By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Three weeks ago, the Mount View football team was in the midst of an 0-4 start and a 31-game losing streak.
Two wins later and suddenly the ‘P’ word is being used in Welch.
First-year head coach Todd McCoy knows its a longshot since the Golden Knights have just one Class AA team left on the schedule, but that is still no reason not to be optimistic about the opportunity that lies ahead.
“I try not to talk about (the playoffs),” McCoy said. “Once in a while I slip up and say something. I can’t help it, but we try to keep at it down as low as we can and try to get us focused on one game at a time.
“This one worries me a little bit because it is homecoming, but I think we are going to be ready.”
Mount View has won two straight over Wyoming East — which was 3-1 at the time in Class AA — and Van, with Fayetteville coming to McDowell County on Friday night for homecoming.
McCoy is confident in Mount View’s chances against the remainder of the schedule, which will also include Meadow Bridge and Grundy, with a key matchup sandwiched between with Class AA Westside.
“I think the excitement is there and the intensity level is rising every week and I think we have got two we can win here,” McCoy said. “What I am hoping for is we go into Westside with a ‘We win and we are in’ attitude.
“We are going to have to win because (Westside) are the only double A school we have got left. If we win drop Westside and end up 5-5 we’re probably not going to be in.”
Still, just the fact that Mount View is taking playoffs is remarkable, considering the recent history in Welch. The Knights hasn’t reached the postseason since 2006, and have won just seven games since then.
McCoy thinks the Knights could actually be better than 2-4, having been in all four games they lost, including a pair of defeats by 6 and 8 points.
“When I got here in the summer the morale was pretty high, and the expectations were high,” McCoy said. “They were close all year, we have been in every ball game. “River View, we just weren’t mentally prepared for it, I still feel like we were the better team.
“We beat (Wyoming) East and East beat them so it kind of shows these kids we could have very easily been 6-0.”
If it doesn’t happen this season, McCoy is already looking ahead to next season. Only five seniors will be lost to graduation, including quarterback Teddy Hazzard — who will be replaced by current freshman Chris Muncy — and talented athlete Maurice Brown.
“We have got both running backs back, we have got our whole line back, we have got a couple of kids already committed to come out next year that didn’t come out this year that are linemen...,” McCoy said. “I like my seniors and I do what I can for them, but there comes a time in the season when you have got to go with your young kids a little bit and that is kind of where we are at. Some of them are stepping up and doing well.”
Part of Mount View’s problems with reaching the postseason is a schedule mostly full of Class A teams, which isn’t overly surprising since the Knights are the smallest Class AA school in West Virginia.
McCoy is working to improve that schedule, including the return of Bluefield in the future.
“We have already pretty much set our schedule for next year,” McCoy said. “Bluefield is probably going to have to wait a few years, but I would like to get them back eventually because that is a heck of a rivalry and it is close and a big money game for both of us.
“I don’t think we are ready to play Bluefield yet by any stretch, but we are going to pick up Mingo Central. We are going to pick up James Monroe and we are going to pick up Summers County.”
Other additions could be on the horizon. The Knights will be dropping some of its Class A foes, but McCoy didn’t want to say which teams just yet.
“We’re trying to get PikeView and Independence on there too and wipe out all the single As, but we kind of want to keep Man,” he said. “They have been good to us, they played us when nobody else would when we were real good and they were down and they kept us.
“We are going to keep Man around, I am not going to say who we are going to drop because I don’t want anybody (to get mad) yet, but we are going to drop a bunch of them and pick up those three for sure.
“We realize that to compete in double A we have got to have a tougher schedule.”
—Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. He encourages feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org