RED JACKET, W.Va. —¬†With seven consecutive playoff appearances and 67 wins over that span, Mingo Central’s annual expectations are nearly unrivaled statewide. Believe it or not, an 8-3 season last fall was the Miners’ lowest win total since 2013.

“We had a young team last year,” said head coach Josh Sammons. “I was happy with where we ended up. We just got an unlucky draw there in the first round (Point Pleasant). It happens and that is a great team that beat us last year. Hopefully this year we can move past that, move forward and get us another state championship.”

The Miners have been bolstered by several returners to the program. 2017 head coach Joey Fields is back on staff after spending last season at Martinsburg. And the duo of Drew and Devin Hatfield have returned after transferring to Logan prior to basketball season last fall. Drew scored 24 touchdowns for the Miners last season with 1,614 yards of total offense. Devin caught 49 passes and seven scores in his freshman campaign.

“We have a group of guys that are like brothers,” said senior receiver/defensive back Drew Hatfield. “When I came back, I just hopped right back in and it was like I never left.”

Daylin Goad burst onto the scene with video game style passing numbers in his sophomore season. He accounted for 3,793 yards of total offense while tossing 46 touchdowns and running for ten more.

“He matured really fast,” said senior receiver/defensive back Preston Dingess. “He was a really good weapon last year and he’s even better this year I think. The coaching has really helped him a lot.”

“Having his first start against Point Pleasant (in the season opener), the game he had and how he developed through the year was really surprising,” Hatfield said. “We expect him to come up even bigger this year.”

“He was leaps and bounds ahead of what we thought he would be last year,” Sammons said. “Putting up those kind of numbers, there’s only good things in the future for him.”

For the Miners to regain their status as a championship contender, they must improve on the defensive side of the ball. Mingo allowed 29 points per game last season.

“We need to be better tacklers,” Sammons said. “That is one thing we preached is tackling, tackling, tackling. We weren’t very good at that last year. We were weaker, we were younger. A year of experience is going to help us out a lot this year.”