Kanawha Valley Report

The state’s No. 1 football ranking returns to the Kanawha Valley and the season of the haves and have-nots continues for teams competing in the Mountain State Athletic Conference.

No. 1 George Washington (6-0) vs. Riverside (2-3)  

The Patriots gained another huge victory a week ago on the road at Parkersburg, a game which elevated GW to the top of the state’s Class AAA ranks for week seven of the season.

"It’s a testament to the way the boys have been playing, but it’s early," said Coach Steve Edwards Junior. "We’re six games in and we’ve got a long way to go."

GW will try to notch the 7th victory of the 2010 campaign Friday night against Riverside.  The Warriors are coming off a bye week that enabled them to heal from a stinging overtime loss in their last outing to Huntington.   Coach Ralph Hensley runs down the names of playmakers for G-W, Mollett, Britton, Clay, and Aluise and says for his team it’s basic–improve or get beat.

"It’s a big challenge," said Hensley. "If our guys go up there and we don’t do a little better than what we’ve been playing, we’ll get embarrassed."

The game will be played at Steve Edwards Sr. Field on the GW Campus Friday at 7:30.

No. 4 Hurricane (5-1) vs. Ripley (1-5) 

Coach Willis May worries about homecoming activities all week at school becoming a distraction for his players.  

"I don’t like for them to be involved in all that stuff, but then again–they’re high school kids and you want them to enjoy their high school time," said May.  "But the bottom line is if you don’t play well on Friday night, the rest of that stuff doesn’t mean anything."

The Redskins draw Ripley for their homecoming contest this year.  The Vikings have struggled mightily and even more so with the loss of leading rusher and tackler David Hicks.  It doesn’t look like Hicks will be back for this Friday with more than 20-stiches in his hand.   

Still, May worries.

"Every game that I’ve ever been in with them since I’ve been here, we’ve been in the ballgame with them," said May. "Even when we’ve had maybe our best teams, they’ve come out and put it on us and we’ve had to find a way to win it at the end.  We’re not looking past Ripley at all."

May says he’s pleased with continued development of his line play, improved passing of quarterback Tyler Pate, and the running of Josh Thompson and Nice Rick.  He says the one area that needs the greatest improvement is fumbles. 

Game time is 7:30, Friday night at Redskins Stadium.

No. 5 Capital (4-1) vs. St. Albans (2-3)

Capital gets a chance to finally put the South Charleston game behind them with a new opponent.  Having had two weeks to stew on what went wrong against the Black Eagles (and there was plenty), Coach John Carpenter says it has to be put away as a learning experience and nothing more.

"It worked out to a positive, [but there are] a lot of things we had to fix," Carpenter said. "[There are] a lot of problems you don’t see until you hold it up to a strong fire–and South Charleston was a REALLY strong fire for us.  They beat us up pretty good, but a lot of those things are things that could be fixed and we’ve been working on them."

Carpenter believes one of the biggest problems for his team going in the South Charleston contest may have been emotion.  He thinks he, as a young coach, may have had the team too jacked up for the contest.   This week his team will face St. Albans–a game that is bigger than most would think.

"We’re trying to make sure a lot of those kids from the west side don’t decide to go back down to St. Albans.  That’s a team Capital has lost some (players) to in the last several years.  We want to make sure that doesn’t happen," Carpenter said.

Carpenter believes the game will be a test of his defense to force the Red Dragons to turn the ball over with their beefy line, aggressive play, and ball control offense.   Carpenter says one key is to make every possession county on Friday night, because he doesn’t expect to get too many to work with.

St. Albans Coach Derrick Christian says his team is struggling–a week after giving Beckley their first victory of the year.

"We’re not gelling right now. We’re not executing very well," said Christian. "We’re just trying to find ourselves."

Game time is 7:30 at Crawford Field in St. Albans.

Lincoln County (2-3) vs. No. 6 South Charleston (5-1)   

Black Eagles’ Coach John Messinger continues to point to the halftime of the Parkersburg game as the point where their season turned around.  Trailing at the half, Messinger says the discussion wasn’t one that could have been put on the radio–but it was one where the message was apparently received loud and clear.  Since then–he says his team has been playing lights out football and expects to take everybody’s best shot.

 "We don’t take anybody lightly," said Messinger. "Coach Beck’s done a great job and he’s getting those kids on the same page and they got some good athletes.  They’re young, but their hungry and we’ve got a bull’s eye on our back."

Messinger says to keep his team humble and always striving to achieve, they’ve set goals for each game with minimum standards for yards gained, points scored, and on defense yards and points yielded.  He says it’s a formula that has helped keep his team focused, regardless of the opponent.

Lincoln County Coach Corey Beck says he knows the order is a tall one, but he’s told his team there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain on a trip into the Eagles’ nest on Friday night. 

"We need to play good, sound fundamental football," said Beck. "Tackle well, block well, don’t turn the football over, don’t shoot ourselves in the foot and I think if we do that at the end we’ll have an opportunity to be competitive."

Game time is 7:30 at Oakes Field in South Charleston.

No. 14 (AA) Poca (3-2) vs. No. 9 (AA) Point Pleasant (4-1)  

The Dots season took a turn for the better last Friday night when they held off a ranked Hoover team and left Falling Rock with a win.   Coach Bob Lemley told his troops following the game they could play with anybody in the state and the Hoover game proved it.   His suggestion will be put to the test Friday night when Poca travels to Mason County to face a tough opponent in Point Pleasant.   The Big Blacks got a huge win last week over Wayne.

"I looked at the films and it almost looked like the same teams playing each other," said Poca Coach Bob Lemley.”They’re just busting it at each other running the ball, and occasionally throwing it, but they’re big and strong and their quarterback throws the ball pretty well."

Lemley says defense is the key for his team Friday because Point Pleasant will try to control the ball and the ballgame by limiting offensive possessions of the opponent.   He believes if they can find a way to force a few punts or turnovers and strike quickly, they can take Point Pleasant out of their comfort zone.   The Dots could pick up valuable bonus points with a win and help build momentum for a potential post season appearance.

No. 6 (A) Wirt County (4-1) at No. 10 Buffalo (5-1)

The Tigers are wounded following their first loss last Friday night.  Buffalo continues to build on a quality season so far, their only loss to the Poca Dots.  Game time is 7:30 Friday night at Bison Field.

Other games in the Kanawha Valley Friday night:

Nitro at Princeton

Winfield at Logan

Sissonville at Hoover



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