Featured photo by Amir Hairston (Bluefield) by Heather Belcher
2022 WV Prep Football Insider
Available now! Gain access to 113 full-team previews that include a 2021 recap, key players lost and coming back, returning starter count, and their 2022 prediction! This 100-page magazine also has preseason rankings, preseason all-state teams, the top 100 players of 2022, the 1990s all-decade teams, the most anticipated games of 2022, historical references, and much more! Know it all with just one book.
For purchases of physical + digital, please email us your mailing address at CoalfieldsCo@gmail.com!
Most Anticipated Games of 2022
10. George Washington at Hurricane (Week 3)
Three weeks into the season, both the Patriots and Redskins have a chance to separate themselves from the tier two MSAC teams. Both considerably talented, this is expected to be a high-scoring contest. There is also an added allure that Hurricane quarterback Noah Vellaithambi and wide receiver Tyshawn Dues were Patriots in 2021. Either way, each team will need this one crucially for playoff points. As it currently stands, George Washington holds a slight favorite; they won last season 35-14.
9. Bridgeport at Morgantown (Week 2)
Bridgeport is many people’s pick as the sleeper in AAA. Perhaps, their biggest test of the regular season will come against the similarly ground-heavy Mohigans. Between the two squads, there are over ten ranked linemen and fullbacks/tight ends. Morgantown has shown progress the past two seasons, and there would be no better way to declare themselves a permanent top eight team than by defeating the Indians the second week of the season. Bridgeport won the 2021 contest 31-20.
8. Winfield at Herbert Hoover (Week 2)
Winfield has been chosen by a good amount of people as being the dark horse in AA. With Eddie Smolder taking over as head coach, the Generals look to utilize a new run-heavy attack that utilizes a team returning a lot of seniors. Herbert Hoover has shown themselves to be the powerhouse of the Cardinal Conference the past two seasons and look likely to hold that title yet again. However, a week two matchup with Winfield might shake things up. The Huskies won last year 37-14.
7. East Hardy at St. Marys (Week 10)
Between St. Marys and East Hardy, they have three of the six highest-ranking players in Class A. St. Marys with runningback Josh Roush and all-purpose player Joey Ramsey. East Hardy has elite receiver Dawson Price but also returns an exciting dual-threat quarterback in Mason Miller. Both teams are expected to be bubble title contenders- that picture will be clear for each team by week ten. However, this matchup will act as a measuring stick between the northwest and the Eastern Panhandle. East Hardy won in 2021 by a score of 36-6.
6. Doddridge County at Ritchie County (Week 5)
Doddridge County and Ritchie County has been the most exciting rivalry in Class A the past few seasons. Both have appeared in the state title game since 2019, however, only Ritchie County has brought home a championship. The Bulldogs, though, have gone 3-0 against the Rebels in that span- being their only loss in 2021. Both teams return some all-state players, and each staff has proven capable of reloading. This week five matchup looks like yet another chapter in this book. Doddridge County won 29-26 in overtime in 2021.
5. Fairmont Senior at Robert C. Byrd (Week 8)
The Polar Bears had a crazy 2021, narrowly qualifying for the playoffs and winning late multiple times to capture their second straight title. Robert C. Byrd was on the short end of their stick twice, losing in the regular season 21-20 and in the quarterfinals 33-28- each in brutal fashion. Both lose key pieces but return an elite amount of talent relative to the rest of the class. There is no reason that 2022’s matchup will be any less interesting or impactful on playoff positioning.
4. Huntington at Spring Valley (Week 1)
There might be no better way to start the season than with a southwestern rivalry showdown. Both the Highlanders and Timberwolves have lived in the top four of Class AAA over the last half decade. Between the two, Huntington returns more overall from the year before, but Spring Valley always manages to introduce formerly unknown stars. This annual battle might shine light on who the contender of the south will be in 2022. The Highlanders won 9-6 in 2021.
3. Bluefield at Independence (Week 6)
The Beavers and Patriots had much different years in 2021. Independence dominated their entire schedule while Bluefield had to forfeit just to get into the dance due to COVID mayhem. Their paths met in the semifinals, the first meeting between the two ever, where Independence halted the Beavers’ fifth straight title game appearance. Now, both see a lot of new faces and are positioned to face each other in the regular season for a very notable rematch between the two; the Patriots won 34-20 last year.
2. Huntington at Cabell Midland (Week 9)
Few rivalries have gotten as fiery as this Cabell County showdown. Each have reached the title game since 2019 and have otherwise stayed among the top five teams in the state. This late season matchup will feature over twenty ranked players and over a handful of players with Division I offers- including the top-rated runningback in West Virginia, Curtis Jones Jr., who transferred from Huntington to Cabell Midland in the offseason. The Highlanders won last season 21-17.
1. Highland Springs-VA at Martinsburg (Week 4)
The Bulldogs nearly swept what many consider the hardest schedule in state history during their 2021 season. Their road remains ravaging in 2022 with the likes of Salem (VA), Sherando (VA), Riverside (OH), and the always tough Musselman and Jefferson teams. Perhaps, none are more interesting than yet another test with Highland Springs (VA). Martinsburg is absolutely loaded this season and looks for perfection in which Highland Springs appears to be the biggest threat. The Bulldogs won in 2021, 26-25.