The Coalfields Region is one of the most historic in the state. Ranging over the southeastern counties of West Virginia, it features tons of schools that used to be AAA that have now fallen down to the lowest classification. The AA state champion has come from here the past two seasons, now. AAA is not as successful with only three schools present. We’re taking this week to look at what to expect out of the Coalfields Region.
We thought Bluefield was going to be pretty good last year. We thought Mookie Collier would be pretty good as well. The fact that people are probably tired of hearing his name outside of Bluefield really understates their performance. On a magical streak of game breaking runs, rising stars like Truck Edwards, and stellar defense, the Bluefield Beavers went unbeaten and claimed a state championship for their 7th stratight decade.
Coach Simon has been here multiple times- coming off a title. He has never repeated. However, 2018 might be his best shot. Bluefield has one of the deepest lines in the state regardless of class. All-staters Deiyante Powell, Nathan Pettus, Mason Walker, and a promising Garrett Jordan. These boys are not just talented but are well-sized indeed.
Quarterback Chandler Cooper had more of a game manager role last season but look for that year of experience to really give him more chances in 2018. They can ride Juice Edwards and Arnold Martin similarily to Mookie and Truck. JJ Davis will also be a featured back. All three of those men are top-notch defenders as well.
The defense features many of those same names and some big-time potentials like Drake Mullins and Isaiah Johnson. Mullins, a speed rush-type, is great at making the offense go horizontal. Johnson, a defensive back, has elite speed, agility, and an underrated ability to come down effectively on the run. Include Kaulin Parris as the #3 K/P in the state and these Beavers might have reloaded more than anyone in the state. Bluefield opens up with Graham (VA) in their famous rivalry August 24th.
James Monroe and Mingo Central have been the forefront of the Coalfields AA region until Bluefield kicked the door down in 2017. Between the two, they lost a group of seniors loaded in yards, tackles, pancakes, and some memorable playoff runs including a state title for Mingo Central. So, how do these schools move forward?
The Mavericks look much steadier, though witha new coach in Chris Booth, behind returning all-staters Monroe Mohler (QB/DB), Channing Carr (TE), Noah Dillon (OL/DL), and Jaden Clarkson (LB). The same cannot be said for Mingo as they will revolve entirely around top-rated receiver Drew Hatfield. They do have some good role players like Dougie Dillon (RB) and Josh Kinder (WR).
Either way, we think the challenger to Bluefield will be neither. We look to Nicholas County or Shady Spring to fill this void. One, the Grizzlies, are returning off a first round exit last year but have quarterback Jared Sargraves and runningback Jacob O’Dell to have an even more electric offense and support their annually tough defense.
Shady Spring, who has not been noteworthy since the early 2010’s, has one of their best teams in a long time. They will return two worthy quarterbacks, all-state runningback Tyler Bragg, all-state lineman Ryan Carter, all-state defensive back Terrymykal Alexander, and an X-factor sophomore track star Isaiah Valentine. This team went 5-5 in 2017 and dropped two-three wins late. They open up at Lincoln County 8/24 and Nicholas County travels to North Marion as well. They play each other Week Two.
Head Coach James Toth leaving Logan during July was hard on all involved. He did have the opportunity to return to Wahama, but now, the Wildcats are scrambling in multiple directions. A team with promising athletes like Chucky Felder, Shawntee Mathews, and Trey Cowart find themselves in tougher times.
It was reported that they are really struggling to get enough kids out to have a football team in 2018. If Logan does not field a team this year that will be a devastating blow to the kids and the community. We know they’re a basketball school but avoiding a full-season cancellation of any sport must be a priority for all involved.
A county over, Scott has also had a hard time. With 2017 being plagued with injuries, late losses, and public discipline issues, it was already hard. Two all-state players, Carson McComas (RB) and Jerrad Price (OL/DL), have transferred back to Lincoln Coutny, and it appears Jon Jon Hamilton (WR/QB) is not returning for the season.
Luckily, they do have Connor White, runningback, and Carter Lyles, lineman, to really rally behind. Adversity is a tough thing to deal with, but it no doubt builds character. We hope to see Logan and Scott with a lot of much-earned success this year and in the future. On the 24th of August, Scott opens up at Herbert Hoover, and Logan hopes to play on the 23rd. The two are set to meet Week Seven.
PikeView will attempt to run their wicked ground scheme with solely Evan Rose this year and finally make it to the playoffs. Independence, Clay County, and Oak Hill were all bubble playoff teams in 2017 and lost a lot of seniors with promising players behind, do they take the next step? Out of Westside, who says goodbye to a winning senior class, Wyoming East, Liberty-Raleigh, and Man… who overachieves from their under .500 expectations? Finally, Chapmanville battled injuries all 2017 including their QB playing on a bum knee. Is Chase Berry the biggest unknown threat lurking in the Cardinal Conference?
FOOTBALL IS ALMOST HERE. Each week we will be diving into one of our four regions. We’ve sliced it up a little different to equal the spread of talent out. We have the Coalfields region, MD (Mason-Dixon) Panhandle region, North West region, and Valley region. We will spend a week on each in that order. Every week will include Monday: Single A, Tuesday: Double A, Wednesday: Triple A, Thursday: Preseason All-Region Team, Friday: Top 10 in the Region. Let’s get it!