Streaks finally end for Martinsburg, Mount View
Two long streaks came to an end in West Virginia high school football Friday night, stirring celebrations in two different communities in the southern part of the state.
First, Martinsburg's three-year winning run was halted at 32 games with a 36-33 loss to Westminster, Md., meaning the tiny town of Ansted in Fayette County holds onto its all-time record of 36 straight victories, accomplished from 1970-73.
Also on Friday, Mount View from McDowell County finally snapped its long losing streak at 31 games with an 18-15 win against Wyoming East.
Celebrations are becoming the norm every few years in Ansted, whose high school was swallowed up in the Midland Trail consolidation in 1976, but whose former players and current townspeople whoop it up when another lengthy winning streak somewhere around West Virginia bites the dust.
In 2006, it was Morgantown's 28-game run that came crashing down. In 2008, Wheeling Central made it all the way to 35 before it, too, fell short of Ansted. Then on Friday, the two-time defending Class AAA champion Bulldogs came up four shy of the mark, which has now stood for nearly 40 years.
"I think we're jinxing them. What do you think?'' asked Roger Eades, who coached Ansted to back-to-back Class A state titles in 1971-72.
Eades and his wife, Paula, who still live in Ansted, were quite aware of the streak's jeopardy when Morgantown and then Wheeling Central closed in on history. They couldn't help but realize it, since folks around town or some of the team's former players would mention it several times a week.
However, they hadn't really noticed that Martinsburg was creeping toward the record, and in fact, could have eclipsed it next month. They didn't get the good news until a reporter telephoned them over the weekend.
"No one had said anything to me about it,'' Roger Eades said. "I hadn't even thought about it myself. It really surprised me to hear it.''
Eades, 73, had become the de facto keeper of the flame regarding Ansted's record, since the school no longer exists and hasn't been mentioned much over the years. He doesn't exactly relish that role, but is always anxious to talk about the program's accomplishments with former students, players, parents or inquiring media members.
"I think they're more concerned about it than I am, though,'' he said.
"It leads to some interesting conversation, and it's always good to talk about, but we all know that somebody's going to break it. Records are made to be broken. It's been a while, though. I don't know if I'm going to be around if it happens.''
The good folks around Ansted can breathe easy for at least a couple more years. Presently, the state's longest winning streak belongs to defending Class AA champion Wayne at 13 games.
If the Pioneers keep it going, they wouldn't threaten Ansted's claim to fame until at least the tail end of the 2013 season. In fact, Wayne would have to finish unbeaten this season and next season to get there, and capping it with a third straight title would bring the Pioneers to 37 in a row.
Before Friday, Martinsburg's last loss came in the 2009 AAA playoff quarterfinals at Laidley Field, as the Bulldogs were beaten by eventual champion South Charleston 38-28.
The start of the Mount View-Wyoming East game Friday was delayed for about 50 minutes, but it was indeed worth the wait for the Golden Knights.
Mount View scored its winning points with 11:13 left in the game when sophomore Tim Nowlin recovered a Wyoming East fumble in its own end zone, wiping out a 15-12 Warriors lead. The play before that fumble, East set up at its own 1-yard line after intercepting a Mount View pass.
The Golden Knights dodged disaster late in the game when East later drove to their 2, but another fumble was pounced upon by Mount View's LaQuell Martin to quell the threat.
"It was just a feeling that these seniors haven't had since 21/2 half years ago when they beat Big Creek as freshmen - that was the last time they won,'' Mount View coach Todd McCoy told MetroNews. "These sophomores and juniors on the team have never won as varsity players, and it was just an unbelievable feeling. This town needed that win.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or email@example.com.