Black Eagles' Reese still on the move
Trevond Reese has been a man in motion for much of his football career at South Charleston.
Shuttled back and forth between running back and receiving positions his first three years, Reese looked like a player with no position because he handled so many.
If the team was having trouble throwing the ball, Reese was at receiver. If the running game bogged down, he got moved into the backfield.
This year, for Reese's senior season, SC coach John Messinger and offensive coordinator Donnie Mays have decided to make use of Reese's versatility and move him around as part of a master plan instead of reacting to game situations.
"I like what they're doing,'' Reese said. "I'm a hybrid type of player. I'm going to start out in the slot, and they'll just move me around. It'll confuse most of the defense because they don't know where I'm coming from.
"It's nice to have the freedom that they give me to play slot or running back or receiver - everything.''
Last year, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Reese provided more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage with 95 rushes for 721 yards and five touchdowns, and catching 22 passes for 351 yards and five more scores.
As a sophomore, he was more into the ground game with 59 attempts for 462 yards and three TDs while catching only three passes.
One thing that hasn't changed is Reese's role as a team leader, owing to all his varsity experience. He, defensive end Ray-Sheed Coleman and offensive lineman Dominic Orcutt are regarded as the team's most influential seniors.
"The freshmen, underclassmen, they look to me for leadership,'' Reese said. "In practice, if I'm working, they're going to work. So I've got to make sure me, Dom and Ray-Sheed, we've got to go hard in practice because if we go hard, it makes the underclassmen go hard, and it makes the whole team better.''
Wayne, long regarded as a Class AA power, has also utilized a unique offensive strategy over the last decade or more.
The Pioneers like to lug the ball, and the more runners they get involved, the better. Last year, Wayne averaged 51 rushing attempts and 361 yards per game, and during the course of the season, used 23 different players to carry the ball.
Coach Tom Harmon said one of the reasons he's latched onto that type of offense are the vagaries of high school football, in which one or two key injuries can rob a team of its identity, and perhaps its success.
"I figure you always try to plan for those things the best you can,'' Harmon said. "Then when they do happen, in all honesty it leads to the type of offense we run.
"We could throw the ball around like crazy if we take the notion, but then you get to depending on it. If you run the spread offense, I think you're a sprained ankle away from your season being over - relying too much on one kid [the quarterback]. Plus, you've always got to think that when you're playing quality teams, and you've got one good receiver, you need to have two good receivers. You have Jerry Rice without John Taylor? You've got to work on Plan B.''
Harmon realizes that by dividing up the work among so many runners, he's not going to have anyone with overwhelming totals even if the team is thriving. When it comes to all-conference or all-state recognition, it could affect some of his players.
"When you look at our guys' stats, they might not be as impressive as some teams,'' he said, "but I'm not going to leave a kid in for the fourth quarter to break his leg. Maybe it hurts their [personal honors] now and then.
"But how many times have you been to Wheeling when the snow's flying and the wind's blowing and you get bad weather situations? Everything you worked for all year comes down to that. I like the sure thing.''
Winfield's T.C. Kester holds a claim to fame that most high school players in West Virginia don't. He's the son of a former Kennedy Award winner.
His father, Ted Kester, took the honor as the state's top player in 1985 as the Generals captured the Class AA championship.
T.C. Kester, a 5-11, 175-pound senior safety, is a four-year regular and one of Winfield's best defensive players.
"I think I set higher expectations for myself, being the son of him,'' T.C. Kester said, "and I just try to work hard to fulfill those expectations and those shoes.''
The current Generals standout said he sometimes seeks and gets advice from his father about how to play the game, but not too much.
"There's a big difference between when he played and when I'm playing now,'' T.C. Kester said. "Speed is the big difference, and I've been working on that, and just the things he's really helped me out with.''
Riverside talent dried up?
Perhaps it isn't so surprising that Riverside has made the Class AAA playoffs just once in the past seven seasons. Not when you consider the source from which the Warriors draw their future players.
Last year, none of Riverside's three feeder schools posted a winning record - DuPont was 4-4, East Bank 3-5 and Cedar Grove 0-8. DuPont won in the last seconds of its finale against East Bank to break even.
"You look back at that, and it's been pretty much the same the last three, four years,'' said Riverside coach Ralph Hensley. "They haven't been any better than that. We're trying to take kids and mold them into players, and it's really kind of difficult.
"People can say I'm just blaming them, but you can just see it in their records the last few years. I know when Butch Hughes and Ron Christy quit at East Bank Middle, that tended to drop the quality of people we were getting.''
Hughes and Christy, both veteran East Bank Middle coaches, stepped down in 2007.
Wood County wars
You think your school's in a competitive area? Try Wood County, where all four high schools made the playoffs last season - just the second time that's happened since 2004.
Parkersburg (Class AAA), Parkersburg Catholic (A), Parkersburg South (AAA) and Williamstown (A) all advanced to the postseason, giving Wood County at least one more playoff team than any other county in West Virginia.
"Everybody wants to be competitive,'' said Parkersburg coach Don Reeves. "To be honest, we know making the playoffs is a minor goal compared to advancing and getting to Wheeling and those kinds of things.
"Just getting there [to the playoffs] is not good enough any more. Everybody in Wood County expects that every year. Everybody wants to be good and get a little ink, and to do that, you've got to win games in November.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or email@example.com.