Week Two Fight Card

WRITER STANDINGS

(Out of 13)

11 – Writer2

10 – Third Writer

10 – Shotgun Writer

9 – Writer Out of Ink

8 – Wide Writer

7 – El Writer

 

PRELIMINARIES

#3 Capital at South Charleston

The yearly rivalry between the Cougars and Black Eagles will take place yet again.  Capital is sitting high after a comeback victory over an out-of-state power. Their usual stars showed out, but it was the running by noseguard Kalai Clark that stole the show.  South Charleston fell but not before Shyleik Kinney could toss four scores with three of them going to Samajhi Simon.  South Charleston has a bitter taste after speaking out against their large amount of transfers-out- something that has hurt Capital in the past as well.  Capital seems to be in much better shape with a loaded team from top to bottom.  However, never doubt the prolific Donnie Mays offense.  It should be a good one with South Charleston needing a lot of luck to compete it seems.

El Writer (Capital) Writer2 (Capital) Third Writer (Capital)
Wide Writer (Capital) Shotgun Writer (Capital) Writer OOI (Capital)

C&C Prediction: Capital (56) South Charleston (12)

 

 

#1 Wheeling Central at Madonna

We knew Wheeling Central was good.  We didn’t expect them to completely own Williamstown though.  The Maroon Knights, behind their usual stars of McGhee III, Price, and Murray, will travel to Weirton to take on Madonna.  The Blue Dons, who were under much question losing two all-state talents via transfers, showed up in the opener winning 40-36 against an out-of-state foe.  In this game, Gavin Dietrich rushed for nearly 250 yards and four touchdowns.  The odds still seem stacked against them even at home.  Wheeling Central seems unstoppable, and this might be their next stop on a road of destruction.

El Writer (Wheeling Central) Writer2 (Wheeling Central) Third Writer (Wheeling Central)
Wide Writer (Wheeling Central) Shotgun Writer (Wheeling Central) Writer OOI (Wheeling Central)

C&C Prediction: Wheeling Central (48) Madonna (0)

 

 

#10 Morgantown at Steubenville (OH)

Morgantown proved several things in their week one thriller: they are big, they can run, they can pass, and they can come back.  Ty Konchesky ran tough all night behind their large line, and quarterback Cam Rice made more plays than mistakes.  Big special teams and a mostly tough defense led them to victory.  They will have their hands full with an always talented Steubenville (OH) team that fell close to Penn Hills (PA) last week.  Morgantown has a lot of momentum but will have to travel across stateliness in yet another brutal matchup.  It will be interesting to see this one play out.

El Writer (Steubenville) Writer2 (Steubenville) Third Writer (Steubenville)
Wide Writer (Steubenville) Shotgun Writer (Steubenville) Writer OOI (Steubenville)

C&C Prediction: Steubenville (35) Morgantown (7)

 

 

Woodrow Wilson at Greenbrier East

Two Coalfield region AAAs that have been stuck in turmoil for several years both have the opportunity to start out 2-0.  The Flying Eagles played close with Riverside early but hard running by Micah Hancock and a big defensive safety by Avante Burnett put the game out of reach for an important opening 22-6 win.  Greenbrier East took on AA rival James Monroe and though many expected to the Mavericks to be difference, no one expected them to lose.  We knew Ray Lee had talent and also young spots but the defense was awesome- holding James Monroe to 0 points.  This underrated rivalry will go down in Lewisburg, and we expect two defenses to flex their muscles.  Expect an old-fashioned, low-scoring rivalry game.

El Writer (Woodrow Wilson) Writer2 (Greenbrier East) Third Writer (Woodrow Wilson)
Wide Writer (Woodrow Wilson) Shotgun Writer (Greenbrier East) Writer OOI (Woodrow Wilson)

C&C Prediction: Woodrow Wilson (14) Greenbrier East (12)

 

 

UNDERCARD

Ravenswood at Webster County

Ravenswood blasted Wahama- that is no doubt.  Behind multiple scores from multiple backs, this one was over early.  Across several counties, Webster County was in a much bigger fight.  Despite jumping out to an early lead on #5 Richwood, the Highlanders were absolutely torched with the air game in the second half.  They fell 46-36.  Their single wing offense hopes to get back on track as they host a promising Red Devil team.  This should be an exciting matchup with the winner hopefully jumping into the top ten.  The loser misses out on an excellent opportunity to build momentum and gain a large potential of quality points.

El Writer (Ravenswood) Writer2 (Ravenswood) Third Writer (Ravenswood)
Wide Writer (Webster County) Shotgun Writer (Webster County) Writer OOI (Webster County)

C&C Prediction: Ravenswood (28) Webster County (24)

 

 

#5 Cabell Midland at Parkersburg

It’s never easy to go into Parkersburg and win.  Last week, despite being outsized and without Brenton Strange, the Big Reds gave it all they had behind Jake Johnson, Kionte Peacock, and Tyler Moler.  They will have their hands yet again with a similar stacked line that blocks for one, if not the, of the best runningbacks in the state- Ivan Vaughn.  Passing will also be hard on this Scarlet Knight D as St. Albans found out last week in a straight butt whooping.  Even with a healthy Strange, the Big Reds will need to play a textbook game to defeat the #5 Cabell Midland Scarlet Knights.  We have faith in the possibility.

El Writer (Cabell Midland) Writer2 (Cabell Midland) Third Writer (Cabell Midland)
Wide Writer (Cabell Midland) Shotgun Writer (Cabell Midland) Writer OOI (Cabell Midland)

C&C Prediction: Cabell Midland (63) Parkersburg (18)

 

 

#9 Winfield at Herbert Hoover

Winfield starts this year off 0-1 again.  However, no one can deny they didn’t battle well with a solid AAA Hurricane behind big plays by John Covert and Jacob Huff.  Herbert Hoover, on the other hand, had an explosive start on both sides.  With Rhett White tossing several scores especially to his go-to man Jon Bradley.  The craziest stat is the -60 yards rushing they allowed in their 47-0 thwarting of Scott.  In the theme of several games this week, we will get to see how legit the Huskies really are.  Winfield’s loss is not one to hang their head on.  This shall be one of the most telling games in AA this week.

El Writer (Herbert Hoover) Writer2 (Winfield) Third Writer (Herbert Hoover)
Wide Writer (Winfield) Shotgun Writer (Winfield) Writer OOI (Winfield)

C&C Prediction: Winfield (31) Herbert Hoover (14)

 

 

Tug Valley at #10 Sherman

Both of these teams faced vastly different opponents.  Tug Valley dominated a rebuilding Hannan team behind a big running performance by several backs.  Sherman ran into a underrated Magnolia team that spread them out and sliced it up.  Saying this, the Tide did have several opportunities to make scores and fell short.  Hosting Tug Valley this week, they should be content facing a run-based team.  This is an important game for both as the quality points should be plentiful upon victory and into the future- also, a good jumping point to get on a hotstreak.

El Writer (Sherman) Writer2 (Sherman) Third Writer (Tug Valley)
Wide Writer (Sherman) Shotgun Writer (Sherman) Writer OOI (Sherman)

C&C Prediction: Sherman (36) Tug Valley (12)

 

 

MAIN CARD

#7 Pendleton County at Petersburg (AA)

Expect a fantastic quarterback matchup take place in Petersburg.  Last week Jacob Hartman found the endzone different ways four times in a shacking of Berkeley Springs.  Not to be outdone, Kole Puffenberger passed for six and ran for one in an abolition of Notre Dame.  The two alone were great but both defenses played their tails off as well.  Petersburg, hoping to have a banner year, will need to defend their turf against an on-the-rise Wildcat team.  We look to see an exciting game with a good mix of passing and running and even some traditional defense.  If you’re in the eastern panhandle, this is the game to go see.

El Writer (Petersburg) Writer2 (Petersburg) Third Writer (Petersburg)
Wide Writer (Pendleton County) Shotgun Writer (Pendleton Coutny) Writer OOI (Pendleton County)

C&C Prediction: Petersburg (22) Pendleton County (21) OT

 

 

#7 Hurricane at #2 Spring Valley

Last season Hurricane delivered one of the more surprising upsets by beating Spring Valley by 20 points.  The teams are built similar to last year but a big difference being the two receivers that torched the Timberwolves’ secondary have graduated.  Hurricane looked pretty good week one with a tough defense and a horse back by name of Christian Hill.  Spring Valley looked like an absolute unit.  Owen Chafin and Graeson Malashevich gained over 100 yards rushing and receiving, respectively, in only one quarter of play.  Nate Ellis also looked very comfortable at quarterback.  The chance Hurricane topples this giant in Spring Valley seems unlikely but that seems like when the Redskins thrive most.

El Writer (Spring Valley) Writer2 (Spring Valley) Third Writer (Spring Valley)
Wide Writer (Spring Valley) Shotgun Writer (Spring Valley) Writer OOI (Spring Valley)

C&C Prediction: Spring Valley (56) Hurricane (21)

 

 

Williamstown at #4 Magnolia

What one week can do for these two annual Single A contenders.  With a disappointed shutout loss to #1 Wheeling Central, the Yellowjackets drift out of the top ten.  On the flipside, Magnolia delivered on the question of how good they could be with a big 24-0 victory over at-the-time #4 Sherman.  In this game, Patrick Mirandy tossed three touchdowns with two going to Sebastian Stickler.  Expect big quarterback play out of Williamstown’s Carter Haynes too.  This will be a good measuring stick for both teams.  Does Magnolia belong in the top five?  Is the difference between the Maroon Knights and everyone else really that much?

El Writer (Williamstown) Writer2 (Magnolia) Third Writer (Magnolia)
Wide Writer (Williamstown) Shotgun Writer (Magnolia) Writer OOI (Magnolia)

C&C Prediction: Magnolia (17) Williamstown (10)

 

 

Shady Spring at #6 Nicholas County

Coach Vince Culicerto maybe hasn’t been this confident in a team in awhile.  That proved true with an excellent blowout win week one.  With a well-sized line, two capable quarterbacks, and an all-state runningback- the ingredients seem to be present.  Saying this, they have to travel up to Summersville to take on the Grizzlies of Nicholas County.  The #6 AA in the land, Nicholas County made a comeback then a several score leading win over a promising North Marion team at the Huskies’ homefield.  The game featured big plays by QB Jared Sagreaves and his reliable cast.  We’ll figure out exactly how good the Tigers are.

El Writer (Shady Spring) Writer2 (Nicholas County) Third Writer (Nicholas County)
Wide Writer (Nicholas County) Shotgun Writer (Nicholas County) Writer OOI (Nicholas County)

C&C Prediction: Nicholas County (31) Shady Spring (20)

 

 

MAIN EVENT

Mingo Central at #7 Wayne

A winless Mingo Central and Wayne is a rarity.  In this case, understandable.  Behind Daylin Goad and the Hatfield brothers, the Miners had a clean shot to upset top three Point Pleasant.  Some late breaks ultimately cost them the 42-35 lost.  Wayne, however, had to take on a generational AAA Spring Valley team.  The offense couldn’t move, and the defense had no answer.  They were down 48-0 three minutes into the second quarter.  It is no reach to say this is an important game.  The two annual Cardinal title contenders both need a bounce back win.  It should be interesting watching the Miners’ spread style clash with the Pioneers’ faithful smashmouth run.  This should be an awesome main event AA matchup.

El Writer (Wayne) Writer2 (Wayne) Third Writer (Mingo Central)
Wide Writer (Mingo Central) Shotgun Writer (Wayne) Writer OOI (Mingo Central)

C&C Prediction: Wayne (35) Mingo Central (28)

WV Prep Football Stat Leaders (WEEK ONE)

*From what we have gathered.  If a player statistically should be in the top eight email us at coalfieldsco@gmail.com with a source*

 

PASSING YARDS

1) 365 – Gavin Smith (Van)

2) 360 – Daylin Goad (Mingo Central)

3) 353 – Connor Neal (Fairmont Senior)

4) 298 – Corbin Pierson (Jefferson)

5) 277 – Caleb Jantuah (Richwood)

6) 271 – Logan Holgorsen (University)

7) 267 – Grant Wells (George Washington)

8) 244 – Owie Ash (Hedgesville)

 

PASSING TOUCHDOWNS

1) 6 – Kole Puffenberger (Pendleton County)

2) 5 – Connor Neal (Fairmont Senior)

2) 5 – Caleb Jantuah (Richwood)

4) 4 – Logan Holgorsen (University)

4) 4 – Shyleik Kinney (South Charleston

6) 3 – MULTIPLE

 

 


RUSHING YARDS

1) 269 – Evan Rose (PikeView)

2) 246 – Gavin Dietrich (Madonna)

3) 241 – Seth Davis (Liberty-H)

4) 228 – Cason Payne (Point Pleasant)

5) 227 – Nick Yoho (Parkersburg South)

6) 197 – Caleb Bish (Grafton)

7) 195 – Hunter America (Doddridge County)

8) 192 – Ethan Payne (Poca)

8) 192 – Ivan Vaughn (Cabell Midland)

 

RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS

1) 5 – Hunter America (Doddridge County)

2) 4- Gavin Dietrich (Madonna)

2) 4 – Caleb Bish (Grafton)

2) 4 – Joel Cruickshanks (Clay County)

5) 3 – MULTIPLE

 

 


RECEIVING YARDS

1) 252 – Michael McGee

2) 250 – Antoine Lewis (Jefferson)

3) 184 – Devin Hatfield (Mingo Central)

4) 153 – Mayson Miller (Sissonville)

5) 142 – Evan Parow (University)

6) 134 – Abe Farrow (Oak Hill)

7) 129 – Alex Mazelon (George Washington)

8) 127 – Drew Hatfield (Mingo Central)

 

RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS

1) 5 – Michael McGee (Richwood)

2) 3 – Abe Farrow (Oak Hill)

2) 3 – Samajhi Simon (South Charleston)

4) 2 – MULTIPLE

 


SACKS

TACKLES

INTERCEPTIONS

FIELD GOALS

 

 

We want to track these stats but will need help.  Email us these stats at coalfieldsco@gmail.com.  Thank you.

 

Southern Review – WEEK ONE

FEATURED PHOTO CREDIT: WILLIAMSON DAILY NEWS

 

 

Bluegrass Battles

#3 Capital made their way to Paintsville, Kentucky to take on the golden Eagles of Johnson Central in Week One. After losing to JC last year, the Cougars came into this game hungry. After a slow first half, Capital found themselves down 14-7, but a third quarter touchdown by one of the top ranked defensive lineman in the state, Kalai Clark, helped the Cougars close the gap. Another Kalai Clark touchdown came in the final minutes to put Capital on top, but the final stand from the Cougar defense is what sealed the game up and gave them the 28-21 victory. #4 Huntington also found themselves locked in a close one in Kentucky as they made their way down to match up against the Belfry High Buccaneers The Highlanders had no issues settling in as Ty Wilcoxon and Bryce Damous both put up TD runs, giving Huntington a 14-0 first half lead. The Highlander defense gave up a long bomb for a TD early in the third, but held their ground the rest of the night giving up only a field goal. Huntington came out on top 17-9.

 

 

Big Dawgs

AAA powerhouse Spring Valley invited the “AA” Pioneers of Wayne down for the 2018 season opener. The explosive offense of the Timberwolves helped them to put this game away early. It started when star RB Owen Chafin went more than 60 yards and found the endzone in the 1st quarter, but the final nail in the coffin may have been Nate Ellis’ 87 yard pass to Graeson Malashevich which had the game morally over at before the half.  Wayne found the endzone late in the game, but it was too little to late as the Timberwolves rolled to a 49-8 victory over “AA” Wayne. It also was no surprise to see the Knights of Cabell Midland perform in dominating fashion for their opener. The #5 team took on the St. Albans Red Dragons for the week one contest, and showed the state that once again they mean business. The Knights rolled behind the ferocious running attack of Ivan Vaughn and Griffin Adkins. As Friday night winded down,  Cabell Midland ended up christening their new field with a 62 point shutout victory.

 

 

The Year of the Beaver… Maybe Again

Every year we see The Bluefield Beaver and G-men of Graham start the season off strong with one of the best rivalries football has to offer, but this year it was a bit more one-sided than usual. The Beavers are coming off of a “AA” state championship win and have reloaded rather than rebuilt. A first quarter blocked Graham punt sparked the fire for the Beavers and got them rolling. Arnold Martin started off the scoring for Bluefield with a four-yard TD run, and after that, the Beavers didn’t look back. A 77-yard Chandler Cooper bomb found the hands of Isaiah Johnson for the next score, but perhaps it was Juice Edwards’ 114 yards and two TDs running that really put the game on ice. The G-Men battled back with some second half scores, but the Beaver defense was too solid and held them off to win 38-14.

 

 

“AA” Madness

The #9 ranked Grizzlies of Nicholas County made the trip up I-79 Friday night to face the North Marion Huskies.  Things weren’t looking good for Nicholas as they found themselves waiting to return a punt down 12-0 with less than four minutes until the half. Chandler Funkhouser was back to punt for the Huskies when the snap soared over his and inside the Husky 10-yard line before he was able to get control of it. The Grizzlies were able to take advantage as QB Jared Sagraves connected with Timothy Baker in the endzone for the Nicholas County touchdown. After that TD, Zach O’Dell  would go on to sack North Marion QB Dalton Malcomb for the safety bringing the score to 12-10. Nicholas County would go on to score a total of 32 unanswered points and come back to beat the Huskies of North Marion 32-12.  Another big-time matchup was between #2 Point Pleasant and disrespected (by us) Mingo Central.  Behind Daylin Goad and the two Hatfield brothers, the Miners went toe-to-toe with Cason Payne company.  After fireworks, seeing Goad throw for 360- Payne ultimately capped the game with a long run to break a 35-35 tie late.  Josh Wamsley would seal the game with a pick and break Mingo Central’s 22-game home win streak- eerily familiar.

 

 

Valley Matchups

A pair valley matchups caught our eye over the weekend.  The first being George Washington and their important victory over South Charleston.  The game was a barn burner from the get-go.  Grant Wells and Shyleik Kinney traded blows the entire first half going to their main receivers Alex Mazelon and Samajhi Simon, respectively.  The two would combine 476 yards passing with those receivers catching five of the touchdowns.  With the game being 31-21 at the half, everything mattered.  A overturned kick return touchdown for unsportsmanlike conduct has been argued to be incorrectly called back instead of assessed on the kickoff.  Regardless, the Patriots were able to hold on and win 45-30.  The War of 34 also caught our eye as Hurricane tried to take out their nearby AA rival Winfield for the 23rd time out of 24.  With an early General turnover, it seemed as if the Redskins would run away.  Despite step-in QB Austin Womack tossing several scores and Christian Hill’s dominant running, a big run by John Covert kept the Generals alive.  The second half saw fatigue reach Hurricane especially upfront and their multiple touchdown lead dwindled.  Luckily, Hill and his 186 yards were enough to hold them at bay, and the Redskins escaped with a 24-13 victory.

 

 

Big Time Runners

Would PikeView’s run scheme work without Hunter Mitchelson?  Evan Rose would like to think so as he attempts a fourth straight 1,000 yard season.  Their matchup with former semifinalist Summers County was back and forth- an instant classic.  With early turnovers by PikeView putting them behind and big runs by Christian Pack taking the lead- the Panthers played from behind a lot.  They continued to tie it up behind Rose’s rushing but touchdown catches by Keandre Sarver and Pack had them up 27-20 late.  An important drive had Anthony Bisaha score and Rose convert the two-pointer.  The defense would hold giving PikeView the 28-27 win.  To start Fayetteville’s final season they took on nearby foe Wyoming East.  This game say Jordan Dempsey rush out to a 14-0 lead.  Late in the half and through the third, East relied on Caleb Bower to will them back into it and that he did, bringing it to 21-21.  The game changer came on a fourth down in the fourth quarter where Dempsey plowed through multiple men for the game leading score- East couldn’t recover.  Fayetteville won 28-21.

 

 

Two Woods Roll

Over in Ravenswood, two new head coaches took the field.  Wahama, who only gained James Toth as coach in late July, felt their lateness.  The Red Devils were nearly unstoppable behind a performance that saw scores from a handful of players.  This was led by Luke Jackson who had 123 on only seven carries.  The game was never close.  They rallied for an impressive 42-0 opener.  In a much closer game, #5 Richwood rallied to take out nearby foe #6 Webster County. Two intriguing teams definitely.  Webster County would jump out first and hold a commanding lead through the first behind big runs from Luke Hardway and Reece Nutter- having the Lumberjacks down by double digits at the half.  The second half saw the arrival of the Richwood passing game.  Scoring 32 points in quarters three and four, the momentum was quickly flipped.  QB Caleb Jantuah finished with 277 and five scores- 252 and all five were caught by Michael McGee.  Richwood showed a lot of character came out 46-36 for a stellar opening victory.

 

 

Notables

If Herbert Hoover didn’t draw your attention, catch this: they scored through the air and on the ground to score 47 points and allowed -60 rushing yards by Scott.  Negative sixty.  Mount View started dominant with a blowout win and three-TD performance by QB Jesse Rose against AA River View.  A rushing, receiving, and passing score game by Ethan Payne of Poca has many people asking: Are the Dots back?  They blew out Nitro 46-8 for their first win over them in six years.  Tug Valley showed utter dominance with a 56-0 victory over Hannan.  A 184 and three rushing TD performance by Chad Ramsey and two interceptions by Kaiden Pack gave Greenbrier West a surprising 42-0 blowout over Buffalo.  Tolsia was also surprisingly blown out by out-of-state Fairland.  Finally, the story of the south might be Oak Hill’s Abe Farrow who scored five touchdowns (two rushing and three receiving) for 246 yards in a 61-20 win over Valley (Fayette).  He didn’t play football last year.

 

 

AAA Player of the Week: RB Christian Hill (Hurricane)

AA Player of the Week: RB Abe Farrow (Oak Hill)

A Player of the Week: WR Michael McGee (Richwood)

Northern Review – WEEK ONE

Featured Photo Credits: Scott McCroskey (The Parkersburg News and Sentinel)

 

AAA Destruction
Despite #1 Martinsburg giving up a kick return TD to start the game, their usual stars quickly took over Loudoun Valley (VA). This included phenomenal running from Dewayne Grantham who scored multiple times, big special teams/defensive plays from RJ Barrett and Matt Vanduzer, and a two-QB system between Grant Harman and Elijah Banks- both threw for touchdowns with Harman also pulling in a pick.  It was never close as they won 62-12. #6 Wheeling Park also showed a lot with a 66-12 win and a three touchdown start for new quarterback Alex Dunlevy. Rafael Bradley and Kenya Robinson were a deadly running duo and the defense only allowed one first down against Brooke. Finally, another signal calling debut went well with #9 Hedgesville’s Owie Ash tossing multiple scores. The defense was also stout against Washington with N’iyjere Smith turning a takeway into a score. They did battle penalties but past that, were very dominant on the ground and in the air in a 68-8 thumping.

 

 

Classic Battles
#8 Musselman had an unexpected battle with Spring Mills. Even though new QB Tre Beard and RB Blake Hartman were nearly unstoppable on the ground, Chad Williams’ offense kept making big drives to keep it even into the half. Keon Padmore-Johnson passed for nearly 200 yards in the first half but was halted in the second half. Musselman’s Beard would take over with three scores and 153 yards to compliment Hartman’s four. They eventually put the game out of at reach 45-21. #10 University could not hold off from starting out 0-1. They were tasked with the mysterious John Marshall Monarchs. The Hawks’ line was a big question mark and the Monarch offense took advantage of that just pounding away all night. Chas McCool was the main horse of an offense that ran for 323. Logan Holgorsen and Amir Richardson were impressive and consistent. John Kelley’s special teams and defense were not completely dominated- they had a big field goal block and Evan Parow pick. However, the Monarchs outlasted and made bigger plays including the catch of the year so far from Jordan Wood to Justin Frohnapfel. The Monarchs would win 35-28 and make us eat our words yet again.

 

 

One For The Books at Pony Lewis
Two historic programs took the gridiron Thursday on a big broadcasting TV network. Parkersburg made the trek to Morgantown and even though superstar Brenton Strange didn’t play- this game was nothing short of a classic. With the Mohigan offense clearly outsizing the Big Reds, Ty Konchesky had his way running the ball. Even when they passed, Cam Rice made big plays including a back corner touchdown pass to Preston Fox. This domination led to a 17-0 lead in the first. However, after a Rice pick, blocked punt, absolutely jaw-dropping run from Tyler Moler and all of a sudden Parkersburg was not just in it but up 21-17. Quarterback Jake Johnson turned up as well as he ended up with three passing scores himself. The first half lead reached 28-17 before Jace Whetsell illuminated the stadium with a kickoff return touchdown right before the half finished to even out the momentum. Parkersburg had their shots to maintain the lead late but Morgantown’s line quickly beat them back down. Both teams feature quarterbacks that will get more efficient throughout the year. Luckily for Morgantown, they came out on top of this 45-35 classic.

 
Crushing the Contenders
#3 Fairmont Senior made a statement Friday night. They are still the team to beat in the Big Ten even with the hype regarding #7 Robert C. Byrd. The Polar Bears were bigger and stronger early and often. This domination led to a ridiculous 343 yards and five touchdown performance by Connor Neal with JD Smith pulling in 122 and two touchdowns of those. Fairmont Senior will lose RB Caleb Walker for several games after fracturing his jaw. Byrd’s Ghovan Davidson nearly rushed for 100 yards in this 46-20 routing. Thursday #1 Wheeling Central shutout #7 Williamstown. We all thought the Maroon Knights would dominate, but they were on a new level. The defenses swarmed Carter Haynes and company- who had very few opportunities. They dominated on special teams as well. QB Curtis McGhee and RB/WR Braden Price both had big nights with 256 and 152 yards, respectively. It was never much of a competition with Wheeling Central winning 33-0.

 
The Big Dogs Roll
#4 Bridgeport showed why they are one of the most consistent programs in the state. They plowed over a promising Lewis County team from start to finish. Jake Bowen had an expected night with 173 and three scores on the ground- in the first half. The resounding Indian offensive line and defense outplayed the Minutemen and forced key turnovers. Their lead ballooned to 45-3 midway through the third and the game finished 45-17. #6 Weir also crushed a nearby rival. The Red Riders started slow but eventually picked up after a long Tyler Komorowski to Sebastian Spencer pass, Donovan Kirby run, Komorowski run, and two more Kirby scores. The lead blossomed to 35-3 by the half. Komorowski would finish with four scores- Kirby with three. Oak Glen would rush for -14 yards but toss the ball 40 times for almost 200 yards and two scores by QB Nick Chaney. Weir would win 49-14.

 

 

OT Losses and Shocking Shutouts
#3 East Hardy might just by the kings of heartbreak. Friday night they took on Bishop Carroll Catholic out of PA. It was a hard fought game from the very beginning with stellar defense and a lot of running by Bishop Carroll. They would have three backs finish with a total of 300-yards running. Leading 13-7 at the half, with the Cougars tying it up late. A missed field goal by the Huskies sent the game into overtime where East Hardy was held to a fourth and out and Bishop Carroll would run it in for the 19-13 win- the Cougars first regular season loss in years. Another top five team fell in Single A as well with Magnolia knocking off #4 Sherman at home. With the hype regarding the Tide’s big men and athletic QB, the Blue Eagles decided to spread it out and let Patrick Mirandy do his thing. He would finish with three touchdown passes. The defense was the big story here causing multiple turnovers which disallowed Sherman to ever get into a rhythm. The game ended in a very surprising 24-0 shutout.

 

 

Top Tens Deliver
Two promising teams delivered Friday Night as well. Doddridge County and their notorious Bulldog defense had South Harrison stressed from the get-go. This was in-part to a monster performance by Hunter America who rushed for 195 and scored six times. The game was never much in the reach of the Hawks and Doddridge would jump into the top ten with a 52-14 thumper. #10 Pendleton County also had a great night taking on Notre Dame at home. The game started close with the Wildcats and Fighting Irish being tied midway through the second at 14. However, two late scores and a monster third quarter pushed the score to 48-14 where it would finish. A big performance by Kole Puffenberger and company.
Notables
There were some big upsets and dominating wins all over the Northern side of town. Petersburg backed their hype with 43-6 routing of Berkeley Springs. Ritchie County took out #9 Tyler Consolidated despite a great performance by Mark Rucker and Griffin Phillips. #7 Cameron took care of business winning by a touchdown over West Greene (PA). A year after losing two powerhouse rushers, Liberty-Harrison started the year off with a four touchdown performance from Doddridge-transfer Seth Davis to win big over Roane County.  Jefferson already looks worlds better than last year with a close loss but incredibly impressive performances by Corbin Pierson, Antoine Lewis, and Jevon Lang.  Finally, Grafton’s Caleb Bish ran for 197 and four scores in a surprising victory over the tough Philip Barbour.

 

 

AAA Player of the Week: WR Antoine Lewis (Jefferson)
AA Player of the Week: QB Connor Neal (Fairmont Senior)
A Player of the Week: RB Hunter America (Doddridge County)

Kennedy Watch Update (Week One)

Gathering Attention

Dewayne Grantham (RB) Martinsburg

Caleb Jantuah (QB) Richwood

Blake Hartman (RB) Musselman

 

 

#5 Donovan Kirby

WeirRedRiders

Kirby will have to get used to not being the only horse on his offense at Weir.  Saying that, he did not break 100 yards but did score three times in a dominating win over Oak Glen.  He will absolutely see more carries with closer games.  His statistical issue will be that his quarterback, Tyler Komorowski, is also an awesome offensive weapon.  Regardless, still a good night for the reigning rushing champ.

 

#4 Malakai Brown

HedgesvilleEagles

Brown also fell victim to getting pulled early due to dominating.  However, before he was pulled, he still managed five catches, 109 yards, and a score.  As with Kirby above, he will get more opportunities in closer games.  It’s quite the compliment that 109 and a score is a down game as a receiver in high school football.  That’s why he’s on the list.

 

#3 Ivan Vaughn

CabellMidlandKnights

Vaughn did not get to play much in the second half of a St. Albans spanking.  Though, before he was pulled, he tallied 193 and three scores in the first half and also a 40-yard touchdown reception.  He will definitely get more carries in closer games but as long as he runs like he does there won’t be too many close games.

 

#2 Cason Payne

PointPleasantBigBlacks

Payne delivered yet again in another classic at Mingo Central.  His big game allowed them to snap a 22-game win streak at home- very similar to what happened to them a year ago.  The close game was emphasized with Payne’s 136 and two scores through the air and 220 and two scores on the ground.  Quite a night.

 

#1 Kerry Martin Jr.

CapitalCougars

Martin Jr. started his campaign off with a bang.  In a comeback and revenge victory over Kentucky-powerhouse Johnson Central, Martin Jr. made plays early and often to gather the win.  This included some highlight reel broken tackles and deep passes that ultimately gave the Cougars a big win.

Week One Fight Card

PRELIMINARIES

South Charleston at George Washington

Both the Black Eagles and Patriots have star leaders.  Drew Joseph and Zeiqui Lawton for South Charleston and Grant Wells and Dakota Cosby for George Washington.  A lot of youth will be seen for these typical MSAC playoff contenders.  South Charleston will showcase a new set of skill players including a promising quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end combination- a toolset Coach Donnie Mays has always flourished with.  George Washington will need some new faces to come out to help out Wells offensively even though he does have the capability to carry this game.  We expect a close one as we see every year with a lot of big plays by both QB’s while also the stars of the defenses stalling drives.

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C&C Prediction: George Washington (26) South Charleston (20) OT

 

 

#2 Point Pleasant at Mingo Central

Last year’s co-main event between these two teams was nothing short of a classic topped off with a hail mary to snap Point Pleasant’s lengthy home winstreak.  The difference now?  The Black Knights roll in at #2 while Mingo Central is unranked.  A big reason for this is the loss of a stellar senior class while David Darst returns a slew of experience including Kennedy Award candidate Cason Payne at quarterback.  We have not given Mingo Central a lot of credit past Drew Hatfield at receiver as they must replace Jeremy Dillon, Dawson Elia, and a head coach.  They had a successful JV year and have a grand tradition so far.  That being said, it seems as if the Black Knights will outmatch them at Miner Mountain by a lot.

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C&C Prediction: Point Pleasant (49) Mingo Central (14)

 

 

 

#5 Wayne (AA) at #2 Spring Valley

One of the more unique matchups of the opening week.  A top AA and top AAA will butt heads while also sharing the same county.  Spring Valley has gathered much praise with a powerful line, deep stable of backs, and an overall huge team.  Wayne also returns a lot with almost every starter back.  They will, of course, rely on Mike Bartram to be their offense which will hopefully expose a fresh replacement at linebacker.  Two historically smashmouth teams could lead to a very intriguing game, but it would be no slight to Wayne to assume the Timberwolves will eventual overpower them.

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C&C Prediction: Spring Valley (35) Wayne (7)

 

 

#7 Hurricane (AAA) at #8 Winfield

The yearly opener for these two nearby schools had a pretty good session last year.  Hurricane eventually overpowered them.  The Redskins have looked good so far into the fall behind Nathan Roy and Christian Hill on offense and an experienced O-Line and defense.  Winfield does lose a great quarterback but returns a lot of skill and an arguable equal line.  This should be a close matchup than the previous year.  Depending on how explosiveness the Redskins are with two new receivers and how well Winfield can keep steady with Nick Vance at quarterback.  Expect a hot one by the river with a lot of defense and big plays.

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C&C Prediction: Hurricane (28) Winfield (14)

 

 

UNDERCARD

#4 Huntington at Belfry (KY) (AA)

This cross-state matchup gave us one of the best games of the season last year with Huntington mounting a crazy comeback.  This Highlander team looks really similar up front but features new playmakers behind their star-studded line.  Tay Blackwell and Ty Wilcoxon look to break onto the season as the main QB/RB duo.  The Highlander defense should always be phenomenal with Stephen Perrine off the edge and Brocton Blair poised for another all-state LB season.  Belfry is always stellar at home so this will be no cakewalk for Billy Seals and company.  Expect a textbook game full of next level talent.

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C&C Prediction: Huntington (31) Belfry (28)

 

 

#3 Capital at Johnson Central (KY)

This time last year, Kerry Martin Jr. and his deep offense were young and still almost came back on the talented Johnson Central.  Now, after a semifinal appearance, the Cougars are a favorite for the state title.  An offense packed with so many names, we couldn’t even mention them all.  The question lies more on the defense and front line.  They have added some size and have top DL and LB Kalai Clark and Breece Hoff back up front.  The secondary should be strong with Kerion Martin hanging over top.  Johnson Central is a good team that will have their hands full with this talented bunch.

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C&C Predictions: Capital (42) Johnson Central (35)

 

 

#4 Sherman at Magnolia

After a long trip up north and a road playoff win and a highlight offseason, the Sherman Tide have gathered everyone’s attention.  Their star lineman and talented quarterback have gained the respect around the state.  They will have every opportunity to back it up including their opener against Magnolia.  A key game for both teams who have brutal roads, Magnolia will come out full tilt after a troublesome 2017 year.  The Blue Eagles are led by a strong offensive and defensive line of the Barrows brothers.  They need to replace some stars in the skill position but overall might be deeper than Sherman.  This game could answer a lot of questions for both squads.

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C&C Prediction: Sherman (14) Magnolia (13)

 

 

#9 Nicholas County at North Marion

Daran Hays has embraced his already brutal big-team Big Ten schedule and picked up Nicholas County as the opener.  The Grizzlies, who have been consistently great on defense, picked it up even more on offense last season.  Jared Sagraves is their horse at quarterback while North Marion’s stud also plays QB- Dalton Malcolmb.  Both are expected to have stout defenses with all-staters like Ricky Newbrough and Desmond Fluarty.  These two respected AA programs have lingered around that almost-elite bubble for years!  We could definitely see one break through this season.  Which one will it be?

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C&C Prediction: Nicholas County (28) North Marion (21)

 

 

 

MAIN CARD

Parkersburg at Morgantown

Two historically excellent programs lingering in a bubble of mystery clash in an awesome Thursday night season opener.  A game filled with D1 prospects, position-swapped quarterbacks, huge offensive lines, great coaches, and a lot to prove will take play in the bowl stadium of Morgantown.  We expect both defenses to be stout up front as they try to defend the big play.  Brenton Strange of Parkersburg is liable to break one but the passing game will look different with Jake Johnson now at quarterback.  The same goes for the passing trio of Cameron Rice, Kaden Rice, and Jestohn Moore.  Who knows what this game will hold?  So many questions.

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C&C Prediction: Parkersburg (31) Morgantown (17)

 

 

#6 Webster County at #5 Richwood

Two nearby teams not usually seen at the top of Single A, luckily, are peaking at the same time and also play each other.  Webster County had a two-loss season last year including a first round loss to red hot Summers County.  They return almost everyone!  Richwood broke a 20-game losing streak and also made the playoffs and hung with South Harrison for a half.  They also return almost everyone!  Two dark horse Single A contenders will see the legitimacy of both.  This will be a game of Richwood’s Jeremiah Johnston running and Michael McGee catching.  While the duo RB/LB’s of Webster County look to show them their smashmouth style too.  This should be a good one.

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C&C Prediction: Richwood (26) Webster County (19)

 

#3 Fairmont Senior at #7 Robert C. Byrd

The hype behind the Polar Bears has slowly risen after their second straight title loss.  Great offseason performances and the acquisition of a new Gilbert have pushed Fairmont Senior from questionable to a for sure title contender.  With Connor Neal and Antonio Parsons returning to mount a fire passing game behind a solid line and defense- it looks bright.  On the otherside, Robert C. Byrd finished strong and returns starter after starter.  They have a ferocious defensive pass rush led by Robert Arnold and Jaden Marino which would disrupt that pass game.  Offensively, they return sophomore QB Xavier Lopez and 1st-team all-state RB Ghovan Davidson.  If the Eagles want to be taken as legit- here is their shot.

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C&C Prediction: Fairmont Senior (38) Robert C. Byrd (10)

 

 

#1 Wheeling Central at #7 Williamstown

The defending champs start their season off with a bang.  They will travel down to Williamstown, an always tough opponent, to begin their repeat season.  Everyone knows the stars of this Single A program behind Mike Young.  The Yellowjackets will need to key in on the Curtis McGhee III and Braden Price run and pass game before unleashing their quarterback on offense.  The Maroon Knight defense will be stout as well.  With several writers picking Williamstown in the title game, this could be a lot more interesting than anticipated.

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C&C Prediction: Wheeling Central (21) Williamstown (15)

 

 

 

MAIN EVENT

#1 Bluefield at Graham (VA)

The Battle of the Two Virginias is here!  One of the biggest rivalries in the country should be a good one.  Last year’s battle was a late game heartbreak for the G-Men.  That momentum carried Bluefield to an undefeated season and state title.  The Beavers have new faces but potential similar stars with Juice Edwards and Arnold Martin stepping in behind an absolutely massive line.  Not to mention young touted WR/DB Isaiah Johnson.  The G-Men are led by a similarly high recruited star in Cameron Allen.  Expect the typical drama seen every year.  Bluefield has a target on their back in West Virginia but perhaps an even bigger one in Virginia.

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C&C Prediction: Bluefield (28) Graham (17)

 

 

The Greatest of Games – A Memoir

“Imagine being a fourteen-year old boy on the eve of West Virginia’s greatest rivalry. A rivalry which had been talked about nonstop since the moment it ended 364 days prior. Now, imagine running out to 10,000 fans cheering for your Bluefield… or the other. This is a moment a select few of teams get to experience; it is something they will never forget.
You see, this is Bluefield. Or Bluefields, as there is two. It is a pearl in coal country. There, football reigns the undisputed king. Every young man grows up looking forward to playing for the Beavers or the G-Men. This tradition has a history of legendary coaches, legendary players, and legendary games. Legends come from tradition; Bluefield has won a state championship in every decade going back to the 1960’s, and Graham holds a similar title tradition.
An entire year’s work goes into this matchup. You might win nine games, you might have ten all state players, you might win the State Title, but if you don’t win this game… the year is incomplete. A loss becomes a conversation piece placed in every nick and cranny of the Bluefields. Grocery stores, pool halls, bars, restaurants, social gatherings, and the grand parking lot beneath Mitchell Stadium where the kids hang out all summer share a similar topic: who won last year and who’s going to win it this year.
Personally, I had a unique relationship with this annual game. My grandfather was the captain of police and worked every Bluefield-Graham game for nearly five decades. Of course, this game became signature to my youth. I was the third member of my family to have the opportunity to play in it. During my time, I played for the legendary John Chmara of Bluefield; the others had played for the predecessing legend Merle Gainer.
My neighborhood homed two former coaches and players: Glynn Carlock and Rhandy Barnett, a legendary Graham coach and a former Bluefield quarterback we begged to come out and play for both of our pick-up team, respectively. My family held Coach Carlock in high regards. When he had his evening walks around the block, he would often joke to me while passing by about being a G-Man since I lived right on the border of Bluefield, Virginia and Bluefield, West Virginia. I was nothing special as a player, just hard-nosed and hard-working, but moments like that made me feel special. It created a unique relationship.
As a coach, I joined Fred Simon, a man who had achieved legendary status himself by keeping the winning tradition alive. Coaching in the game is unique and differentiates from playing. There is almost more of a drive to beat the opposing staff. After all, the pressure for this opening game resembles playing for a State Championship. However, I can hardly remember a State Championship game in West Virginia having 10,000 fans in attendance. It is good practice I guess you could say.
I always thought it was cool to climb the mountains and be able to see both schools which were both in different states. Both with so many ties between each other. Both sharing the mythical Mitchell Stadium. The stories those locker rooms could tell… fifty years and I still haven’t seen or heard things quite like that. Moments where I tried to avoid Coach Carlock because we had beaten Graham, and he still found me to put his arm on my shoulder and say he was proud.
However, few memories resonate like that of my very first Bluefield-Graham opener:
It was intimidating. The preseason two-a-days were absolutely brutal. We would run this old hill and even to this day I can remember Coach Ferrell, an assistant, yelling, “Fifty! You missed the line! Start over!” Players on the verge of fainting left and right…times were a little different back then. And, everybody did not get to dress- only 48, and we had 70 out. You had to earn your jersey, and there was no better incentive than running out against Graham. Nerves would run deep as we participated in the ‘Pride Practice’- a full scrimmage for everyone but the starters the Thursday prior.
The year before, I had fallen ill at Fairview and lost a bunch of weight my final year of Junior High. I had worked my butt off to get ready specifically for this game. I would walk down to the Western Sizzler every night for a fourth meal to ensure my weight restored. You can imagine my nervousness awaiting the release of the dressing list. Thank the heavens and Western Sizzler, I was on it.
The night before the game we had a huge pep rally at a small old gym in Beaver. Nobody cared how small it was even though it would be packed shoulder to shoulder. Hell, there was more adults in there than kids it seemed. I remember some old lady coming up to me and say, “You better win, boy.” As a fourteen-year old, I thought it was weird, but then I began understanding the magnitude in a different position. As it wrapped up I got the word from Coach Ferrell saying we all better be home by 10:00PM, and he would call to make sure. For some odd reason, he called me every single year at 10:01, but that’s another story.
The next morning at 7:00 AM you had to be inspected by the coaches to make sure you had your shirt with a tie and a haircut with absolutely no facial hair (fear was instilled that Coach Ferrell would shave us himself). We would then receive our ‘We Believe’ jackets. Often I wondered if Dwayne Woods or Donnie Jackson wore that jacket. Regardless, I was on cloud nine.
The halls were abnormally quiet for this game through the day unlike any other game day because everyone was aware of what was coming in eight hours. At 3:00 the school held another Pep Rally but only for students. The players had to relax and watch film even though the party could be heard through the walls. I always hated the quiet stretch leading up to the game; the anticipation was overwhelming.
It passed and the team meeting began where the leaders of the team went over plans for the game. I never liked those meetings. I always thought a bad plan violently executed is better than a bunch of talk, but back then I just listened. Luckily, we’d be saved by a delicious pregame feast. Two slices of roast beef, salad wedge, peas, baked potato and ice tea. Each one of us would depart and begin getting taped. Everyone got taped. Everyone. Coach Ferrell personally taped me every time; he had a way of calming me down.
Once mummied up, you’d go to the mesh cage and get your gear and helmet. At Bluefield, we had a practice set of everything and a game set of everything. Even helmets because it’s first class. I can remember the smell of the baby powder coaches used to put on the pads which was to keep them fresh… I guess, I never knew why exactly. Every shoe had the same exact white shoestring and the same exact lace as every other player. Zero individualism.
We loaded the buses in a crowded fashion while the coaches road in vans. We wore our gear and it’d get so hot on that bus we had to take our helmets off as we went down Cumberland Road to the red light on College Avenue. We had to leave about 45 minutes earlier than normal to beat the rivalry traffic. However, you could see the wave of cars on the Virginia side lined up all the way into the distance. We’d drive by slowly hearing a slew of screaming fans, good and bad.
Once we saw the stadium, Coach Ferrell climbed in the bus and barked “Buckle them up!” You could hear the helmets of 48 players as chin straps snapped; nerves wore high. We got to the ramp of the stadium and were welcomed by hundreds of fans. We marched past them like a military squadron. Two hours before the game and a stadium that holds 10,000 plus was already half full. The posters, decorations, radio and TV shows lit up as you walked through.
You have to sit in there and listen to the bands come marching in as well as the many, many fans. As I heard, “Special teams up!”, I watched my teammates go out to battle. Soon enough my group was called as well. I would be fibbing if I did not glance once or twice into the bleachers in amazement of all the fans. You cannot hear a thing due to the crowd; you had to rely on habit to get through warmups.
Our coaches would never deliver big motivational talk; they believed in action on the field so we just waited until the National Anthem finished and eagerly awaited running out. My main goal was not to trip over the lip of concrete separating the blacktop and field. To a fourteen-year old in his first Bluefield-Graham game it was overwhelming. I was here, this was real. As if it was yesterday, we ran out and played the game we loved. A moment a froze in time.
This game is truly special and many schools in the state will never know the feeling of a game of this magnitude. As a player and coach on multiple levels, I still have yet to witness that same magic, but that could be because it’s my personal home. It is a night where legends are made for the next generation. A legendary game made for legendary players coached by legendary coaches watched by former and future footballers from both Bluefields.
Come a Friday night soon to a field near you, a lot of rivalry games will be played. A lot of the same emotions will be felt across the state. Those are the memories that many will remember for a lifetime. It’s not just a game, it is an experience, and that is why they call it Friday Night Lights. Everyone go out and have fun and hopefully you’ll be a part of history and some fourteen-year old’s memories.”