If the South had Spring Valley’s Doug Nester (Virginia Tech) and Zach Williamson (Louisville) , Huntington High’s Max Howell (East Tennessee State) and Darnell Wright (Tennessee) and Bluefield’s Deyanti Powell-Woods (Central Michigan) on its offensive line last week, you could bet it would have scored more than six points against the North.
Had the North featured Parkersburg tight end Brenton Strange (Penn State), Morgantown guard Nick Malone (Pittsburgh), Linsly guard Thomas Aronokhale (Ohio), Wheeling Park tackle Tristen Bittner (Marshall) and quarterback Logan Holgersen (Houston) on its roster, it likely would have put up more than eight points.
Those who played in the West Virginia North-South Classic were fine players. Some such as Wayne’s Mike Bartram (Marshall), Spring Valley’s Owen Chafin (West Virginia), Capital’s Kalai Clark (Antelope Valley Junior College) and Morgantown’s Nick Malone (WVU) were NCAA Division I talents were especially good. Imagine, though, if the game truly featured the best of the best.
Picture a South secondary with Capital’s Kerry Martin, Jr., (WVU) and a North defensive backfield with University’s Amir Richardson (Marshall). How about Martinsburg linebacker Dewayne Grantham (WVU) and George Washington quarterback Grant Wells (Marshall)? Can you see Capital defensive end Breece Hoff (New Hampshire) rushing the passer?
For the Classic to have a chance at landing players such as those, the game will have to move closer to the end of football season. A week, maybe two, after the state championship game would be ideal. By the time June rolls around, most of the FBS-caliber players are already at their colleges working out. Cold, snowy weather no doubt would be a concern, but in June the heat and rain are considerations.
A game with the state’s better players might attract a larger crowd. As it is, most of the fans are relatives of the players.
The people running the game did a terrific job and South Charleston has been a wonderful host the last two years. Imagine how much better the event would be with the state’s premier players on the field.
RECRUITING ROUNDUP: Spring Valley offensive lineman Wyatt Milum received an offer from the University of Alabama. His teammates, defensive back David Livingston and offensive lineman Jacob Hutchison, were offered by Morehead State University and Glenville State University, respectively. ... Lawrence County left-handed pitcher Bryce Blevins committed to the University of Kentucky. ... Ashland offensive lineman John Stone was offered by Notre Dame (Ohio) College. ... St. Albans baseball pitcher Ayden Hodges received an offer from Marshall University. ... Ironton quarterback Gage Salyers received an offer from the UVa-Wise.
ROUNDING UP: Former Wheelersburg all-state pitcher and Marshall University hurler Wade Martin was on of 12 student-athletes in Conference USA to win a $4,000 Jim Castañeda Postgraduate Scholarship. ... Huntington St. Joe’s McKenzie Moran was named the Gatorade West Virginia girls soccer player of the year.