Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 19, 2012

Big games ahead for local high school football teams

Column by BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Four weeks into the high school football season and some streaks have come to an end, and others just keep right on going.

Perhaps this is the week some of those will end and others will begin.

The only unbeaten team among the 20 schools in the Daily Telegraph coverage area is Honaker. The Tigers are 4-0, with 5-0 on the horizon with Twin Valley. Getting to 6-0 could be tougher, with a visit to Richlands slated in two weeks.

On the other end of the success is failure, and seven teams in the local area are a combined 0-26. Some have had lengthy losing streaks, none that has lasted longer than Mount View, which has lost 31 straight, but the Golden Knights have been competitive and — mark my words — will break that streak before the season comes to an end.

Other streaks that are going the wrong way include Narrows (17), Tazewell (14), PikeView (11), Princeton (8) and Bland County (7). Here’s hoping all those end this year too, nothing is less fun than losing week after week.

Ironically, the longest regular season win streak ended last week when Richlands fell at Pulaski County, ending its run of 32 straight wins. The Blue Tornado has now had runs of 33 and 32 regular season wins in a row over the last decade.

That leaves Honaker with the longest current win streak at four, and makes the Tigers the top-ranked team in the area.

1. Honaker (4-0): Saturday, vs. Twin Valley. Black Diamond District opener for Honaker, which seems to reload every season. QB Ty Hall has thrown nine touchdown passes for the Tigers. Next game to watch: at Richlands, Sept. 28.

2. Richlands (3-1): Friday, at Patrick County. Injuries and penalties have been a problem, but QB Gray Baker (700+plus yards, 7 td) and WR A.J. Johnson (29-300+plus yards) have been productive in the last three games. Next game to watch: vs. Marion, Oct. 5.

3. River View (3-1): Friday, vs. James Monroe. Sophomore RB Jordan Wilson is already approaching 500 yards on the ground. Keeping this ranking could come down to their game in a few weeks with the Beavers. Next game to watch: at Bluefield, Oct. 5.

4. Graham (3-1): Friday, at Marion. Graham put a scare into Richlands before falling short, but Graham may have found a new weapon with Colby Hill at quarterback, allowing Spencer Sheets to be used elsewhere. Next game to watch: at Princeton, Sept. 30.

5. Bluefield (2-1): Friday, vs. Charlotte Latin. If turnover-free, the Beavers can be explosive, scoring 106 points in two wins. RB Montel Leggett has 360 yards and six scores in the last two games. Next game to watch: vs. River View, Oct. 5.

6.  Giles (3-1): Friday, vs. Tazewell. RB Ian Mann has run for more than 600 yards and at least seven touchdowns for the Spartans. Giles’ only loss came to Division 4 Christiansburg (4-0). Next game to watch: at Floyd County, Oct. 19.

7. Wyoming East (3-1): Friday, at Mount View. RB Jacob Summe has run for 525 yards on 88 carries in the last three games. The Warriors will face a View for the next three weeks, including Mount View, River View and PikeView. Next game to watch: vs. River View, Sept. 28.

8. Summers County (3-1): Friday, at Greenbrier East. The Bobcats, which finished 0-10 in 2010, won five games last year, and could do even better this year behind the efforts of QB T.J. Smith and WR Isaiah Brown. Next game to watch: at Meadow Bridge, Oct. 12.

9. James Monroe (2-2): Friday, at River View. RB Micah Deskins has emerged, running for nearly 500 yards, while sophomore QB Reed McNeer is developing into one of the area’s top young signal-callers. The Mavs two wins have come against winless foes. Next game to watch: vs. Bluefield, Oct. 26.  

10. Grundy (2-1): Friday, at Haysi: A win at Haysi and the Golden Wave would be 3-0 in the Black Diamond with Honaker left to face. The return of RB Nick Travis from injury can only help Grundy’s run game. Next game to watch: at Clintwood, Oct. 19.

11. Montcalm (3-1): Friday, vs. Hurley. The small school Generals have played four games on the road and won three of them. Thanks to a scheduling quirk and Ervinton closing its doors, Montcalm has just three games at Prudich Stadium this season. Next game to watch: at Craig County, Oct. 12.

12. Haysi (1-2): Friday, vs. Grundy. Haysi’s season-ending tilt with Honaker has determined the Black Diamond title for years. A win against the Golden Wave would keep those hopes alive. Next game to watch: vs. Hurley, Oct. 19.

13. Hurley (1-2): Friday, at Montcalm. Hurley rallied for its first victory last week at East Ridge. The Rebels face a school closer to their size this week in Montcalm, which is 3-1 and eager to avenge some recent big losses to Hurley. Next game to watch: vs. Honaker, Oct. 12.

14. Mount View (0-4): Friday, vs. Wyoming East. The closest of the winless teams in the area to a win could be the Golden Knights. They have scored 54 points over the last two weeks, but allowed 76. Mount View last won in 2009 against Big Creek. Game to watch: at Fayetteville, Oct. 5.

15. Princeton (0-4): Friday, vs. George Washington. Life never gets easier in the MSAC for the Tigers, who must face the Patriots, who have scored as many as 68 points in a game this season. Princeton has allowed 188. Next game to watch: vs. Graham, Sept. 28.

16. Tazewell (0-4): Friday, at Giles. Tazewell will seek to slow down the single wing, and have had two weeks to prepare after a loss to Blacksburg. The Bulldogs have been hampered by turnovers and have scored just 23 points in three games. Next game to watch: at Lebanon, Sept. 28.

17. Narrows (0-4): Friday, vs. Rural Retreat. Narrows has faced a brutal schedule, and have surrendered 179 points in four games. They will have two weeks to prepare for its MED opener with Bland County. Next game to watch: at Bland County, Oct. 5.

18. PikeView (0-4): Friday, at Shady Spring. RB Hunter Moses has gained nearly 350 yards, while sophomore WR Logan McKinney is developing into one of the better young players in the area. Three Class AAA schools still await. Next game to watch: at Independence, Oct. 12.

19. Bland County (0-3): Friday, vs. Eastern Montgomery. The Bears, who have allowed 60 points in the opening period, are hampered by low numbers and inexperience and have surrendered 140 points and scored just 19. Next game to watch: vs. Narrows, Oct. 5.

20. Twin Valley (0-4): Saturday, at Honaker. Another feline for the Panthers, who have lost consecutive games to Panthers, and now face the top-ranked Tigers. Watch out for Twin Valley the following week, their opponent has allowed 207 points in four games. Next game to watch: at Phelps, Ky., Sept. 28.

Fast fact: The combined record for the 20 area teams is 32-41 (.438). Ten schools have winning records for a combined mark of 28-9. One team is at .500 (2-2) and the other nine schools are 2-30.

—Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. He encourages feedback at bwoodson@bdtonline.com