BLACKSVILLE, W.Va. — Heading into the upcoming season, a little extra hype surrounds the Clay-Battelle football program. After making the playoffs three out of the last four years, including a home playoff game the past two seasons, the Cee-Bees finally broke through and won their first playoff game since 2006, defeating Valley (Fayette), 33-28.
In the past, Clay-Battelle had to play home playoff games across the county at University High in Morgantown. However, the next home playoff game the Cee-Bees host will be at their new on-campus field, a “next step” in the program according to coach Ryan Wilson.
Now that the Cee-Bees have gotten over the proverbial hump, they will be looking to extend their season further into the playoffs. With a wealth of talent returning for Clay-Battelle, along with the brand new facility, plenty of excitement surrounds Blacksville.
“It will be a great facility for Clay-Battelle High School. I think we will be the only (Class) A school with their own turf field,” Wilson said. “There’s got to be excitement for the whole school and the community. They’ve really supported us. I think they’re excited to see it all come together.”
While the field will be ready to practice on in August when the Cee-Bees begin two-a-days, Clay-Battelle has been resorting to the weight room and practicing on the school’s baseball field during June.
Even though numbers have been down for Clay-Battelle during the three-week workouts, it hasn’t had an affect on the program’s offseason approach.
“It all starts in the weight room,” Wilson said. “Each team always asks, ‘How many kids do you have coming into the weight room and all that?’ We’re a Class A school and our athletes are being shared.
“They are doing baseball, basketball and some of them have jobs,” he continued. “The kids that we do have here, they are working extremely hard. Each year is a different group—some work a little harder than others. That’s where the next step comes in—in the weight room. This group really busted their rear ends for us this summer.”
The weight room conditioning will no doubt be key for the Cee-Bees once August practice commences. Wilson stressed that his team take can’t games or even plays off during the regular season.
“In football, there’s no torment at the end. Either you keep get in (the playoffs) or you put your pads away until next year,” Wilson said. “Each game is very important. I put it out there that every game is a state playoff game. If you slip up and lose a game here or there, it could keep you out of the playoffs.”
Luckily, Wilson has players who know the importance of winning in the regular season. Quarterback Tristan Haught, who has thrown for 3,000 yards and over 30 touchdowns in his career, will begin his third season under center for Clay-Battelle.
Haught will have an experienced offensive line that will feature three seniors as well as senior running back Trenten Dille alongside him.
Clay-Battelle will open up the season at Paden City on Aug. 30. The Cee-Bees’ home opener will be Sept. 13 against Bishop Donahue.
— Wes McKinney