By GARY DOVE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Excitement is running rampant through all parts of McDowell County leading up to tonight's Battle of the Views, Chapter 4, set for kickoff at 7:30 at Vic Nystrom Stadium.
Those sentiments are fine with both head coaches for the fans, but both spoke in separate interviews, about trying to keep their respective teams on an even keel.
Remarked first year River View head coach Gehrig Justice, “I honestly don't get nervous. I'm not any more excited than last year (when he was an assistant) or the first year I coached…I think our senior captains have done a good job keeping everyone focused.”
Added second year Mount View head coach Todd McCoy, “I think we're ready. I just don't want us to be too ready too soon. They (Knights) were pretty high today. I don't want them to peak out on Wednesday.”
Continued Coach Justice of the players for both teams, “They're friends and family, so that makes it a little bit bigger than an average football game.”
Speaking of the Golden Knights' thoughts, McCoy said, “I think they feel confident that we're ready and going to have a good season.”
The rivalry, which hasn't really materialized in the three previous meetings, has resulted in wins of 52-18, 36-14 and 26-0 by the Raiders, who have concluded each of their first three seasons with trips to the Class AA playoffs.
During that same time span, Mount View was in the midst of a seven game losing streak in 2010, a 17-game tailspin to open the 2011 season and a winless string of 27 games for last year's season opener.
That streak was snapped with three consecutive wins in midseason last year, with much of last season's squad returning in hopes of bigger and better things in 2013.
Sophomore quarterback Chris Muncy, who started at that spot the last half of last year, “is throwing the ball well,” according to Coach McCoy.
Speed in the starting backfield will be pronounced, with senior LaQuell Martin returning at tailback and fellow senior Jamari Perry holding down the fullback position.
Martin ran for 986 yards last campaign in only seven games.
Channing Vineyard, also a senior, will be the split end, with a trio of juniors, all mentioned by Coach McCoy as having outstanding efforts in August, will alternate at the wingback spot. Those three are Andrew Hazzard, Tim Nowlin and Austin Dash.
All three of those wingback-candidates will start defensively at linebacker, where McCoy reports his squad is deep in capable players.
In order to take advantage of that, defensively Mount View will deploy most of the time in a 3-5 alignment.
For River View, senior starting quarterback Ryan Blankenship, who played several positions offensively in 2012, but did not start at signal-caller, has also had a good camp.
He will be joined in the starting backfield by senior bulldozing fullback Greg Marshall and junior speedster Jordan Wilson, at tailback.
Senior Joseph McClanahan and sophomore Tyree Baker will be the wide receivers in the spread Raider offense.
Justice praised the work of junior Matthew Thornsbury, at cornerback, in both Raider scrimmages, as well as senior Josh Click, who didn't play last year. Click will play one of the inside linebacker posts.
Around 7:30 this evening, about 90 young men will join the excited fans, as both coaches will turn their teams loose, no longer willing or able to control the players' enthusiasm for the Battle of the Views, Chapter 4.