By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Ever notice that time flies quickest when on a deadline?
That happened to me as I was furiously trying to get the 2013 Blitz football publication ready to be in your hands this morning.
One day you are feeling good and optimistic about getting this 40-page tab completed with time to spare, and the next day it all gets away from you and you’re just hoping to avoid the ire of the press room for being late.
There were other plans for the tab that didn’t get included because of time, which seems to move remarkably faster as we grow older. Surely the day still has 24 hours, and there are still the same number of days in a year, but why does it have to be in such a hurry?
Remember — as I am sure any student can tell you — when the school days used to creep along, and you would yearn to get moving with your life. Now I wish I could start over again, and do over what I messed up the first and second and third times.
The subjects that needed to be covered were district play in Virginia, and a preseason All-Four Seasons Country football team.
First, the districts. I am, admittedly, still a little confused by the changes, but I am not alone.
On our very first football run way back on Aug. 8 — yep, it was a very busy 15 days to get all this done — Narrows head coach Kelly Lowe told me when I figured out how the new system in Virginia works, to let him know.
I haven’t called him yet.
Coaches and players still talk of winning a district championship, even if those districts have changed. Districts are supposedly no longer important — basically just used for scheduling purposes — but try telling that to Richlands head coach Greg Mance, whose Blue Tornado expect to still compete for a 10th straight district title.
It just won’t be called the Southwest District.
“Who knows, I have heard 87 things, I have heard the Western District, which is us, Virginia High, Lebanon, Abingdon, Tazewell, five teams,” Mance said. “So I guess we are competing for a district title, it is just the Western Valley, it is not the old Southwest.
“If they are going to put us in a district we will play a district schedule to use it and it will be a district title. If we win it, it will be 10 in a row.”
The same goes at Giles, where seniors Cody Rhodes and Brad Lipes have a goal of winning a third straight Three Rivers District crown.
What isn’t included any longer are region champions. That doesn’t sit well with Giles head coach Jeff Williams, whose Spartans won their share of Region C crowns over the years.
“We still kind of have a district championship because we still have districts, but then again when you get into the playoffs, there is no more regions, which is sad,” Williams said. “I really hate that, one thing that was a goal, once you got into the playoffs, that was goal you could try to achieve is trying to win a region championship.
“You know it and I know it, a region championship meant something on this end of the state. It had a lot of meaning behind it if you won a region championship.”
What matters now is simply to be among the top 16 rated teams in the West Section of Division 2 — in the case of Richlands and Giles — with the survivor of that four-round bracket qualifying for the state championship against the survivor of the East Section from the other part of Virginia.
That makes five weeks of playoff football in all six divisions in the Commonwealth.
There was also the case of an All-Four Seasons Country preseason football team. This can be difficult, much like picking the best teams because so much can change on a high school team from one season to the next.
Here is a guess at how the team will look when presented on Christmas day, which — speaking of how time flies — is only 124 shopping days from now.
All 20 teams in the All-FSC coverage area will be covered, which can be quite a challenge. That is why there are two teams listed here. There could be many, many more, but that is enough for now.
I have a deadline to meet.
QB—Gray Baker, Richlands.
RB—LaQuell Martin, Mount View; Colton Staten, Richlands; D.J. Stewart, Bluefield.
FB—Jacob McReynolds, Tazewell.
WR—Ben Brown, Richlands, Randy Horton, Honaker; Juwan Jordan, Tazewell.
TE—Cody Rhodes, Giles.
C—Chase Asbury, Graham.
OL—Tyler Blankenship, River View; Cody Gore, Bluefield; Corey Harsanyi, Princeton; Brad Lipes, Giles.
UTIL—Jason Grose, Montcalm.
K—McKenzie Phillips, Honaker.
KR—Jeffrey Bowen, Haysi.
DL—Anthony Cordle, Richlands; Khalil Douglas, Princeton; Terrance Martin, Narrows; Chandler Miller, Honaker.
LB—Hunter Cook, Graham; Corey Coppola, Bluefield; Frank Taylor, Richlands; Nick Wood, Princeton.
DB—Shannon Adams, Twin Valley; D.J. Edwards, Bluefield; T.J. Smith, Summers County; Trey Smith, Grundy.
UTIL—Aaron Rose, Bland County.
P—Dusty Boggess, Giles.
QB—Jay Palmer, Princeton
RB—Jacob Summe, Wyoming East; Brett Whitlow, Giles; Jordan Wilson, River View.
FB—Jamari Perry, Mount View.
WR—Charlie Benfield, Graham; Isaiah Brown, Summers County; Tanner O’Quinn, Haysi.
TE—Mark Large, Graham.
C—Christian Marshall, Princeton.
OL—Matthew Ball, Richlands; Daelan Caffee, Graham; Garrett Jessee, Tazewell; C.J. Lester, Mount View.
UTIL—Hunter Moses, PikeView.
K—Samuel Stowers, Graham.
KR—Tahj Sho-Johnson, Princeton.
DL—Dillion Bailey, Hurley; Austin Page, James Monroe, Brennan Wheeler, Bluefield; Dustin Williams, Montcalm.
LB—Daniel Barker, Bluefield; Jenson Doffin, Giles; Demetrius Duff, River View; Brady McClanahan, Grundy.
DB—Devin Allen, Princeton; Christian Hedinger, Wyoming East; Rodney Perdue, Narrows; Zeke Vance Richlands.
UTIL—Jessee Mountain, Tazewell
P—Drake Presley, Twin Valley
What happens now is observing how the season progresses and then checking it out when all the games are over, and the All-Four Seasons Country Team is presented on Christmas day.
Remember, just 124 shopping days until Christmas.
I have 123 days to go.
—Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. He encourages feedback at email@example.com