TOP 5 WV AAA QUARTERBACKS OF 2018

To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended.  The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined).  Not on the list?  Good thing it’s not even preseason yet.  Prove us right or prove us wrong.

 

Without further ado…

 

 

Honorable Mention

Nate Ellis (Spring Valley) 2020

Elijah Banks (Martinsburg) 2020

Tay Blackwell (Huntington) 2020

 

#5 Justin Frohnapfel

JF
Photo Credits: The Intelligencer

School: John Marshall

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’1/195

The Monarchs quartefinal run of 2017 was not just due to a stellar defense and impactful run game.  Frohnapfel elevated his game week-in and week-out to create a diverse offense that took down some top teams.  His passing game needs work, but it is far enough along to put up big numbers when you take into account his threat of scrambling.  Being only a junior, he has plenty of time to keep developing into a really great quartberack.

 

#4 Nathan Roy

NR.png

School: Hurricane

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’1/205

There might be no one who can throw a deep ball better than Roy in the entire state.  Often times in traffic, he makes some rocket passes.  Hurricane will lose two all-state receivers so his fast-hitting mindset might need to slow down towards efficiency.  Hurricane had one of the scariest offenses in the state last year thanks to Roy’s arm with a Spring Valley dismantling and almost quarterfinal Huntington upset.

 

#3 Logan Holgorsen

LH
Photo Credits: WV MetroNews

School: University

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’11/185

Holgorsen has became quite polarizing with his third high school in 12 months but let us remind you that today’s recruiting world is not the same as it was ten years ago (or even five years ago).  At University he will have all-state receivers and an annually dominant defense.  With a natural time period practicing with an offense, Holgorsen can get back to hitting dimes at midrange and not rely on the deep ball.  His ability to tuck and run will also keep defenses very honest.

 

#2 Grant Wells

GW
Photo Credits: WV News

School: George Washington

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’1/190

Wells is by far the most athletic quarterback on the list and it shows.  He is constantly extending plays and nailing passes on the roll.  George Washington’s offense has had holes in recent years and often times lowers his production.  Wells won’t make that excuse though and continues to lead the Patriots to decent seasons.  We’re looking forward to another stat-packed year for Wells through the air and on the ground.

 

#1 Kerry Martin Jr.

KM

School: Capital

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’2/195

Martin possesses a trait others are still working on within our list.  Patience.  He has the ability to pull the ball in and take off for ten yards, but he often waits and finds a bigger play down the field.  Capital has all the weapons in the world and a quarterback who trusts in them even with his own elite ability which could be deadly.  His accuracy and power is all there.  We expect candidate numbers in 2018.

 

 

Who did we miss?  Let us know!  We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids!  Our next Feature Five Friday will take on the top returning quarterbacks in AA/A!  Let us know who should be in there!

Our 2017 Predictions Revisited


Many media outlets rarely go back and publicly review their opinions.  We’ll be honest, we were wrong on some things.  We’ll also admit we weren’t as educated on the state of teams nearly to the extent we are heading into this season.  Regardless, we don’t mind humbling our ‘expert’ opinions and taking a look at what we nailed, what we’re on track for, and what we completely had wrong.  Let’s take a look:

 

 

NAILED

  • Martinsburg: oh yeah, we predicted the sequel to the best team in decades winning it all.  Experts.
  • Capital, Spring Valley, & Huntington: we also predicted these perennial MSAC powers to jab each other and be top five threats.  Hot takes.
  • Wheeling Central & St. Marys: no surprise the Blue Devils returned to the ship, but we did predict their opponent.  Not the way they got there, however.
  • Mingo Central, Bridgeport, & Point Pleasant: once again, not to brag, but we predicted them all to be contenders for the title.
  • Mookie Collier: we had high hopes for Mookie going into 2017, and he exceeded those tall standards.
  • Poca: we knew they would #DefeatTheStreak and are now on pace for an even better season.

 

 

EHHH

  • East Hardy, Cameron, and South Harrison: we knew they’d have good years but much better than we predicted.
  • Keyser: we had them ranked high but injuries and a tough draw really downplayed how good they were.
  • Winfield & James Monroe: we often ranked too high or too low for these AA’s and never got it 100% correct.
  • Midland Trail: we were high on the Patriots but never quite saw them go as far as they did.
  • Tyson Bagent: we had our eye out for him but definitely didn’t recognize him nearly as much as he deserved in the preseason.
  • Kerry Martin Jr.: honorable mention in his own region.  SMH.

 

 

DEAD. WRONG.

  • Jefferson: preseason number 11… boy.
  • Wheeling Park: we thought they would be in the title hunt.  Not so much.
  • Lewis County: ranked 12th out of 40+ AA’s.  They finished 1-9.  Still not a bad team.
  • Tolsia and Tucker County: both preseason ranked top 10 and combined for under five wins.
  • Chapmanville: we had high hopes for the Tigers.  In fairness, injuries to their star player derailed the season.
  • John Marshall: we gave them half a thought in the preseason.  They had one of the most impressive 2017 seasons.
  • Brenton Strange: not even a mention.  The disrespect was real but not intentional.

 

 

UNPREDICTABLE

  • Summers County: a solid team no doubt, but no one saw them making a historic run all the way to the semifinals.
  • Adam Murray: who?  That’s what we would have said this time last year.  He was the first sophomore Huff Award winner.
  • PikeView: we challenged them to win two games.  They won seven.  Heck of a year!
  • Philip Barbour: 0-10 to 8-2?  First-year head coach?  No way.  But, nonetheless, it happened.
  • Malakai Brown: sophomore wide out of Hedgesville came virtually out of nowhere to lead the COUNTRY in his class in stats.

 

 

Best Predicting Writer? Third Writer finished with 105/143 correct fight card predictions.  So listen to them this season.  Not Wide Writer who had 79…

 

 

We’re often humbled when we look back at our initial predictions.  Our hunches are usually on track, but there is always those players and teams that exceed and those that full short.  If we got it all right, it would be boring.  However, our scouting and research is ever-improving, and we hope to be even more accurate in our magazine and regional previews.  Who will be the unpredictable talent of 2018?

TOP 5 WV AA/A DEFENSIVE BACKS OF 2018

 

To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended.  The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined).  Not on the list?  Good thing it’s not even preseason yet.  Prove us right or prove us wrong.

 

Without further ado…

 

 

Honorable Mention

Christian Pack (Summers County) 2019

Aden Funkhouser (East Hardy) 2019

Keandre Sarver (Summers County) 2021

 

#5 Monroe Mohler

MM

School: James Monroe

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 5’9/180 lbs

This Maverick had a breakout year last season for James Monroe.  On a talented defense, Mohler stood out as a sophomore.  He was constantly ballhawking and making key tackles and even some takeaways.  Mohler is not your biggest horse but that isn’t a big issue when he flies in hard and with a purpose.  He looks to have a great football IQ and just needs to polish his footspeed and hipwork.  We look to him as being a consistent all-stater the next two years.

 

#4 Kole Puffenberger

KP

School: Pendleton County

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’10/180 lbs

Puffenberger?  Yes, the safety with the best name in the state comes in at number four.  Last season he battled some injuries while also trying to be their go-to on offense as well.  When healthy and rested, Puffenberger is a talented man in the secondary.  He has good speed, veteran instincts, and seems to be inon almost any tackle.  Pendleton County is looking to revive their success of 2016 and that starts and ends with him.

 

#3 JT Hensley

JH

School: Sherman

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’11/185 lbs

Pencil this name down West Virginia fans.  Hensley is the skill threat on a hyped up Sherman squad.  He’s been bounced around in numerous positions, but defensively, he is a fantastic back.  Many times he appears to be on a different level of athleticism and playspeed than anyone else.  His speed and vertical make throwing on him a nightmare- he also will make you pay with lazy throws.  A big-time threat.

 

#2 Jake Bowen

JBowen

School: Bridgeport

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’1/205 lbs

We have a feeling Jake Bowen’s name will be called a lot this year.  With him being the stallion of the offense many people might overlook how great he is on defense.  He had a knack for breaking on passes and not just intercepting it but taking it the other way.  Bowen is solidly built and adjusts his positioning depending on the teams they face.  He’s versatile and has the football ability to get away with it.  We look forward to many Bowen takeaways this year.

 

#1 Isaiah Johnson

IJ

School: Bluefield

Year: 2021

HT/WT: 6’0/170 lbs

We hope to have garnered the reputation that we don’t base our opinions on outside hype.  Saying that, we think Johnson could be a very special player.  He has legitimate next level speed and very good length.  As a rising sophomore, his hipwork and footspeed is already smooth.  What sets him apart is his potential in the run game as he already shows glimpses of being an aggressive runstopper and dominating tackler.  His ceiling is very high.

 

 

 

Who did we miss?  Let us know!  We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids!  Our next Feature Five Friday will take on the top returning quarterbacks in AAA!  Let us know who should be in there!

New Ratings System

One of the big news stories that has been rolling around the state is the possibility of a new ratings system for football. The ratings would give teams bonus points for every game that their opponent won, regardless of whether or not they won the game or not. This has put some into a frenzy and others saying that there isn’t much change going to come with the points change. There have been a few studies that show that in previous years, there has been not a whole lot of movement and in other years, there has been a ton. It all comes down to all close the competition is for that season. What I hope it does, is allow teams to not be afraid to schedule a little tougher.

For years, we have seen teams schedule light and sneak into the playoffs. That’s fine, some say schedule light others say schedule to the same level of their competition. It makes sense, it really does. What we have seen is that schools are now incredibly nervous to schedule the tougher teams in the state, where it is almost guaranteed a loss when they play. That loss can be massive when it comes to points and the rating system that we have, especially if you must go almost perfect to get in. The tough teams are now having to go far and wide to find games of teams who are willing to play. Most of those teams are powerhouses in their respective areas as well.

The ratings change makes a team like Martinsburg the best team you could play on your schedule. It is a guaranteed 9 or 10 bonus points per year. That could move teams rating almost an entire point, and that is with a loss! For a 5-5 or 6-4 team who is on the playoff fringe, those 10 bonus points can be the ultimate factor in them getting into the playoffs and not. It’s not punishing those teams who play a tough schedule anymore, it brings the discussion of strength of schedule into play and puts it into the rating. Teams won’t be begging to do this at all though, it will take some time to see the benefits of playing a top team in the state. One tough game like this is probably enough to have the benefit of playing a game like that. When you add the points up and do the math, there isn’t a whole lot to gain from playing many of those games. Playing one game though, can be all the difference between getting into the playoffs or sitting at home. Solves two problems in one sweep.

This won’t be the end all solution to the scheduling difficulties that we have been seeing around the state the past couple of seasons. There will still be teams not willing to play the top dogs or finding ways to game the rating system, it’s going to happen regardless. There will never be a perfect solution to making sure teams play equal and fair schedules for every team in the state. What I hope it does is allow the top dogs to have 10 games in a season, because when teams only play 9 games, those kids are being robbed. The SSAC should adopt the ratings change, give teams points for playing a tough schedule. They should also find ways to guarantee that teams don’t dodge other teams. Ideas such as playing a regional conference schedule, regardless of classification like what they do in the state of Virginia. That will obviously bring more discussion, but it gets people thinking, and that’s what we need.

TOP 5 WV AAA DEFENSIVE BACKS OF 2018

To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended.  The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined).  Not on the list?  Good thing it’s not even preseason yet.  Prove us right or prove us wrong.

 

Without further ado…

 

Honorable Mention

Kaden Rice (Morgantown) 2019

Griffin Adkins (Cabell Midland) 2019

Josh Kay (Ripley) 2019

 

 

#5 Kerion Martin

Kerion M

School: Capital

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’2/195

Martin has a significant frame to work with and great football instincts.  Also being a great receiver, he has the ability to get takeaways defensively.  He will be looked to as the Cougars try to improve their secondary from last year.  He has all the tools to make that happen- speed, length, and solid tackling.  A potential breakout star in 2018.

 

 

#4 Carlito Carter

Carlito Carter

School: Cabell Midland

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’11/170

A former Black Eagle, Carter had plenty of glimpses of lockdown ability.  He plays lengthier than what he is and has about enough speed to cover anyone in the state.  His run support is spotty but definitely better than most.  Carter’s new role in 2018 could have him shining in a stacked Scarlet Knight secondary and more freedom to make big plays.

 

 

#3 Teddy Marshall

TM

School: Martinsburg

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’1/170

Marshall takes on the underclassman role of a current dynasty.  He’s a two-way star and will be looked to even more in 2018.  He has awesome hip movement and enough grit to force an edge when needed.  Marshall goes against top competition early and often and his ceiling is very high.  Combine all this with excellent coaching a tried-and-true defensive scheme and you get a stellar player.

 

 

#2 N’iyjere Smith

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School: Hedgesville

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’10/180

Smith is the most explosive defensive back on our list. He’s tightly built and has pretty good athleticism.  He translates all of it though into very intense play which usually wears down his opponents.  Smith could use some technical work but no one can deny his big hit ability.  An underrated playmaker in the panhandle, Smith looks to help cement Hedgesville as an annual playoff contender.

 

 

#1 Grant Harman

GH
Photo Credits: The Journal

School: Martinsburg

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’11/185

Harman is one of the most decorated players returning in 2018 with two rings and two 1st-Team bids.  He was integral in a dominating Bulldog defense as he has a pure knack for ball hunting at the safety position.  If he isn’t closing on passes, he is also a hard nosed run stopper that plays with great leverages.  His responsbilities will multiply this season with so many new faces, but if anyone can handle it- it’s him.

 

 

Who did we miss?  Let us know!  We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids!  Our next Feature Five Friday will take on the top returning defensive backs in AA/A!  Let us know who should be in there!

 

Cover Athletes of the 2018 C&CO. Preseason Magazine? YOU DECIDE!

In our biggest project to date, we are attempting to release an incredibly in-depth and high quality high school football preview for the great Mountain State.  Each and every team gets the same amount of spotlight in detail and class.  While we piece together the information for over one hundred schools, we ask our followers to do one thing for us: PICK WHO IS ON THE COVER!  Football is a team sport and with the deep amount of talent in our state it was decided we would pick some of the best teams and three of their star players to be our candidates.  If any player or parent of those under 18 aren’t comfortable with them being a candidate, message us and we will respectfully remove them.  Voting begins today (vote at the very bottom) and will cease the last day of June.  

 

Now, let’s meet the candidates!

 

Bluefield

BluefieldBeavers

Juice Edwards – Deiyantei Powell – Arnold Martin

“Dam Good”

 

Bridgeport

BridgeportIndians

Jake Bowen – Trey Pancake – D’Andre Holloway

“The Forgotten Tribe”

 

Cabell Midland

CabellMidlandKnights

Ivan Vaughn – Logan Osburn – Griffin Adkins

“Fireworks and Motorcycles”

 

Capital

CapitalCougars

Kerry Matin Jr. – Breece Hoff – Kalai Clark

“Speed Skills, Speed Punishes”

 

Fairmont Senior

FairmontSeniorPolarBears

Connor Neal – Zach Frazier – Antonio Parsons

“The Final Step”

 

Hedgesville

HedgesvilleEagles

Malakai Brown – N’iyjhere Smith – Keenan Smoot

“Manhandle the Panhandle”

 

Huntington

HuntingtonHighlanders

Darnell Wright – Max Howell – Bryce Damous

“Hogtown”

 

Hurricane

HurricaneRedskins

JT Cooper – Nathan Roy – Christian Hill

“Seeing Red”

 

John Marshall

JohnMarshallMonarchs

Chas McCool – Justin Frohnapfel – Colby Cubick

“Still No Respect”

 

Martinsburg

MartinsburgBulldogs

Dewayne Grantham – Grant Harman – Jarod Bowie

“Dynasty Dogs”

 

Midland Trail

MidlandTrailPatriots

Cordell Lesher – Hunter Jones – Trevor Harrell

“A Team Down by the River”

 

Mingo Central

MingoCentralMiners

Daylin Goad – Drew Hatfield – Justin Barker

“What’s Next?”

 

Morgantown

MorgantownMohigans

Nick Malone – Ty Konchesky – Kaden Rice

“Last of the Mohigans”

 

Musselman

MusselmanApplemen

Blake Hartman – Tre Beard III – Sebastian Oldham

“Nothing Sweet”

 

Parkersburg

ParkersburgBigReds

Brenton Strange – Tyler Moler – Ryan Creech

“Stranger Things”

Petersburg

PetersburgVikings

Jacob Hartman – Doug Morral – Peyton Sindledecker

“Lurking at Bay”

 

Point Pleasant

PointPleasantBigBlacks

Cason Payne – Josh Wamsley – Gabe Hall

“Pleasant Payne”

 

Robert C. Byrd

RobertCByrdFlyingEagles

Robert Arnold – Xavier Lopez – Jaden Marino

“Reaching for the Throne”

 

Sherman

ShermanTide

JT Hensley – Layne Daniel – Justin Hawkins

“Roll Tide Roll”

 

South Charleston

SouthCharlestonBlackEagles

Zeiqui Lawton – Drew Joseph – Carlito Carter

“South C -> D Fense”

 

Spring ValleySpringValleyTimberwolves

Doug Nester – Owen Chafin – Zach Williamson

“Unfinished Business”

 

University

UniversityHawks

Amir Richardson – Logan Holgorsen – Ben Gribble

“Welcome to the Mountain Top”

 

Wayne

WaynePioneers

Mike Bartram – Johnny Adkins – Tanner Owens

“Pioneers of AA”

 

Weir

WeirRedRiders

Tyler Komorowski – Donovan Kirby – Reed Reitter

“Year of Weir?”

 

Wheeling Central

WheelingCentralCatholicMaroonKnights

Curtis McGhee III – Braden Price – Adam Murray

“In Progress: 2/3”

 

Wheeling Park

WheelingParkPatriots

Jermain Snodgrass – Jack Stakem – Dylan Wood

“Our Island”

 

Winfield

WinfieldGenerals

Nick Vance – John Covert – Jacob Huff

“Ready, Set, Reload”

 

 

 

VOTE NOW

TOP 5 WV AA/A WIDE RECEIVERS OF 2018

To some it might seem early but as players begin hitting lifting PR’s and getting in shape- the season has never quite ended.  The chase for a trip to Wheeling never ends, and we are taking Fridays in the current offseason to highlight the top five players returning per position in AAA and AA/A (combined).  Not on the list?  Good thing it’s not even preseason yet.  Prove us right or prove us wrong.

 

Without further ado…

 

Honorable Mentions

Jay Poindexter (Nitro) 2019

Reggie Redman (Keyser) 2019

Bronson Skeens (Poca) 2019

 

#5 Josh Wamsley

JW
Photo Credits: My Daily Tribune

School: Point Pleasant

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’8 / 170 lbs

Wamsley comes in at #5 already being the most prolific receiver in Point Pleasant history.  He is,without a doubt, Cason Payne’s favorite target and for very good reason.  He’s smaller in size but makes up for it with excellent route running and deceptive breakaway speed.  Very few dropped balls come from him and he plays with a toughness that defenses absolutely hate.  Wamsley will put up some great numbers come Fall.

 

 

#4 Antonio Parsons

AP
Photo Credits: Times West Virginian

School: Fairmont Senior

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 5’9 / 175 lbs

Parsons should be a common name around the state at this point being one of the most clutch receivers in big games.  He’s played in the biggest of the big and always stood out.  His ability to high point passes and make incredible leaping grabs is noteworthy.  He has few flaws in his game and if Connor Neal progresses as he should at QB, Parsons will have a heck of a senior season.

 

 

#3 Reed Reitter

RR
Photo Credits: The Herald Star

School: Weir

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’4 / 205 lbs

Reitter is the biggest pass catcher on the list.  As Weir’s do-it-all guy, Reitter has a heavy load.  Part of that job is using his crazy size to out leverage defenders and make big catches.  He also has the ability to make plays after the catch with good moves and decent speed.  Reitter is a little stiff in the hips but could potentially be a great look for a next level tight end.

 

#2 Drew Hatfield

DHat
Photo Credits: Wes Wilson

School: Mingo Central

Year: 2020

HT/WT: 6’0 / 180 lbs

Though Miner Mountain lost a legend, they still have an athlete who’s been 1st-Team All-State every year he’s been there.  Hatfield cemented himself as a top receiver years ago as a freshman dicing up secondaries for a state championship run.  Last year, nothing really changed.  He is elusive with decent size and undoubted play-making ability.  He is a very electric athlete and will affect games from multiple positions.

 

 

#1 Braden Price

bp.jpg

School: Wheeling Central

Year: 2019

HT/WT: 6’0 / 175 lbs

On a Single A squad already crowded with stars, Price could be the brightest.  Though used a lot as a wingback and for runs, Price makes an excellent slot.  He is quick with great hands and the ability to plant his foot and consistently get yards.  We’re big on his overall smoothness and natural technique for the position.  Price rejoins an offense beautifully set up for his success.  The Maroon Knights are loaded, folks.

 

 

Who did we miss?  Let us know!  We never shy away from people telling us we’re missing out on kids!  Our next Feature Five Friday will take on the top returning defensive backs in AAA!  Let us know who should be in there!