Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

November 14, 2013

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GARDNER — PikeView High School has been existence for 19 years. This past Saturday the Panthers boys soccer team brought home the first state championship, defeating East Fairmont 1-0 for the West Virginia Class AA-A boys soccer championship.  

Wednesday afternoon the team was honored by the PVHS student body and Mercer County school officials for their accomplishments in a ceremony at the school gymnasium.

“It has been 19 years since this school opened and a state championship has come. Let this not be the last one,” said head soccer coach Bill Hopkins before the assembly.

Hopkins, in his first year as head coach spoke to the crowd about the joy of winning and something that made the moment even more touching than normal.

“One of the most special things to me when we won the championship and the boys received their plaques, (PVHS principal) Mr. Dissibio is on the SSAC board and was able to give the plaque to each player,” Hopkins said. “I think that was pretty special. He hugged each boy and I knew that was important to him.”

PikeView concluded the season with a record of 20-4-1. In state tournament play they did not allow a goal in beating Robert C. Byrd 2-0 and East Fairmont 1-nil in the title game.

Hopkins talked about halftime of the final game in which the teams were scoreless and his assistant coach asked him what he was going to tell the players. Hopkins said he told Corbett Calfee, “I don’t know.”

Hopkins said he ended up telling the team to “’Take this opportunity to make yourself special,’ and they did.”

Mercer County schools superintendent Dr. Deborah Akers, a graduate of Spanishburg High School, which was one of the four schools consolidated to form PikeView, related that construction of PVHS began when she first became superintendent and continued, “You are a very special school to me. This is a very special place.”

Akers congratulated the school’s girls soccer team, which also made the state tournament, and the boys and girls cross country teams who also advanced to states, and offered these words to the boys soccer team.

“We can achieve great things if we set goals, if we work hard. And if we make mistakes, we try again and we learn from those mistakes,” Akers said.

“The state championship mean so much to you today because of the athletic part of it. Life’s lessons from a state championship will mean even more to you as you go forward in life.

“Being part of the group, setting that goal, learning how to get to that great place in life, you’ve learned a wonderful lesson. Congratulations to you. I’m very proud of you.”

PVHS principal Ben Dissibio talked of his “bucket list.” As a member of the WVSSAC board he has presented championship trophies to many schools and two of those things on his list have been crossed off.

A graduate of Bluefield High School, Dissibio presented the Beavers with the state championship trophy in boys basketball last spring.

“When I gave the first one, I often wondered if I’d be able to give one to my school,” Dissibio said. “You guys have crossed that off my bucket list and I sure do appreciate it.”

PikeView offers seven fall sports and four of its teams advanced to the state tournament this fall season.

After the event, Hopkins talked about the boys soccer program and what the future holds.

“It’s something that hopefully we can have some pride in. It has been 19 years to have a state championship and hopefully this breaks the ice and we can get a whole lot more down here in different sports — especially for Mr. Dissibio, he’s been here the whole time,” Hopkins said. “The boys are so excited. It means a lot to them. They see that hard work and dedication pays off in the end. We talk a lot about that. It just doesn’t come easy.”

The Panthers graduate four seniors from the championship team and Hopkins is optimistic about the coming years.

“We’ve got a whole talent pool coming back, a lot of talent, a lot of very good players,” Hopkins pointed out. “Our expectation is already set for next year. Don’t back up, keep on going for another championship.”

— Contact Bob Redd at

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