It is indeed that very special time of the year…..it is game week for the 2018 high school football season and time once again for those “Friday Night Lights”!
Before we begin our weekly thoughts of what lies ahead for the 2018 season, let us first recap 2017 with a quick trip back to December 1st/2nd and Wheeling Island Stadium. The Class AA game on that cold Friday night, December 1st, 2017 provided high school football fans with one of the very best games in Super Six history! The Fairmont Senior Polar Bears came into that game as the #4 seed and carried an impressive 11-1 record! Their only loss of the season came in week #5 when they traveled to Morgantown to battle the undefeated Hawks of University. On that particular Friday night, September 22nd, University was ranked #1 in Class AAA and Fairmont Senior was ranked #2 in Class AA. In what was a very exciting game, the Hawks outlasted the Polar Bears 29-27! Fairmont Senior would finish the regular season with that one blemish and make it to the Class AA title game where they would meet up with the #2 seeded and undefeated Beavers of Bluefield High School! Head Coach Fred Simon’s ballclub had used the speed of Mookie Collier and the power of Truck Edwards to run over and past and through their opponents all season long! Heading into the championship game, Bluefield was coming off an impressive 37-14 win in the semi-finals over #3 seed Bridgeport, while Fairmont Senior had upset the #1 seeded Miners of Mingo Central 35-6 in their semi-final contest. As mentioned, no one was disappointed in the game that was played out on that first Friday in December of 2017 as Bluefield once again used their speed and power to sneak past Fairmont Senior 29-26. Just a few hours after the Bluefield win and celebration, football fans awoke with the sun shining on a Saturday morning and the Class AAA game set to kickoff at high noon. In that game, fans were provided with a repeat of the Class AAA title game from 2016 as the Spring Valley Timber Wolves and the Martinsburg Bulldogs were back in Wheeling once again. In the 2016 game, Martinsburg had defeated Spring Valley 49-7 and the Timber Wolves were hoping for a different outcome this time around. However, the Bulldogs once again proved superior as they downed Spring Valley 44-16! For Martinsburg, they improved to 28-0 over the pas two seasons and won their 6th Class AAA title in the last 8 years! After the sun had finished warming up the afternoon, the cold of winter returned and it was time for Class A fans to head into the stadium in Wheeling as #5 seeded St. Marys prepared to battle #10 seeded Wheeling Central for the Class A State Championship. Wheeling Central had started the season (0-2) and were (3-4) after seven games, but turned it on down the stretch, winning 6 in a row to enter the game vs. St. Marys with a 9-4 record. The Blue Devils had been impressive all season long and were 11-1 on that championship Saturday night. When the final horn had sounded, the Maroon Knights proved victorious as they defeated St. Marys by a final of 40-21.
So, what does 2018 have in store for us? Will all three title teams from last season wind up repeating as State Champs, or will any of the six teams that made it to the Island last year make the return trip? Certainly it is way too soon to even talk about, but what I can tell you is this….every team that begins play this weekend will have an equal chance to make it to the championship games, which by the way will be played on Friday November 30th and Saturday, December 1st!
And, one other note, we at the Network are thrilled to report that High School GAMENIGHT returns this Friday night at 9:30 to begin our 17th season of the award winning show. And, in talking with my co-host Dave Jecklin earlier this week, he reminded me this Friday night, August 24th, will mark show #225 of GAMENIGHT! It has been a wonderful ride for Dave and I as hosts of the show and we look forward to the 2018 season being our best ever! Remember, GAMENIGHT is heard on great radio stations all over the state and of course you can follow us online at www.wvmetronews.com! They, being the Network, even have the nerve to show the video of what Dave and I do each Friday night in the studio while hosting GAMENIGHT!! Go figure!!
Talk to you Friday night!!