages in the book.

Here are some key things you need to know before heading to the State Basketball tournament.

State Basketball Tournament Session Schedule

Morning Session Games Start at: 9:30AM

Next Games start 20 minutes after teams leave the floor.

Evening Session Games Start at: 5:30PM

Next Game start 20 minutes after teams leave the floor.

 

Ticket Prices:

$8.00 General Admission

$9.00 Reserved Sections

*Note: New security procedures have been placed at the Civic Center, expect delays in entering the arena.

 

Where to Eat.

1200px-quaker_steak_and_lube-svg

A classic favorite for myself is the ole reliable of Quaker Steak. A staple in a consistent place where the food is good, and the atmosphere is great. One of the reasons we loved to go there over the years is that it is typically not as busy, but the food is good and quick. It’s the perfect place to find some good wings, sit back, and watch the NCAA basketball tournament that is going on as well.

adelphia-sports-bar-grille

Adelphia is a place located in downtown Charleston. This is your late-night location or just a place to hang out. The atmosphere is awesome and there is a huge drink selection available. I’ve personally ranked their awarded winning chicken wings in my own top 10 of wings I have ever had. It’s a great place for a late-night spot, and I enjoy this place greatly!

pies-pints-footer-logo

Not the original but it’s still fantastic. A West Virginian Icon that is also located in downtown Charleston. These pies are known worldwide and people from all over ask me if I know about it when I travel outside of the state. The Charleston location is starting to build its own little reputation, and it’s starting to rival the original in Fayetteville. Go try this place, it’s worth the stop.

 

Things to Do:

  • The big one that everyone in the state does is go to the Charleston Mall and Town Center. It’s really the only true mall for many of the people in the state. It’s a can’t miss thing to be honest, and almost every person does it. Walking there in between games is the thing to do and with nearly every store that you can think of in the building, you can find whatever you are looking for. The kids love it, the parents love it, and it’s literally right across the street from the Civic Center.
  • Another huge shopping area with a ton of great restaurants and nearly anything that you are looking for. The shopping centers up by Corridor G is another place that is a crowd favorite during this time of year. A short 5-minute drive up the hill in Charleston will take you to these places that you can literally spend the entire day trying to hit each one if you choose to do so. It’s a good place to go especially on day 3 of the tournament if you want to get out of your hotel and move around a little.
  • A personal favorite of mine is the West Virginia museum. Tucked away over by the capital, the museum gives you a full and in-depth view of the history of the state. For many us, the pride we feel when we go in that building is almost second to none because it shows our past and how we got to where we are today. It’s fun going into the museum with your parents or grandparents and have them tell the stories of their past because the place really takes you back in time. It’s worth going over there and spending an hour to check out the entire place.
  • Take a stroll down Capitol Street! Located in the downtown area of Charleston, this place is loaded with many different shops and bars that you could go through. This small little stretch of street gives a unique time for nightlife and food options. With not only the State basketball tournament going on but the NCAA tournament going on, these places will be buzzing with people through the entire week. Highly recommend it for people wanting to take a taste of the nightlife of Charleston.

 

There are many different places that we considered in this scouting report. There are seriously too many that we could possibly list. We just hope that maybe this list will give you an idea of a place you never had or see something you never saw!

 

Any other recommendations please comment below to help other people out!