Eastern Panhandle Region: WV Prep Football Teams to Watch

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AAA Team to Watch: Martinsburg

The Bulldogs of Martinsburg are surely the team to watch as usual in the Eastern Panhandle. The four-time defending champs are riding the longest winstreak in state history and will face some steep challenges in 2020. They are now without the winningest head coach in state history but are led by Britt Sherman, a coach who has been a big part of the their success. There was also a considerable amount of talent graduated including their entire offensive/defensive lines, their quarterback, and three of their four top receivers.

This is coupled with an intense schedule that includes two long trips south to Cabell Midland and South Charleston. Musselman returns 20 starters and looks as good as ever. But the team to beat still is Martinsburg. Though the depth might not be the same, they still possess the two best pure runningbacks in West Virginia with Naieem Kearney and Kevon Warren. No one else has two players that can break games open like that. Anthony Smith is also arguably the best wide receiver and defensive back in the state as well. The true test will be if guys moving into higher roles keep pace such as promising linebacker Braxton Todd, freshman phenom Murphy Clement, and a batch of newly starting linemen.


AA Team to Watch: Keyser

Keyser had perhaps their most dominant regular season in school history in 2020. They finished #1 statistically in defense and #2 in offense. This includes over a handful of shutout blowouts. Their only losses of their campaign came via the state champion and runner-up. Now, much has changed for the Golden Tornado. Long-time coach Sean Biser has departed and his place has been taken by well-experienced coach Derek Stephen. Also, a big loss was the transfer of Biser’s son, Caden Biser, to their new school of Morgantown.

The Golden Tornado graduated nearly all of their line and the vast majority of their starters. However, they still a dangerous backfield that will make some potential playoff contenders. The trio of quarterback Gavin Root, runningback Zion Powell, and fullback Drae Allen should be a dastardly task to stop. All three have plenty of games under their belt and will keep them in any game. With an ever-changing schedule, the road is unclear but interesting nonetheless.


A Team to Watch: Pendleton County

Pendleton County, despite our predictions, had one of the best campaigns of any Class A last year. This included a 9-1 regular season in which their only loss, Moorefield, was avenged in the first round of the playoffs. Their road, of course, would end in the semifinals but to their luck, much of that team returns. The main keys coming back are quarterback Isaiah Gardiner and defensive end Josh Alt.

With these two leading their units, the Wildcats are definitely a threat for the Class A title. Their road will look a bit different this season including an interesting trip south to AA Sissonville. The ability for them to rinse and repeat with graduated stars is evident so it will be exciting to see just what they do in 2020. Keep an eye out for Pendleton.

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