www.wvgazettemail.com Prep Sports http://www.wvgazettemail.com Gazette archive feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Derek Taylor: BOE made the correct call on SSAC proposal http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150709/DM03/150709225 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150709/DM03/150709225 Thu, 9 Jul 2015 22:18:03 -0500 Derek Taylor By Derek Taylor CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In the end it wasn’t the end, contrary to what several high school football coaches would have people believe via their Twitter accounts.

The West Virginia Board of Education on Thursday agreed to table a much-debated proposal by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission that would enable high school coaches to work with their athletes for 50 weeks of the year.

Instead of putting the measure to a vote, Superintendent Michael Martirano called for further study of the proposal, saying, “We need to think this through. There are a lot of things to consider before we vote on this.”

The reaction from coaches who have supported this measure was swift on social media. Most comments ranged from claiming the failure to approve the measure is representative of why West Virginia lags so far behind other states in its approach toward prep football to bemoaning the BOE’s perceived arrogance in not listening to those who know best about the matter.

I don’t know best about the matter. I wasn’t, as one coach put it, “in the trenches.” However, I do understand that in order to affect a sweeping policy change, an individual or a group must be best prepared to present its case, and the coaches of this state — quite simply stated — failed to do that. Instead, coaches brought a knife to a political gunfight and found that their opponent wasn’t going to even entertain their advances.

Not yet, at least. There is still plenty of opportunity for coaches of this state to get their way, or at least change the way out-of-season coaching is handled, in West Virginia. They just have to put their minds to work and maybe do a little research.

One glaring flaw in the proposal is that it, on the surface at least, appears to benefit only a comparatively small portion of the schools in the state. I have a fairly active Twitter account that follows coaches of different sports and different regions of the state from the Eastern Panhandle to the Northern Panhandle to Princeton and Pea Ridge. Not one coach from a school outside a densely populated area bemoaned the BOE’s call for more information before making a ruling.

That says a mouthful. Sure, year-round coaching will benefit programs at Martinsburg, Huntington, South Charleston, Woodrow Wilson and the like. Their enrollments are large and concentrated.

What about Webster County? Preston? Hampshire? Tygarts Valley?

No coach or administrator from a Class AA or Class A school cried foul Thursday. According to the WVSSAC, the West Virginia Department of Education and U.S. News and World Report, there are 46,331 students who attend Class AAA schools in the Mountain State. The total enrollment of SSAC member schools in Class AA and Class A is 40,373.

The latter number includes the enrollments of several schools that include grades 7-8 since the SSAC website does not differentiate those figures.

Nevertheless, even the removal of 1,000 students from Class AA and Class A school figures still results in a substantial number of students in West Virginia who do not reside in one of the state’s more metropolitan areas.

It is small wonder, then, that when the proposal passed a vote of SSAC principals to enable its being forwarded to the state BOE, the margin was a mere 54-53 in favor.

Not all Class AAA schools are in the state’s larger cities, either. In fact, SSAC membership includes 24 schools that are the only schools in their respective counties, a number that amounts to 19 percent of the organization’s membership. How student-athletes would manage the travel to and from school sites to participate in summer practices without the benefit of bus transportation is another concern that should be addressed in the proposal.

South Charleston football coach Donnie Mays made a considerable argument in favor of the proposal to myself as well as to Daily Mail Sports Editor Chuck McGill. Mays isn’t a revival tent-preacher, but he certainly swayed my own opinion on the matter as he makes it abundantly clear that the measure would benefit athletes — at least prospective college football players — in West Virginia. The ability for coaches to work with their players outside the currently allowed period in order to facilitate better exposure to college recruiters would be an absolute improvement over the current situation.

However, rhetoric must be backed by scientific data that shows this measure would benefit the majority of student-athletes in West Virginia, not simply those on an arc of potential college participation. If such a study could prove that the proposal would do such a thing, it would be silly for the BOE not to pass such a measure.

Comparisons to how other states handle their business is fruitless. The BOE isn’t making policy for Kentucky or Pennsylvania.

As it is, though, all the bluster from coaches about needing to be with their players more is just that: noise.

The best way to win an argument is to come prepared with facts, not emotion.

School board shoots down year-round coaching, calls for impact study http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150709/DM01/150709284 DM01 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150709/DM01/150709284 Thu, 9 Jul 2015 10:14:03 -0500 Samuel Speciale By Samuel Speciale A proposal to allow year-round coaching of high school athletic teams was shot down Thursday by the West Virginia Board of Education.

Asked to approve the proposal from the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission, an organization that governs high school athletics, cheer squads and marching bands, the school board opted instead to table the measure for further consideration.

"This is a topic that needs great study," said Superintendent Michael Martirano, later adding that the decision to allow out-of-season coaching is not a simple one.

While Martirano is not a voting member of the board, the former high school principal said his experience in schools gives him insight to how such a decision may play out in West Virginia. He said the proposal raises too many concerns at this time.

"We need to think this through," he said. "There are a lot of things to consider before we vote on this."

The proposal, passed narrowly by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission last month, would have allowed coaches to conduct practices 50 weeks out of the year, something coaches have said would alleviate the pressure of cramming summer practices into the allowable time frame.

The measure passed the body only by a 54-53 vote. It did not pass in past years.

That margin is concerning, said school board member Beverley Kingery. She also said she received numerous letters, in addition to the remarks collected during a public comment period opposing the measure, that indicated to her out-of-season coaching would cause confusion around the state.

"I'm not saying I'm opposed to this measure," she said. "But I want it to be studied further."

Kingerey suggested the board form a committee of coaches, teachers, parents and other interested parties made up of people who support and oppose out-of-season coaching. She said the committee should evaluate the proposals and public comments before making a final recommendation to the board.

"For the benefit of the students we serve, I do not think this is an unreasonable request," she said.

The proposal was one of seven the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission asked the board to consider Thursday.

The board turned down a similar proposal last year when the commission asked for an extended summer coaching season. Last year's proposal would have allowed coaches to conduct practices anytime during summer break. Before, they only could practice during a three-week period in June. The proposal never made it to a board agenda.

Contact writer Samuel Speciale at sam.speciale@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-7939. Follow him at www.twitter.com/samueljspeciale.

Chuck McGill: Year-round proposal draws wide-range of opinions http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150707/DM03/150709421 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150707/DM03/150709421 Tue, 7 Jul 2015 21:10:12 -0500 CHARLESTON, W.Va. - South Charleston football coach Donnie Mays sat at his desk in his classroom this spring, almost apologetic that he couldn't stop the words from coming out of his mouth. He knew this sports columnist was there to chat about recruiting, but the conversation continued to bleed into a much-discussed year-round coaching proposal.

The proposal will be brought before the West Virginia Board of Education on Thursday in Charleston. The Secondary Schools Activities Commission has submitted seven proposals for the board's review, including an out-of-season idea aimed "to enhance the development of athletes within the state of West Virginia by allowing certified high school and middle school coaches work with them year round."

Mays is a teacher and coach, sure, but the latter is seldom about Xs and Os. He wants the Jimmys and Joes to go to college, too, and he passionately believes in the year-round proposal. A large chunk of his time is devoted to the recruitment of his football players, and he said the process could be easier, simpler and as a result, more beneficial to college aspirants.

"I tell these coaches all the time to stop by and see us," Mays said, "but with the out-of-season coaching proposal going on it would be beneficial for us because these coaches wouldn't be limited on the time they could visit."

That, Mays said, is a deterrent for major college coaches. The Kanawha Valley isn't a natural gateway for coaches on the recruiting trail. The exposure limitations under the current guidelines frustrate him because, he believes, the system could provide so much more.

"It would benefit our kids to remain in the classrooms where they could continue their education and further their instruction, and these coaches could swing by in the afternoons so we could take the kids outside and throw, jump and run," Mays said. "Those are little things we're not allowed to do out of season. That's part of the reason they don't come here now."

That is something that bums out Mays. He wants his student-athletes - whether they're destined for NAIA or a top-flight Division I recruit like Derrek Pitts - to receive an opportunity at the next level, which would mean they're continuing their education.

He doesn't want a kid to miss out on that chance because of the current set of rules.

It's not a problem surrounding states have, Mays said. Not all of those states have year-round coaching, but the rules are certainly less restrictive. Some states are allowed to have spring football, for example, and that time period piggybacks college's spring football drills. Coaches can transition out of their own program's spring and into May, a traditionally active recruiting period.

The out-of-season coaching proposal passed by vote of principals, 54-53, in May and entered a 30-day comment period. There are Kanawha Valley coaches other than Mays who see the benefits.

Bryan England, the boys basketball coach at Winfield High School, was a three-sport prep athlete in North Carolina. There, England said, the offseason rules weren't as restrictive (aside from a couple dead periods). England argued North Carolina's setup steered him away from being a specialized athlete.

"It gave me more time to do all three sports," he said. "I was not forced to cram three sports into a three-week period."

England said some student-athletes are competing on AAU and travel teams in the offseason, but the high school coaches do not have access to the player. If the year-round coaching rule was implemented, it would be mutually beneficial for the AAU and travel teams to work with the high schools to better develop the athlete.

"Let's trust professionals to be professional," England said. "We can handle the freedom of responsibility because it can only be a positive rule if passed ... it's time for West Virginia to emerge from the dark ages and do what's right for the student-athletes of West Virginia."

There are plenty of naysayers, though.

Daily Mail assistant sports editor Rich Stevens opined about the year-round period in an April column. He outlined numerous potential drawbacks to the passing of the rule, including the additional time that will be required of coaches who are already lightly compensated; the potential for student-athletes to be encouraged to specialize; and the chance that some coaches simply may not want to dedicate more offseason time.

In short, Stevens is concerned about time, money and expectations.

The compensation - the per-hour payment will drop significantly without a increased stipend - and reservations from some coaches concerned one Kanawha Valley administrator. That person, who requested to remain anonymous, wondered if coaches in smaller sports would deem the year-round coaching worth it from their perspective and if it'd be more challenging to find coaches for those sports, given the additional time required.

Teachers and coaches are already stretched thin.

A Kanawha Valley football coach wondered if year-round coaching was necessary given that so many teams squander the days allowed in the three-week period. That same coach, however, said that some coaches already break the rules, so it'd even the playing field by allowing a less-restrictive coaching period.

"Some people do it anyway so that hurts the people who follow the rules," the coach said. "I'd like it better if they'd block out more time in the summer to force a break."

Mays, meanwhile, sees little downside to giving coaches more access to student-athletes. And, of course, it'd benefit recruiting.

"We are seeing more coaches here, but still not a lot of Division I coaches," Mays said. "If I had the opportunity to take the kids out in front of those guys, I would. But I can't.

"That's something I hope the board recognizes, again, that we need to have out-of-season things where we can help the kids."

Hurricane boys' hoops looks to replace graduated veterans http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150705/DM03/150709652 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150705/DM03/150709652 Sun, 5 Jul 2015 21:36:06 -0500 Michael Dailey By Michael Dailey CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Like any other basketball coach, Hurricane High's Lance Sutherland wants to win every game on the schedule.

And Sutherland has done plenty of winning in his five seasons on the Redskins' bench, leading the program to its first Class AAA state tournament in 2013, before following up with appearances in 2014 and 2015.

But the Redskins program has been hit with the loss of 16 seniors over the last two years, which will make a fourth state tournament run much more challenging.

Among those departed seniors are first team all-state selection J.T. Rogoszewski, second team all-state selection Trey Dawson - who also is the school's career scoring leader - and honorable mention all-stater Brandon Ford. For Sutherland, the abundance of change is a reminder of his second season on the Redskins' bench.

"It's going to be a learning experience," said Sutherland. "This team is like our team in my second year there. They remind me of that team and we went 13-10 that year. I think we'll do a little bit better than that, but as long as we're playing well at the end of the year we'll be fine.

"I'm really excited about the season. We're young, so we're going to struggle a little bit at the beginning, just getting chemistry and teamwork together, but we've got a bunch of good basketball players from our freshmen on up."

Hurricane, which is 42-13 in its last two seasons, returns just three players with any varsity experience.

Senior Ryan Midkiff will take over the point guard duties for Sutherland, who likes what he sees so far this summer.

"He's been pretty good," said Sutherland of Midkiff. "It's new to him because he didn't get much playing time last year, but he's getting there. He's got to talk a little bit more, but he's doing OK."

The other two players with experience are junior Braxton Dobert and sophomore Nick Muto.

"They know what we want to do and how we get there," said Sutherland of his returnees, "but this summer has just been about finding the right chemistry and the right mix of things."

Finding that right mix may extend into the early part of the regular season, but Sutherland knows that isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as the right mix is found.

"That's the good thing about basketball ... it's all preseason until sectional time," said Sutherland. "You want to win your games, especially against other teams in your section because that gives you home court advantage as long as you keep winning, but other than that, everything else is preseason.

"I think around mid-January we'll get rolling and I think we'll be fine come tournament time."

Alli Johnson showcases skills for SA in girls shootout http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150701/DM03/150709874 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150701/DM03/150709874 Wed, 1 Jul 2015 21:00:43 -0500






The St. Albans girls basketball team came within one game of last season's state tournament for the third consecutive year in 2015, and the program's potential depth and versatility of young players could help the Red Dragons finally break through next season.

Alli Johnson, a 5-foot-10 junior, looks like St. Albans' hidden gem. Johnson displayed her post presence at the St. Albans Shootout on Wednesday, where she scored six points - all in the paint - while blocking one of the team's two shots in a 28-25 loss to 2015 Class AA state tournament semifinalst and top seed Wyoming East.

The Warriors continued their impressive run through the shootout after getting wins against 2015 Class AAA runner-up Parkersburg South, Class AA runner-up Fairmont Senior and Class AAA semifinalist Huntington on Day 1 of the event Tuesday. St. Albans (19-6 last season) beat the Warriors in their only meeting in 2015 en route to winning the Big Atlantic Classic in Beckley.

Red Dragons coach Scott James, also the shootout's organizer, believes Johnson's versatile play will make her a big component of next season's young team.

"Alli is an all-around good player," James said. "She has a tremendous shot, can go to the basket and handle the ball pretty well, but if we have a mismatch we will post her up on the block and she will score from there too.

"We will use her versatility. She is looking to shoot, looking to penetrate, looking to feed the ball inside, and we aren't afraid to post her up," James added.

The Red Dragons struggled offensively in the Shootout, but are without two starters - seniors Kasey Burks, a 5-5 forward, and 5-9 Cameron Davis - who will be out until September or October. That is giving Johnson the opportunity to establish herself and for the team to build depth for the upcoming season.

"I'll play a really big role while these girls are out, just to get the team together and lead them in the direction they need to be," Johnson said. "I'm not too vocal, especially if I'm frustrated, but we are going to have to work harder in practice and come ready to play every day."

Johnson's complement in the post is 5-11 junior Haleigh Legg, who scored 10 points in Wednesday's loss. James has seen growth in Legg's game this offseason.

"We were just in Morgantown for a basketball camp and Haleigh was averaging 25-30 points a game," James said. "She is stepping up and playing more physical and running the floor very well. She is really just starting to just blossom. She really is."

The maturation of Johnson and Legg gives James optimism for 2015-16. Huntington outlasted the Red Dragons in a Region 4 co-final last March to keep SA from the state tournament.

"With these two on the floor," he said, "we have a chance every time."

Johnson averaged 11.2 points per game as a sophomore. She earned third-team All-Kanawha Valley status.

South Charleston girls hoops team shows promise in Shootout http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639907 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150630/DM03/150639907 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 22:39:04 -0500 Derek Taylor By Derek Taylor CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After spending much of the 2014-15 girls basketball season ranked as Class AAA's No. 3 team, South Charleston looks like it could enter the coming season with the potential to grab one of the state tournament's coveted top two seeds.

Rising junior point guard Aaliyah Dunham had 10 points and five assists Tuesday as the Black Eagles downed perennial power Parkersburg South 42-37 during the first day of the St. Albans Shootout at Tex Williams Gymnasium in St. Albans.

"They're the (state) runner-up, and we only had six players, so that puts us in a good position," Dunham said of what the offseason game could mean to the Black Eagles when the regular season begins in December.

"I know that wasn't their team that they can come up with in the season, but we should be right there too," Dunham said.

The Patriots were without second team All-State power forward Anna Hayton, who like South All-State point guard Taryn McCutcheon is a rising senior. South spent the majority of the game with its star player filling the role of a shooting guard while various others took turns handling the point. McCutcheon scored South's first two points but did not take a shot the rest of the game, as coach Scott Stephens seemed content to experiment with his lineup to find reliable support for the Michigan State-bound McCutcheon.

"I like playing against her. She makes me work," Dunham said of McCutcheon, who won the Mary Ostrowski Award in 2015 as the state's top girls basketball player.

"She makes me work on defense, too. She's so good it makes me better, so it's a good battle," said Dunham, who also was a second-team All-State pick last season.

South and two-time defending state champion Morgantown occupied the top two spots in the Associated Press Class AAA poll for much of last season, and entered the state tournament as the top two seeded teams. Such seeding is important for teams at states, as the top two seeds for Class AAA play on Wednesday each year and thereby are given a day of rest before playing in the semifinals should they advance.

SC coach Gary Greene said that the Black Eagles might not be ready to win a state title, but that the program is taking every possible step it can this summer to move up the ladder and better position itself for run at the championship.

South beat SC 64-41 in the state tournament semifinals last March.

"We intentionally got into every shootout we could here locally," Greene said. "By the time we finish (Wednesday) we'll have played 17 games as a team, playing the style of ball we think we want to play. Our defense has improved tremendously in the half court as far as man to man.

"Last year, we would lose people everywhere at critical times, so we're trying to improve that. But I think the maturity level is better with another year, we had a freshman, Lavender Ward, that came in and she's been tremendous coming off the bench, and all of them have grown up a lot. I think they're more zeroed in on what they know they have to do," Greene said.

Greene said that while SC dressed just six players Tuesday, two more were with the Upward Bound program and couldn't play in the first day of the shootout, while another starter from a year ago has been absent from workouts.

"If we go into the season with these six kids plus the two at Upward Bound as a nucleus to the team when it comes time to start playing games and such, we'll be fine," Greene said. "I know it's summer and shootouts and stuff, but looking at the new kids and how they're jelling with the other kids and the improved maturity level, I'm more than satisfied with where we're at."

The St. Albans Shootout continues Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m. with games at St. Albans High School, McKinley Middle School and the Active Sports Complex in St. Albans.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsreallyDT.

St. Albans Shootout brings in tops teams in the state http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629112 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150629/DM03/150629112 Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:04:33 -0500 Derek Taylor By Derek Taylor CHARLESTON, W.Va. - There will be no shortage of talent and competition at the 2015 St. Albans Summer Shootout.

Of the 33 schools that will send at least one girls basketball team to the two-day event that begins Tuesday and sees 100 games played at five different gyms in St. Albans, 11 qualified for the 2015 state tournaments at the Charleston Civic Center.

"We've got a lot of good teams coming in this year. A lot of the better teams from across the state don't play until the afternoon or Wednesday since they need to travel to get here, but we've got several blocks of games that are really good, I think," Shootout director and SA coach Scott James said.

Games get underway at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Tex Williams Gymnasium at St. Albans High School, as well as in SA's auxiliary gym and the gyms at the Active Sports Complex and McKinley Middle School, also in St. Albans. Tuesday games will also be played in the gym at St. Francis of Assissi School beginning at 10:40 a.m.

Shootout regulars such as South Charleston, Parkersburg South, Huntington, Bridgeport, Parkersburg, Tolsia and the host Red Dragons all see action with their varsity teams Tuesday. Each shootout game features a running clock for two 20-minute halves.

The 2 p.m., 3:40 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. timeslots could prove to be the most intriguing Tuesday. At 2 p.m., South Charleston takes on Parkersburg South and reigning Mary Ostrowski Award winner and Michigan State commitment Taryn McCutcheon, a rising senior point guard who recently was named the Most Outstanding Player at The Spartans' 2015 Elite Camp. South Charleston is led by rising junior point guard Aaliyah Dunham, an All-Kanawha Valley selection last season.

The Black Eagles and Patriots meet in SA's main gym at the same time Class AAA state tournament semifinalist Huntington takes on Class AA semifinalist and state tournament top seed Wyoming East in SA's auxiliary gym. North Marion's varsity squad takes on Ohio Division III state tournament semifinalist Proctorville Fairland at the Active Sports Complex at 2 as well, the same time that Class AA runner-up Fairmont Senior faces Class AAA quarterfinalist Spring Valley at McKinley.

St. Albans, which narrowly missed its first state tournament berth since 1993 when it fell to Huntington in a Region 4 co-final, plays its first varsity contest of the shootout against South Charleston at 5:20 p.m. at the Active Sports Complex. The Dragons take on Wyoming East at 10:40 a.m. Wednesday in the school's main gym, and will play North Marion - another Class AA state tournament team from a year ago - at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday before wrapping up their week with a game against Fairland at 5:20 p.m. that day.

James, whose team went 6-3 at the West Virginia University team camp a week ago, said his team is developing well in the off-season coaching period.

"We're playing well. One of our losses was to the Pennsylvania state tournament runner-up, and we beat a couple really good teams from Pennsylvania, too," said James, whose team features 2015 Kanawha Valley Rookie of the Year Jaden McDaniels, a rising sophomore point guard.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsreallyDT.

Ramsey looks to turn around Poca football program http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629194 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150628/DM03/150629194 Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:57:55 -0500 Chris Wade By Chris Wade CHARLESTON, W.Va. - New Poca football coach Seth Ramsey knows all about the challenges he and the Dots face, but it's one he is looking forward to.

Ramsey was the defensive coordinator last year for Poca, which finished winless at 0-10. When former coach Teddy Stewart resigned, Ramsey, a Clay County graduate, was quick to throw his name in the hat to fill the vacancy.

Ramsey was officially approved as the new head coach for the Dots by the Putnam County Board of Education on June 22 and went right to work in trying to turn around a struggling program.

"I am really excited and to be working with the kids," Ramsey said. "We want to get things turned around. Poca has won six state titles in the past and the people of Poca know great football. It's all about getting it out of the kids."

Ramsey believes being a part of the program already as the defensive coordinator last season gave him an advantage in the process.

"I think that helped me with the job and the familiarity," Ramsey said. "It helps with the stability. They know what to expect from me. I have high expectaions and demands. I think I can motivate them.

"A lot of it has to do with accountability. I've got a good feel for the athletes we have in the program and the kids coming back. I know what their capabilities are. I have a good rapport with the student-athletes."

Ramsey knows the challenges of a losing culture that have plagued the Poca football program, which has only made the playoffs twice in more than a decade after Bob Lemley led the Dots to three consecutive state titles from 2001-2003.

"The big challenge is the mental aspect and them getting over the hump and believing in what they are doing," Ramsey said. "I need to get the kids to buy in and start to believe in themselves, their teammates, and coaches."

Ramsey believes in the process, and that the wins will eventually come.

"I don't put a huge emphasis on winning right away," Ramsey said. "I want them to control their preparation, behaviors, actions, and thoughts. From my perspective, it is all about the attention to detail.

"The kids want to win and see the results. I'm more process-oriented and not outcome-oriented. If they believe in and follow the process, then we will start to see the wins."

Ramsey has a vision with what he hopes to accomplish with the program.

"I have a vision in three-to-four years," Ramsey said. "We want to start building the JV program, and get the community involved and take a stake in what we are doing. This year we want to win a game here and there, and get the momentum going.

"In two years, we hope to be in the playoff bubble, and in three years, fighting for the playoffs year in and year out. We want to get back to Poca playing how they did in the past."

Ramsey's path to being a head coach for the first time has included several influences, including where he played high school football at Clay County under Ron Sirk, who led the Panthers program for 31 seasons.

"I had the honor and pleasure of playing for Ron Sirk," Ramsey said. "He knows so much about the game and was a big influence on my life and helped me tremendously."

In 2013, Ramsey served as the special teams coordinator at Buffalo under coach Mike Sawyer. In college he played baseball at West Virginia State University from 2005-2008 under longtime coach Cal Bailey.

"Mike is one of the better play callers around and is a great coach," Ramsey said. "Playing baseball for Cal Bailey and Sean Loyd played a big role in me going from a boy to a man. They were big mentors to me in how to interact with young men."

Ramsey has spent the three-week out-of-season coaching period trying to get his philosophies in place, but has been spending more time on the offensive side of the ball with a new coordinator while he continues to help lead the defense.

"Defensively a lot of things are already in place so we haven't spent as much time there as we have offensively," Ramsey said. "We are trying to get the kids acclimated to the new terminology and schemes on offense."

Ramsey indicated he has about 31 players participating in the summer period and the team has played in 7-on-7 events at Chapmanville and Nicholas County in the past two weeks.

The Dots' new coach likes what he sees so far.

"They are getting after it and that is great to see," Ramsey said. "They are staying on task and have competed well. We have made some improvements and seen some things we liked and didn't. It's still only June and we still have time to work on things."

GW football aims to add more depth this offseason http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150624/DM03/150629467 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150624/DM03/150629467 Wed, 24 Jun 2015 21:53:31 -0500 Derek Redd By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The George Washington High football team is trying to develop both quality and quantity this summer.

The mission for coach Steve Edwards Jr.'s Patriots is to build depth through the offseason, so there's no need scrambling to create it on the fly during the season.

"We're going about it a little differently than we have in the past," Edwards said Wednesday while waiting for his team to take the field versus Woodrow Wilson High in Huntington High School's 7-on-7 tournament. "We're playing more guys and taking opportunities to get other guys in the game instead of playing one set."

The time to get that done is now, in Edwards' eyes, because time will be limited once fall practice begins. The Patriots will have just two days to conduct two-a-day sessions before school starts, and broadening the lineup in events like Wednesday's 7-on-7 tournament should allow GW to bring less-experienced reserves up to speed.

It's a new strategy and one Edwards still has to get used to himself. He doesn't want his natural competitiveness to get in the way of the overall mission. He'll always want to win, but he wants to balance it with the proper level of skill development.

"It's been really tough, but my assistants have done a good job of keeping me refocused in what we're trying to do," Edwards said. "And the kids have done a good job of doing it. I don't think we've lacked any competitiveness with the way we're trying to look for depth."

Corner Cameron Hoston saw that need for depth first hand. A sprained left knee kept the senior out of a couple of games last season, and he watched his backup grow as a player as he experienced live game action. They way GW is operating this summer, Hoston can feel confident his backup will be ready from the start.

"It's making everybody get the certain amount of reps that they need," Hoston said. "And everybody is developing to the player than they can be in the future. We do it in a way where people get to watch and learn what they have to do. That way, they know what they're doing and we can coach them into what they need to do."

Edwards admits the quest for added depth was born in part from GW's 5-5 season in 2014. The Patriots had made the playoffs seven straight seasons before staying home last year. He didn't want to be caught in the middle of the season again, forced to fast-track a player's development over a few days to get him ready for Friday night. He'd rather take his time before the season and through the season, so there would be no need to accelerate too quickly.

At Wednesday's 7-on-7 tournament, the Patriots took two crews of 16 players each. Throughout the summer, Edwards has seen less-experienced players become much more comfortable in their jobs.

Junior safety Ryan Moye said he could tell the difference in his development that has come with extended time on the field.

"It really helps me in the opportunities to see what's going on on the field and see what I'll be seeing in real life," he said. "It's really helped getting the field vision. It's a huge difference, seeing good talent out there. I'm getting better as time goes on, seeing the field, getting my steps and my backpedals down."

The Patriots looked good against Woodrow Wilson on Wednesday. Receivers regularly got behind the defense for long touchdowns and Patriots defenders came through with plenty of interceptions and deflections. Edwards hopes the strides GW takes during 7-on-7s translate when the games go to 11 on 11 in the fall.

"Everyone's getting a chance to do something," Edwards said. "It's helping us build a little team camaraderie and morale."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

South Charleston football still strong at skill spots http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150623/DM03/150629633 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150623/DM03/150629633 Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:41:41 -0500 Michael Dailey By Michael Dailey CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The good news for area high school football teams is that South Charleston lost a handful of talented football players from last season's Class AAA runner-up team.

The bad news is that there's a lot more talent returning than departing.

The Black Eagles, who finished 11-3 last season, will be led by returning seniors in first team all-state quarterback Kentre Grier and first-team all-state receiver Fred Crozier, the latter of whom led the state in receptions last season.

Grier's return makes things a lot easier for the Black Eagles' coaching staff.

"Kentre is pretty much a three-year starter for us and it's pretty much like having another coach on the field," said SC coach Donnie Mays as his team entered its second week of summer workouts. "He takes the lead and he understands what we're trying to do schematically and he understands route running as well, so he helps the receivers get to the right spot."

Also returning for the Black Eagles are senior running back Chrisjamar Perkins, who tallied over 600 rushing yards last season, junior receiver Derrek Pitts (6-foot-3, 180 pounds), who holds 15 Division I football offers, and most importantly, five returning offensive linemen, each with nearly three years of starting experience.

"I think the thing that makes it easier is that we return all five starting offensive linemen," said Mays, who named seniors Ryan Boone (left tackle), Andrew Bishop (left guard), Randy Adkins (center), Kris Haynes (right guard) and Anthony Holland (right tackle) as starters - at least for now.

"We have a lot of talent returning on the line but we wanted to create some competition, so we moved some of our bigger kids down there like Mataeo Arroyo, who was an all-conference defensive line player last year," Mays said. "We're going to challenge those starters and see if we can't push them to get better. If they don't want to get pushed, they'll get passed."

Those looking to earn reps along the offensive front are Korey Simmons (6-3, 290), E.J. Phillips (6-2, 260) and Nate Parrish, whom Mays called "the strongest kid on our team."

Still, there are holes to fill in the Black Eagles' starting lineup. Holes that will be filled by newcomers, both to the football team and the school.

The most intriguing additions to the gridiron will be senior receiver Deshaun Watkins, and junior H-back Tamon Scruggs, who will join the team from the Black Eagles' basketball squad.

"We went inside the school and asked basketball players if they'd be interested in playing and we actually pulled a few of them," Mays said.

Watkins, at 6-3, 180 pounds, will get a look among the receiving corps.

"He's a long rangy kid with great hands," Mays said of Watkins. "We think he's going to be a great football player."

Scruggs is the son of former Woodrow Wilson standout basketball player Anthony Scruggs and will add more athleticism to the roster.

Mays also pointed out sophomore slot receiver Coron Cordon and freshman Kerry Martin, Jr. as potential difference makers.

A pair of transfer players will also see playing time, in seniors Brayden Underwood and Malik Boddy. Underwood joins the Black Eagles from Nitro High School, where injuries have plagued the talented running back/receiver.

Underwood missed the better part of two seasons with ankle and knee injuries, but Mays likes what he has seen in the limited contact the two have had.

"He's recovering from an ACL tear this year, but he's a good ballplayer and he's smart," Mays said of Underwood. "This is the first year I've worked with him because he was at Nitro, but he's really sharp and a hard worker on the field and in the weight room."

Boddy moved to Dunbar from Fairmont, where he earned honorable mention all-state honors for the Polar Bears in 2013.

Mays compares Boddy to another talented Black Eagle player.

"He's a good player and he's really smooth and quick from the things I've seen from him," said Mays, who missed the first week of summer practice while coaching the South all-stars in last week's North-South All-Star Classic. "I look at Malik as another Fred (Crozier). He knows how to get open and he's smart when the ball's in his hands. He really understands what he needs to do to be a good football player."

Turf practice field will help Winfield football's preparation http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150623/DM03/150629636 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150623/DM03/150629636 Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:38:28 -0500 Rich Stevens By Rich Stevens CHARLESTON, W.Va. - There is little risk that the Winfield High School athletic programs will be making the move back to Class AA when the Secondary School Activities Commission reclassifies for the 2016 athletic year.

That makes the football team's new turfed practice field more valuable in preparing for an annual road schedule that includes games against teams that play on artificial surfaces.

Winfield's 65-yard-long artificial practice surface saw plenty of action on Monday with a visit from South Charleston for a 7-on-7 event.

To declare that fourth-year coach Craig Snyder is enthusiastic would be an understatement.

"We play a ton of turf games," said Snyder, whose team opens at Hurricane's turf field. "I think people prefer to play on a good grass surface, but the maintenance of turf, once you get it in, outweighs everything else."

The Generals then host Cabell Midland and Ripley, but are likely to visit both schools' turf facilities in 2016, barring a move to Class AA, where Winfield resided until 2012.

That's not likely, said Winfield athletic director Will Isaacs.

Winfield had the largest graduating class in school history this spring (209) and is expecting a 215-member freshman class entering the school this year. Isaacs said "the eighth-grade class in also big."

The turf practice field and the weight room, which was renovated to include new equipment last winter, will provide a boost to a football program that has struggled to maintain consistent success. The Generals last made the playoffs when they were a Class AA program, losing in the first round to James Monroe in 2005. The last time the Generals won a postseason game was 2000 with a 17-14 overtime upset of undefeated Clay County.

Wins and losses aside, Isaacs said it's "a much-needed upgrade."

"What it allows us to have is a good surface to practice on and have good, quality preparation," Isaacs said. "(The grass) turned into a mud hole by the middle of the season and that affects your preparation. Even when it didn't rain, it wasn't in good shape."

Snyder wouldn't reveal the cost of the work, but said the privately funded project was spearheaded by the General Foundation that receives pledges from the community and alumni, among others, including Putnam County Bank. Much of the labor was provided free of cost by Nitro-based Mouldagraph Corporation.

"Mouldagraph did a ton of work to reduce our costs," Snyder said. "Rudy Moulder and Mouldagraph have been instrumental in helping us with the field."

The field is 55 yards in length plus a 10-yard end zone. Drainage was installed and the field is "a little shorter" than the standard 2.5-inch turf on playing fields, Snyder said.

The coach said, "it's a lot less expensive than doing a game field."

"The field is very functional," Snyder said. "It's been finished about two and-a-half weeks and we've been practicing on it for a week."

There are no plans to turf Winfield's game field, an ongoing trend that includes the three Logan County high school facilities - at Logan, Chapmanville and Man - receiving turf fields that will be ready for this season.

"That's about a three-quarters-of-a-million-dollar project," Isaacs said. "We'll resod the playing field and we have a little sod farm behind the tennis court to put down pieces when they need it."

Snyder, who has been at Winfield High School since 1996, owns a 10-20 record in his three seasons.

The Generals are members of the Mountain State Athletic Conference and is locked into the league's schedule through the 2016 season.

"In 2017, we have a little more freedom," Snyder said. "We have 10 MSAC opponents and the minimum is six. We'll always play Hurricane, because it's a rivalry, but we might have a little more balance in a couple years."

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail.

Hoover's Grose to walk on to Marshall men's hoops http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629725 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150622/DM03/150629725 Mon, 22 Jun 2015 23:04:44 -0500 Marshall men's basketball


CHARLESTON, W.Va.- Herbert Hoover High boys basketball player Brad Grose will join the Marshall men's basketball team as a preferred walk-on. The 6-foot-7 former Husky averaged 18.1 points for Hoover as a senior after transferring from Captial High. He earned honorable mention on the 2015 Class AA All-State team.

Marshall is stockpiling local talent as walk-ons. A pair of Class AA first-teamers, Poca's Noah Frampton and Spring Valley's Jacob Kilgore, the 2015 Evans Award winner as West Virginia's top boys basketball player, both will walk on to the Thundering Herd.

Greene ready for task of coaching Capital hoops team http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150621/DM03/150629843 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150621/DM03/150629843 Sun, 21 Jun 2015 21:56:17 -0500 Chris Wade By Chris Wade CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Father's day took on a whole new meaning for Matt and Rick Greene.

Rick Greene, who has been the head basketball coach at George Washington since 1998 - his second stint there - has been the role model for son Matt.

Matt Greene spent his first Father's Day as a head coach at Capital, replacing Carl Clark earlier this month, and has been working with the Cougars for just a few days after beginning the three-week coaching period on Friday.

"Getting this opportunity to be a head coach makes me appreciate him even more," Matt Greene said. "He has been supporting and guiding me the right way all my life. I couldn't have asked for a better dad or relationship. We are extremely tight."

Being around the game of basketball, Greene believes he has the foundation of what it takes to be a good coach like his dad.

"Growing up and being around him and the game, I've been very fortunate to see what I have seen and to be the son of a head coach," said Greene, who spent more than eight seasons in two stints as an assistant at West Virginia State. "It's very beneficial. He has seen just about everything."

Greene, who played basketball and graduated from GW in 1998 and West Virginia State in 2004, has always had aspirations to be a coach.

"To be honest, I knew I wanted to be a coach ever since I was playing," he said. "I knew I wanted to be around the sport. I knew with my limited skills that I wasn't going to always get to play at a certain level so I would have to get into coaching."

A lot of the chatter, according to Greene, has been the fact that GW and Capital are rivals in basketball and that the father and son will be coaching against each other leading their respective programs, but he doesn't see it that way.

"I guess you could say it's been a bit of irony with me and my dad, and the two schools are rivals," Greene said. "A lot of people have talked about the rivalry and everything but when it comes down to it, it's GW vs Capital and not about me vs my dad."

Greene got his first opportunity of being a head coach when Capital began its three-week coaching period last Friday.

The first day was an introductory session, and Greene indicated things will get cranked up this week. Capital is set for two big events with the team - at State and George Washington High School.

"We met with the team and started getting something together," Greene said. "Friday was good. All of the guys worked really hard. We did a few drills and talked about a few different things.

"We had eight or nine and had several guys out of town. Several have reached out to me and will be starting up soon. We are excited to get going this week and see who all we have."

Greene knows how important the three-week session is to get acquainted with the team.

"The three-week period is very valuable," Greene said. "It is good because it gives me and opportunity to get out and coach. We will get them in game situations and see how they respond.

"I look at it as an evaluation stage. I have in mind what I want to accomplish. It's just a matter of how many we have back, what we have now, and what all we can do. It's just a matter of finding out how quickly we can do certain things."

Capital returns a lot of talent off of last year's 19-4 regional co-final team.

The top two scorers back are wing Miguel Bays (13 points per game) and point guard Leandre Rogers (10.7), both of whom were also defensive stalwarts.

Greene feels the adjustment period will be made smoother by his teaching at Capital High School the past eight years.

"It is a very good fit for me," Greene said. "Teaching has given me the chance to be in the building every day and know the kids already so I think that gives me a good head start into coaching there. I know the school and the community. I've grown to love Capital."

Greene also believes his time as an assistant coach at State under Bryan Poore is also a big help. The program won two regular season West Virginia Conference championships, three WVC tournament titles, and made five regional appearances during his time there.

"I've been in a great situation with coach Poore and West Virginia State," Greene said. "I've been very fortunate to work under him for the past several years. Every since my freshman year, I got to see him build the program to where it became.

"I saw all the hard work and what all it took to build a great program. What helps out as well is most of the players we recruited is similar to the same type of players I will have at Capital. Being at the college level, I hope I can prepare them for the next level."

Greene also hopes to maintain a level of success at Capital.

"I want to have a first-class program," Greene said. "Capital has had a lot of success in the past and I just want to build off that. We want to keep growing the program and take it to the highest level we can. It's a great opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to representing Capital."

Power ends first half with loss to Hickory http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150621/DM03/150629844 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150621/DM03/150629844 Sun, 21 Jun 2015 21:53:32 -0500 Derek Redd By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Power's journey into the South Atlantic League's All-Star break turned sour in Sunday's seventh inning against the Northern Division-champion Hickory Crawdads.

Hickory tagged West Virginia for seven runs on eight hits, including a three-run Jairo Beras home run, to obliterate the Power's two run lead and ultimately win, 10-5, in the teams' first-half finale.

Despite some struggles at the end of the SAL's first half, the Power's players and manager, Brian Esposito, feel a solid foundation was built for the second half.

"I'll always hunt the good stuff and look for the stuff we did well more than the stuff we did wrong," Esposito said. "I have a pretty good list of things we did well." That list starts with the basics - developing a daily routine, attacking the work day and developing camaraderie in the clubhouse - that players on this level must learn. A lot of guys, Esposito said, came to the Power not knowing what to expect, but figured things out quickly.

"It would be unfair to these players and unfair to a lot of people for me to ask them to turn a 6-4-3 (double play) when this player has a hard time making sure that he shaves and comes to the ballpark and wearing the right clothes. That's the first thing we started attacking ... this group of guys is a very special group who went above and beyond living up to the expectations and standards set for them."

He also appreciated the competitiveness he saw from the team in the first half, how the players kept fighting regardless of the score or how their last outing went.

Power starter Stephen Tarpley showed that Sunday. In his last start, June 15 versus Augusta, he was tagged for five runs, all earned, on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He went 5 2/3 again Sunday. This time, he allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

"I definitely kept the ball down a lot," Tarpley said. "Moved some feet, used my two-seam well and kept guys off balance all day. I got a lot of weak contact and tried to get my team far into the game without having to bring relief in early."

Relief pitching wasn't West Virginia's strong suit Sunday. When Carlos Arroyo opened the seventh with a single off Power reliever John Sever, the lefty could do nothing to stem the tide. He gave up Beras' homer, two triples, two doubles and three singles in that frame. What was a 5-3 West Virginia lead became a 10-5 Crawdads advantage. Sever took the loss, allowing seven runs, all earned, on nine hits with no walks or strikeouts.

Esposito said those struggles are an example of an area of improvement for his team - pitchers recording that first strike early and keeping an advantage over the hitters.

"If you're able to pound the strike zone and get ahead of hitters, you're already in the driver's seat," Esposito said. "We've already seen that and we just want to be more consistent in going ahead, pounding and getting strike one. You get strike one and we're in business."

This past weekend's series could have been for the SAL's Northern Division crown, if not for West Virginia's slump over its final 12 games of the first half. The Power won just three of them, turning a 2½-game deficit at the start of the home stretch into a 7½-game gap after Sunday.

West Virginia fell behind 1-0 after the first inning of Sunday's first-half finale, but rebounded for three runs in the second. Chase Simpson's single scored Jerrick Suiter and an outfield error allowed Simpson to sprint to third. Then Elvis Escobar cracked a proper triple to center to send Simpson home. Escobar scored on Jeff Roy's sacrifice bunt. The Power added runs in the third and fifth, but went quiet after that.

West Virginia has four entrants in Tuesday's SAL All-Star game - outfielder Escobar, infielder Simpson and pitchers Yeudy Garcia and Junior Lopez. The Power still has two opportunities to jump into the league playoffs. It can qualify by winning the Northern Division's second half. Or, if Hickory also wins the second half, West Virginia can make the postseason with the division's second-best overall record.

Tarpley feels the Power can vault into the season's second half and contend for one of those spots.

"We've got a great team here, a great group of guys," Tarpley said. "We've been playing really good ball lately, we just haven't come out on the right side of it. That's all I can say. We're keeping our heads up and still pounding the ball, both as pitchers and hitters. We're just going to keep our heads up and keep pounding away."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

South smothers North in light-scoring prep All-Star game http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150621/DM03/150629900 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150621/DM03/150629900 Sun, 21 Jun 2015 09:57:32 -0500 Michael Dailey By Michael Dailey CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The South Cardinals' defense developed the motto "be mean and nasty" during its week-long preparation for the 62nd North-South All-Star Football Classic.

And on Saturday evening, that's exactly what they were.

With a little help from a steady downpour that lasted the entire first half, the South was able to counter anything the North offense ran its way en route to a smothering 7-0 win at soggy University of Charleston Stadium.

The win was the sixth straight for the South and the ninth in the last 10 contests.

The South limited the North to just 113 total yards (89 rushing, 24 passing) and just seven first downs, while collecting five fumble recoveries and an interception along the way.

"We practiced like that all week by doing pursuit drills and all that stuff," said South Most Valuable Player Noah Hancock, who lived in the Bears' backfield for much of the evening. "We had the mindset that the defense would set the standard for us and our motto was to be mean and nasty and that's what we wanted to do out here tonight.

"I thought I'd be OK, but I didn't expect to win the MVP," continued the Woodrow Wilson High graduate. "Just running around out there felt good and reminded me of my times at Woodrow. It's good to go out with a win."

The game was sloppy from the outset with the North taking the game's first possession and running just three plays before fumbling the ball at the South 42. Hancock recovered for the Cardinals.

The South's first possession was equally short, as Cabell Midland's Alex Childers fumbled on the team's third play. Parkersburg's Max Chefren, who earned North MVP honors, recovered to set the Bears up at midfield.

A 3-yard punt by South Charleston's Jacob Gordon midway through the first quarter, set the North up at the Cardinals' six yard line, but Cabell Midland's Brady Elkins recovered a fumbled snap on second down to thwart the drive.

After a South punt, the North took over at the South 22, but lost its third fumble of the first quarter when Ravenswood's Rhys Jelich recovered a Deonte Glover miscue inside the South 5-yard line.

South Charleston's Terron Robison helped the South stop two more North drives in the second quarter with a fumble recovery (the North's fourth of the half) and an interception of North quarterback of Weir's William Larch.

"The weather was definitely challenging, but we had some opportunities where we were knocking on their door," Wheeling Central and North coach Mike Young said. "We were inside their 10 yard line twice and came up empty. But I can't talk enough about how hard our kids played. Bad breaks just hurt us and kept us from getting a couple of scores."

The North defense was equally as challenging to the South, which mustered just 243 yards, 199 of which came on the ground.

Childers led all rushers with 58 yards on 14 carries, while former Capital High standout and Kennedy Award winner Kashuan Haley tallied 49 yards on 15 totes.

The Cardinals were able to finally crack the goal line thanks to a 46-yard, 4:30 touchdown drive that was capped by a five yards touchdown pass from Justin Cogar (Westside) to former Ripley standout Jake Martin.

Martin snared the pass after it slipped through Childers' outstretched hands.

"It was a roll pass and was supposed to run a streak, which I did, but we were so close to the end zone I just kind of cut off the route," Martin said. "Our kid (Childers) ran an out and the pass to him was kind of high and it went through his hands and I was just in the right place at the right time.

"It's the best feeling in the world. It's been a blast. I've made a lot of friends and we're doing what we love to do. It's the last high school football game and I wouldn't have wanted to spend it with anybody else."

Deonte Glover paced the North with 42 yards on 15 carries, but the lack of passing production and the numerous giveaways eliminated any real second half threats by the Bears.

"There's only so much you can do in a week, but the kids did good," South and Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons said. "The defense played extremely well, so the hats off to them. The North eliminated our big plays and it was just a good game on both sides. It was a lot of fun.

"It was hard with the rain and everything, but that's the way football is...you've got to play in it. I thought the kids responded well and they started picking up the physicality in the second half.

"It just comes down that you can only do so much. It was just a sloppy game in the first half, but things settled down in the second half and the kids had fun, that's the most important thing."

Kanawha County products lead South to comeback hoops win http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150620/DM03/150629935 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150620/DM03/150629935 Sat, 20 Jun 2015 08:10:39 -0500 Chris Wade By Chris Wade CHARLESTON, W.Va. - On the basketball court, there is no love lost between rivals Capital and George Washington.

Representatives from the two schools, though, teamed up in a big way as Jonah Cosby and Jordan Kinney helped lead the South to a 115-106 come-from behind victory in Friday's North-South All Star Basketball Classic at the South Charleston Community Center.

The two combined for 52 of the 115 points as Cosby, who was a standout at GW, scored a game-high 32 points and earned MVP honors for the South. Kinney, the Capital product, tallied 20 points.

"Over the summer, we play AAU together so we are used to playing with each other," Cosby said. "Me and (Kinney) talked that we were going to come out and play as hard as we could in the second half until we got subbed out."

Cosby was happy to get the MVP honors, especially on the same court he was a star on while at South Charleston before transferring to GW for his senior season.

"It feels great and was a wonderful experience," Cosby said. "It was fun coming out here and playing on this court again in front of some great fans. I was real comfortable because I come down here every day and shoot around with some people. I just felt at home."

Things looked bleak for the South as it trailed 79-55 early in the second half, but that is when Cosby and Kinney went to work. The two scored 10 straight points for their team during a stretch that saw the lead cut to just 11.

The North still led by 13 when Cosby scored eight points and Kinney four as the two tallied 12 of the South's next 15 points to cut the lead all the down to 93-91.

Poca's Noah Frampton tied the game at 93-93, wiping out what was once a 24-point North lead. The game remained tied when Jacob Kilgore, the Player of the Year from Spring Valley, scored eight straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to give the South a 106-98.

"The team kept getting behind me and told me to keep shooting or we weren't going to win," Kilgore said. "After I hit the first one, I was in the zone. I was able to step up and it felt great."

The North was far from finished, as a 8-0 run of its own tied things up at 106-106. Tavon Horton, who earned MVP honors for the North with his team-high 16 points, drained two 3-pointers during the stretch.

The South, though, closed the game out on a 9-0 run. Frampton hit two free throws to give the South the lead, Justin Cogar tipped in a miss, Kinney made a layup, and Cosby converted three free throws.

"At first we were just playing around because it was an all star game," Kinney said. "In the locker room, we told the team we wanted to win this and to take it more seriously. We came out in the second half with more intensity. I wanted to win."

Haley closes prep career at home in North-South football game http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150618/DM03/150619216 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150618/DM03/150619216 Thu, 18 Jun 2015 21:03:12 -0500 Tom Bragg By Tom Bragg CHARLESTON, W.Va. - In becoming the first Kennedy Award winner in Capital football history, Kashuan Haley put on a show for the Cougar fans who flocked to University of Charleston Stadium during a 13-0 state championship season.

Every good act deserves an encore. For Haley, that opportunity comes this weekend.

Haley headlines a talented group of senior all-stars taking part in Saturday's North-South Football Classic at UC Stadium that includes three of his Capital teammates - Jordan Kinney, who caught four touchdown passes in the Class AAA title game and was named the game's Most Valuable Player, and soon-to-be Glenville State Pioneers Tyrell Davis and Jonathon Burkes.

For Haley, it is one last chance to put on the pads and play with his pals on their home field before heading off to begin a collegiate career at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa.

"Going back to Laidley (UC Stadium) on Friday to practice might be a good feeling, but playing on Saturday will be the best feeling I'll have," he said. "I've been playing with Jordan since I was like six years old. From flag until now. Tyrell, I played against him from flag up until A-team in midget league. We all combined as a group up at Capital and we got a state championship.

"I don't know what I'd do without Jordan. That's been my buddy since I was like two years old. I'm going to miss them."

The last time Haley played a game on Charleston's East End he ran for two touchdowns and 115 yards on 15 carries in an emotionally charged 35-7 state semifinal win against four-time defending AAA state champion Martinsburg and helped the Cougars erase the bad memories from a semifinal loss against the Bulldogs in 2013.

"The last time I played there is when we beat Martinsburg," Haley said. "We're going to go out here and win hopefully. We've been working hard. "

Another participant might not have the fond memories of UC Stadium that the Capital trio does, but South Charleston running back/linebacker Terron Robinson enters the game after serving as a team captain for the Black Eagles' AAA runner-up team last season.

Robinson, listed as a running back/linebacker, said the opportunity to represent his school and his community was an honor and that he is excited to be able to finish his football career with Donnie Mays - SC head coach and South assistant this week - on the sideline.

"It's a great experience," he said. "It's probably my last time suiting up and I'd never turn down my last shot to support my Black Eagle family."


IF UC STADIUM is a cozy home for Haley and something of a familiar beast for Robinson, it is a different world for many of the players participating in Saturday's game.

Marquis Frazier was a standout in football and wrestling during his prep career at Greenbrier West that included multiple first team all-state selections with an appearance in the 2013 Class A state championship game on the gridiron as well as multiple state championships and a Class AA/A Most Outstanding Wrestler Award on the mat.

Despite that, Frazier, one of six North-South players from a Class A school, said the chance to play under the lights in a college stadium were few and far between in his career with the Cavaliers.

"Coming from a school like Greenbrier West and small town and being the star, then coming down here and playing with these stars, it's different," he said. "I've just got to work harder. That's enough motivation to keep me going hard in practice. Out on the field it's no different."


KENNEDY AWARD finalist and future West Virginia walk-on Justin Cogar from Westside, Point Pleasant's Aden Yates and Wayne's Grant Ferguson will handle the bulk of the quarterbacking duties for the South. It will likely be Cogar's last game as a quarterback with a transition to a tight end or H-back role expected at WVU.

For the North, Dakota Watson from Class A state champion Williamstown and Weir's William Larch are listed as the quarterbacks. Musselman standout running back/linebacker Deonte Glover, another WVU walk on, leads the way among the six running backs listed on the North's roster.

Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at tom.bragg@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.

Future Marshall teammates suit up for the South hoops team http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150618/DM03/150619217 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150618/DM03/150619217 Thu, 18 Jun 2015 21:00:54 -0500 Chris Wade By Chris Wade CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Friday night's North-South Basketball Classic features two of top players in the state, Jacob Kilgore and Noah Frampton, and a possible glimpse into the future of the Marshall University hoops program.

Kilgore, the State Player of the Year from Spring Valley, and Poca's Frampton will conclude their standout prep careers together on the South team before moving on to play collegiately with the Thundering Herd as walk-ons.

The North-South Basketball Classic is set for 7:30 at the South Charleston Community Center, with a pregame skills event at 6 p.m. featuring a free throw, 3-point and slam dunk contests.

"I'm pumped to be playing in this game," Kilgore said. "Not that many kids get this opportunity. There's about a 1,000 seniors and only 30 of us get to play in it. There hasn't been a Spring Valley representative for about 6 or 7 years so that makes it even more special."

"It is a huge honor to be able to play in this game," Frampton said. "I'm very excited for the opportunity to play and I'm just going to try and represent my school and team the best I can."

Kilgore, who won the Evans Award as the state's top player, averaged 23.5 points and 10 rebounds per game. He is a three-time state champion in track (two titles in the 800-meter and another in the 400).

Being named the Player of the Year was a surprise to Kilgore, but one he treasured.

"It was unreal and I wasn't expecting that at all," Kilgore said. "There are so many other guys with Division I offers and other opportunities so it was an amazing feeling to get it."

Kilgore hopes he can leave a lasting legacy at Spring Valley.

"Spring Valley hasn't had much success in basketball, and especially track," Kilgore said. "It was great to be able to win those state titles and leave a bit of a legacy behind. Hopefully me playing in this all-star game may help boost the basketball as well."

Frampton, meanwhile, was captain of the Class AA All-State team. He averaged 16.2 points per game and scored a season-high 27 points in leading Poca to a win over Fairmont Senior in the championship game to cap an undefeated season. Frampton concluded his career with 1,322 points, 157 3-pointers, 304 assists and 180 steals in 104 games.

"It was a special season," Frampton said. "My career was wonderful. My dad always pushed me to best I could be and the Lord blessed me with talent. In my opinion, we had the best coach (Allen Osborne) in the state and that helped me get to where I got."

Much like he will in Friday's North-South Basketball Classic, Frampton is no stranger to playing with great talent. All five starters on Poca's undefeated team will compete in college athletics.

"It was awesome playing with those guys," Frampton said. "We had two D1 prospects in basketball with Elijah (Cuffee) and Luke (Frampton). Christian (Buckley) is a D1 track and field guy and Matt (Chandler) is going to be playing ball at Tech. We had a handful of talent and I couldn't have asked for better teammates."

Kilgore and Frampton will officially join the Herd program soon. They've been participating in an open gym on campus in a non-official capacity.

"I had a couple offers for track and smaller schools for basketball but the past couple years I realized how great it would be to play for Marshall and represent the team I have rooted for a long time," Kilgore said. "It's a great opportunity."

"They started recruiting me and I fell in love with the school and what they are trying to do," Frampton said. "It just felt right and it seemed to be the place where I needed to go."

The North squad includes first-team All-State selection C.J. King, from Morgantown. Bridgeport's John Wilfong, Robert C. Byrd's Devonti Birch and Fairmont Senior's Tavon Horton were Class AA all-state picks.

Nitro's Brown gets chance to shine in North-South softball http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150618/DM03/150619219 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150618/DM03/150619219 Thu, 18 Jun 2015 20:55:40 -0500 Derek Taylor By Derek Taylor BUFFALO, W.Va. - Nichole Brown operated in relative obscurity for four years at Nitro High School, batting for high average and decent power for a softball program that is most of the time off the radar when Region 4 contenders are considered.

On Thursday, the All-Kanawha Valley catcher found herself behind the plate catching the state's top player - Buffalo's Ali Burdette - and a former Class AAA state champion as the South All-Stars topped their counterparts from the North 6-1 in the first game of the North-South All-Star Softball series at Buffalo High.

The South swept the three-game series, winning the second game 7-3 and the final, five-inning game 6-2.

"I like this. It's a big accomplishment for me. I've always wanted to play in the North-South game, ever since I was a freshman, said Brown, who was 0 for 2 in the opening game.

The North did not score while Brown was in the game. Burdette retired nine of the 11 batters she faced, striking out four without giving up a hit. Lincoln County's Faith Huffman replaced her in the circle to start the fourth inning, and struck out two in her first inning of work before Brown was pulled in favor of Huffman's high school teammate, Brandi Isaacs.

Like many high school players, Brown said she was familiar her staring battery mate from playing travel ball during the summer months.

"I've never caught Faith, but I've caught Ali every summer, basically," Brown said. "I caught her last summer. This summer I catch (Hurricane's) Courtney (Rogers) and Emily (Davis). I'll catch them the next game, and I'm really familiar with them."

Brown has maintained the respect of coaches throughout the Kanawha Valley for several seasons, even though the Wildcats haven't emerged from their sectional tournament to reach regional play in well more than a decade. The catcher said that as far as Nitro is concerned, the culture around the sport needs to change before success can be found.

"You don't win very much and you don't get very much hype or fame at a school like that," she said. "We played 16 games this season, when everybody else played 30-some. That sucked.

"It was a fun time. It was a fun group of girls playing together," Brown added. "Travel ball has helped a lot, though."

Brown added that familiarity with other players through travel ball is a big reason for quality team chemistry, especially during an all-star event like North-South.

"We've always played with each other and against each other from a young age," she said. "We've always known each other, so it's always been like us against everybody else around."

Although Brown was one of just three girls among the 37 to take part in the North-South series to still be undecided about her playing and collegiate future, she said that one school has emerged as the leader in pursuit of her services.

"Fairmont State. It's like my number one right now," she said. "I'll probably end up there but I'm still not totally sure."

While Brown held things steady at catcher, it was Burdette who flexed during the opener. Along with getting the win, she hit the first pitch she saw from Ritchie County's Moie Ray for a two-run home run to straighaway center field. Burdette, the Rachel E. Taylor Memorial Award winner in 2015 as the state's best player, added an RBI single in the 5th that gave the South a four-run lead.

Burdette also dominated the pregame skills competitions. She won the home run derby with five homers, won the overhand throw competition by hitting 65 miles per hour on a radar gun, then took the underhand competition as well with a pitch of 60 mph.

Logan's Summer Collins won both the home-to-first and first-to-third sprints, while Roane County's Cassidy Taylor won the accuracy throw competition and Cabell Midland's Abbie Tolbert won the bunting contest.

Burdette, Collins and Tolbert will all play at Marshall next year.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsreallyDT.

St. Albans senior Hines awarded Gatorade track honor http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150617/DM03/150619321 DM03 http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20150617/DM03/150619321 Wed, 17 Jun 2015 21:23:42 -0500




CHARLESTON, W.Va. - St. Albans track and field star Anacia Hines has been named the Gatorade Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. The senior won three individual state championships at the Class AAA state meet and led the Red Dragons to an eighth-place finish.

Hines, who will continued her track career at Coastal Carolina, won the 100-meter dash in 12.28 seconds, the 200 in 25.35 and the 100-meter hurdles in 14.52. She is also a two-time MSAC female Athlete of the Year, and she holds the state record for the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.36.