By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The No. 2 W.Va. Class AA Bluefield Beavers take to the road for what they hope will be the last time until a possible state championship game in Wheeling, as they travel to Oak Hill to battle the No. 8 Class AAA Red Devils.
Both teams enter the game with a 6-1 record. Bluefield’s loss coming in week two to Princeton, Oak Hill falling in their fifth game to Point Pleasant.
Beavers head coach Fred Simon knows that the Red Devils have a potent offense led by running back Jalen Jones.
“They’ve got talent and you can be in the right place at the right time and that still may not be enough,” Simon pointed out. “Jones is very talented. We’ve got to really pursue and get him. We can’t expect just one guy to make the play. We’ve got to be ready to help out on that.”
Jones has rushed for 1,111 yards on 139 carries and has scored 15 touchdowns. Jarrell Green has added 562 yards and averages 8.5 yards each time he touches the football. Fullback K.K. Goodman has run for 373 yards and averages 5.5 yards a carry for coach Eddie Souk’s Red Devils.
Jones ran for 282 yards and four scores in the Beavers’ 51-50 win against Oak Hill last season.
“The Green kid does a good job too, he’s a good football player from the other halfback position and the fullback, Goodman, he’s good too,” Simon said. “They have got three good skill kids at running back and that makes it tough.”
Bluefield will counter with an offense that can use power, speed and the air to score.
“Our offense is getting where we can go inside, we can go outside and we can throw the ball some, so that makes a team have to prepare for all three,” Simon pointed out. “We hope to execute our offense enough so maybe we can throw more than we planned, or run up inside more, or outside more. We can mix it up and I think that gives us a good advantage.”
With the exception of the Princeton and Richlands games, Bluefield starters have not played into the fourth quarter of a game. It is a factor that has not escaped Simon, but he believes the team will step up.
“I hope we’re in enough shape,” Simon commented. “Richlands pushed us and nothing against those other teams, but we haven’t been pushed like that. Hopefully we’re in shape to do it. We’re going to find out because we’ll need four quarters this week.”
Bluefield is coming off a 61-0 win over Westside in which Bluefield’s starters played only the first half on both sides of the ball. Simon was pleased with the play of the younger Beavers.
“It was good to get the younger guys in there, Carlos Reed, Christian Oster, Seth Silcox came in and did a good job on the line. Defensively Ashton Shaw did okay, as did Matt Woodrum, who had a fumble recovery,” Simon pointed out.
“Those guys, at least getting in there more than they normally would, it was good for them to get that experience. I thought Andrew King did OK at quarterback, just getting thrown in there, I thought he did fine. It was good to see those kids get in there and see some action.”
This is only the second time this season Bluefield has played on natural grass and with weather a concern, Simon said he was not worried about playing on a natural surface.
“It doesn’t matter (where we play),” Simon said. “The way they make shoes now, they are good for turf or grass. It really doesn’t matter.”
Simon’s hope going into each season is for the Beavers to be ranked first or second at season’s end. Though the team is second at the present time, that does not matter to the veteran coach.
“We’ve got three more games to go and that’s what we’ve got to focus on,” Simon said. “We basically control our own destiny as to where we finish up. It will be up to our players and coaching staff to see where we end up.”
The Beavers after tonight’s game will host James Monroe and No. 1 Wayne to conclude the regular season.
Kickoff from Joe P. Duda Stadium in Oak Hill is set for 7:30 p.m.