It may be a little later than usual, but at least it’s here! With the change in the SSAC calendar, the 2013 high school football season in West Virginia is igetting underway one week later than what we are used to! However, I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is the same as in the past: what six teams will we see in Wheeling in early December?
While that question is a long way from being answered, 117 high school football teams begin the journey this week they hope will lead to Wheeling Island Stadium. To refresh your memory, in December 2012 the Wayne Pioneers closed out a perfect 14-0 run to capture the Class AA title by shutting out Keyser 35-0. In the Class AAA title game, the Martinsburg Bulldogs won their third straight championship by defeating Cabell Midland 38-14. To close out the 2012 Super Six, the White Falcons of Wahama finished a perfect 14-0 and won their first state football championship as they battled Madonna in the best game of the weekend outlasting the Blue Dons 43-42!
So, what can we look for in 2013?
In Class AAA, the Martinsburg Bulldogs will be trying to do something that’s never been done in Class AAA…..win 4 straight state titles! In fact, that tremendous feat has only been accomplished twice in the history of WV high school football…..both times in Class A. The Yellow Jackets of Moorefield did it 1996-1999 and the Maroon Knights of Wheeling Central Catholic repeated the feat in 2004-2007.
In addition to Martinsburg, only one other Class AAA team has ever three-peated—that being the Charleston Mountain Lions in 1968-70. When you ask Martinsburg coach Dave Walker about the possibility of this year’s Bulldogs setting the record, he is quick to tell you they “are not even talking or thinking about it.” Believe me, Coach, everyone else in the Eastern Panhandle has entertained the thought at least once or twice.
Now certainly Coach Walker is correct when he talks about the tremendous competition his Bulldogs will face from across the state. There are several teams that have what it takes to get to Wheeling Island Stadium and win a championship all their own. At the top of that list you would have to include Morgantown, Huntington, George Washington, Capital, Cabell Midland, University and Wheeling Park.
In Class AA, the Wayne Pioneers lost little from last year’s state championship team and certainly are the favorites to grab their third straight title and fourth in the past eight years. This year’s competition for Wayne will be provided by the likes of Keyser, Bridgeport, Bluefield, Robert C. Byrd, Chapmanville, Frankfort, Fairmont Senior and quite possibly Wyoming East. The Renegades seem to be back on the winning road.
In Class A, the White Falcons of Wahama will be much younger than last year but once you’ve tasted “title town” you have a strong desire to get back! It would appear the competition will come from a lot of familiar names with Wheeling Central and Madonna leading the way. Certainly the Blue Eagles of Magnolia will be in the mix along with the Cavaliers of Greenbrier West, St. Marys, Williamstown and Clay Battelle. Also look for Tucker County, last year’s No. 1 team in Class A heading into the playoffs, to be a tough out.
By the way, as we begin the 2013 football campaign we welcome a brand new team to the high school fold as the Cardinals of Spring Mills High School will begin play in the Eastern Panhandle. Head coach Derek Munson will open the season at Jefferson before coming home for three straight games against Washington, Musselman and Hedgesville. By the way, Spring Mills High School is located at 499 Campus Drive in Martinsburg and they will battle Martinsburg on the road Oct. 11—at least it will be a short drive! Best of luck to the Cardinals!
Finally, with the start of high school football that means it is also time for the start of “GAMENIGHT.” This Friday night, Aug. 30 from 9:30 p.m. through midnight, “GAMENIGHT” will be back across the state and Dave Jecklin, Garrett Cullen and I, along with a host of guys that work so hard in the background getting scores, are ready to go to bring you the best high school football coverage in the state.
We look forward to talking with you this Friday night!!