Two local undefeated teams will begin their quest for a perfect season this weekend in what many call the “second season” – the playoffs.
Greenbrier West is looking to make a mark in the Class AA field. The Cavaliers went through the season unscathed but finished third in the ratings points behind Ravenswood and Magnolia.
So first and second round home games are secured, as long as the Cavs win.
But a third rounder at home is not – unless No. 2 Magnolia gets tripped up before the semi-final round.
Greenbrier West will play its home games at Greenbrier East High School.
Meadow Bridge wrapped up its regular season at 10-0 and a No. 2 rating. So home playoff spots are secure for three rounds – enough to get the Wildcats to Wheeling if they win out.
For its outstanding season, the team was rewarded with the ability to host the playoffs – a first (see story below).
There’s 48 teams alive this weekend in all – 16 in each of the three classes.
That number will dwindle to 24, then to 12 then to the Super Six.
So an exciting month of football is ahead.
Playoff games involving area teams:
No. 9 Nicholas County (9-1) at No. 8 Brooke (8-2), Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
No. 3 Greenbrier West (10-0) vs. No. 14 Herbert Hoover (6-4), at Greenbrier East HS, Friday, 7:30 p.m.
No. 11 Frankfort (7-3) vs. No. 6 River View (8-1-1), Saturday, 1:30 p.m. at Bluefield
No. 4 Bluefield (9-1) vs. No. 13 Liberty Harrison (7-3), Friday, 7:30 pm.
No. 12 Shady Spring (7-3) at No. 5 Wayne (8-2), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
No. 10 Chapmanville (7-3) vs. No. 7 PikeView (8-2), Friday 7:30 at Princeton
No. 12 Fayetteville (7-3) at No. 5 Williamstown (8-2), Friday 7:30 p.m.
No. 15 Parkersburg Catholic (7-3) at No. 2 Meadow Bridge (10-0), Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
No. 14 Pocahontas County (6-4) vs. No. 3 Bishop Donahue (10-0) at John Marshall HS, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Season of firsts
It’s been a season of firsts for Meadow Bridge high school’s football program.
And the best hasn’t even happened yet.
That will take place Saturday when the Wildcats, 10-0 for the first time since 1983, will host a playoff game for the first time. Ever.
Parkersburg Catholic will visit Meadow Bridge in a game set for 1:30 p.m.
Getting its field approved by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission — which has guidelines for what a school must have to host a playoff game — was not an easy chore at Meadow Bridge.
At the same time, it was a labor of love for a community that has been solidly behind its high school football team.
“It’s been an unbelievable task, a lot of work,” Meadow Bridge coach Larry McClintic said. “But we had a lot of people in the community step up and people around the area have been great.”
In fact, to get the field approved, the school had to bring in 17 sets of bleachers for seating.
The bleachers were graciously donated by area youth football organizations and volunteers made trips to places like White Sulphur Springs.
“If you have never seen bleachers moved before, let me tell you, that is some chore,” McClintic said. “In fact, we just had some people go down to White Sulphur and pick up the last ones on Friday, but we got it done. We had a lot of help.”
In fact, McClintic knew most of the people helping.
A lot of them played for the veteran coach, who has been on the sidelines at Meadow Bridge games since 1969.
“I started watching them one day and I said to myself, ‘Hey, I know that guy, he played for me. And that one. And that one.’ We had a lot of guys in here volunteering their time. We had guys from the state championship team (1988) and guys who played for 2-8 teams.
“Some of the guys told me, ‘Coach, we got it taken care of. You just coach the football team.’”
The football team has taken note.
Senior Tyler Bennett, who had an uncle working on the project, said it meant a lot to the squad as it prepares for that first home playoff game.
“We’re real excited about it,” said Bennett, who leads the Wildcats with 1,402 yards rushing. “Coach pointed out that there were a lot of old players who came out and helped with putting the bleachers in and a lot of other stuff. And there were a lot of people from the community. That means they care about the football program.”
“We’re pretty fired up,” added the team leader in touchdowns (17), Devonte Petitt, a senior whose father helped with the bleacher installation.
“He was telling me they got one set put in wrong, so they just took it down and started again. Coach stopped us before we went to Richwood (last Friday), and you could hear the commotion over there (from the bleachers being put in, even as the team was getting ready for the trip to Richwood to complete the 10-0 season). He said, ‘Look at that. You can play here once or you can play here as long as we can take this.’
“All those guys doing that volunteer labor should give us a spark to want to take care of business.”
In addition to the bleachers, the stadium press box has been fixed up as well as the lockerrooms the teams will use and a temporary fence has been installed behind the far end zone. All were necessary to meet WVSSAC guidelines and all have been met, thanks to the community effort.
“I just want to thank everyone involved,” McClintic said. “It means a lot to me, and I know it means a whole lot to these players.”
Ready for the second season
Young in key spots, Shady Spring football coach Vince Culicerto wasn’t exactly sure what to expect out of his team this season.
Seven wins and a playoff berth probably exceeded anything he thought of.
“At the beginning of the year, we said for us to make the playoffs would be an excellent job for the season,” Culicerto said. “We were wanting to get that success, and if the playoffs were a possibility we knew that would be a great season. We lost a lot of guys (from last year) and a lot of guys have stepped in key spots.”
The Tigers (7-3) finished the season rated No. 12 in Class AA and will travel to No. 5 Wayne at 7:30 p.m. Friday for a first-round Class AA playoff game.
A more prevalent aerial attack has helped Shady get this far.
“We have definitely caught the ball well,” Culicerto said. “And Adam (Weeks, sophomore quarterback) has done a good job. Our offensive line has gotten better each week.”
Weeks has completed 110 of 174 passes for 1,416 yards and 10 touchdowns. His main target has been Kevin Goodson, who has 27 receptions for 487 yards and six scores.
Not that the running game has been abandoned. Junior Cody Frye and senior Patrick Starner have been a potent 1-2 combination. Frye has carried 135 times for 699 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Starner has gone for 580 and four TDs on 95 carries.
“You can’t key on one,” Culicerto said. “They have similar numbers. They have done a good job there.”
An already historic season will have at least one more moment to remember at Meadow Bridge.
The unbeaten Wildcats (10-0) attained their highest-ever rating, manning the No. 2 spot in Class A. They will host No. 15 Parkersburg Catholic at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
That’s right — host.
For the first time ever, Frank Arritt Stadium has been approved as a playoff site by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.
Veteran coach Larry McClintic said 17 sets of portable bleachers were moved into the stadium to help it meet seating requirements. Several Meadow Bridge supporters, including some former football players, worked to get it done.
“They probably started about 4:30 Thursday evening and were finished by about 2 o’clock Friday afternoon,” McClintic said. “So it took less than 24 hours to get it done. They worked four hours Thursday evening and came back at 9:30 the next morning. There were six or seven pickups with trailers going in all directions.”
McClintic said the community is excited about Meadow Bridge football.
“Very much so,” McClintic said. “This (hosting the game) is something that has never happened before at Meadow Bridge. The football team and the townspeople are extremely excited about it.”
Meadow Bridge was rated sixth when it won the 1988 state championship.
One team that will not be at its friendly confines despite being rated third is Greenbrier West.
The Cavaliers (10-0) are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, when they were still in Class A. This is their first double-A berth, and their stadium does not have enough visiting bleachers to qualify as a playoff host.
So, West’s first-round game against No. 14 Herbert Hoover will be played at Greenbrier East. Kickoff will be 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“We are about 1,000 short of the requirement,” coach Lewis McClung said. “We have a project tied into remodeling the school and we will get more bleachers, but that doesn’t help us this year.”
The Cavs had the weekend off after polishing off their perfect regular season Oct. 29 at Fayettville.
“I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing,” McClung said. “We had a couple of bruises, nicks and scrapes and that gave us a week to heal up. But you also interrupt your rhythm. But it was there and we will have to deal with it and take it from here.”
‘Weeks’ of work paying off
Shady sophomore QB’s success isn’t a surprise to coach
There’s a lot to be said about studying the game as a backup quarterback. Just ask Shady Spring’s Adam Weeks.
The sophomore quarterback served as the Tigers’ No. 2 last season behind his older brother Josh Weeks and utilized that time to learn the concepts he’s applying as the starter this season.
“He would watch the game and watch his brother and notice things that he could have done and just evaluated him,” Shady coach Vince Culicerto said. “He would talk with me about it and be on the same page. He has a real good football mind.”
Adam said he picked up a lot on the sidelines, including “Throwing it away, stepping up, rolling out, just what to do,” he said.
Josh Weeks has continued his career as a redshirt freshman at WVU Tech. Now, the Weeks brothers share information.
“We’ll talk about my games on Friday and we’ll talk about what they did in their games on Saturday,” Adam said.
The quarterback bond at home helps provide a constant learning environment, Culicerto said.
“With his brother being a quarterback I’m sure they talk about it at home away from practice and the game,” he said. “He’s watching his brother all through middle school and high school as a quarterback and he also quarterbacked then. It definitely helps to be able to share the ideas with your brother, no doubt. He’s the type of kid who is watching every play and making sure if he can learn anything from it he does.”
This season, Adam has excelled as a starter. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound back has completed 110 of 174 passes for 1,416 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The success isn’t a surprise to Culicerto.
“We thought that much of him and knew what he was capable of and if his brother had went down, he would have been a freshman coming in and starting,” Culicerto said. “We knew what we were getting and he’s been that and has grown this season from the first game on. He’s a starter here for a while, no doubt.
“He’s got a good football mind and definitely watching has helped, but this season he’s got 10 games under his belt. He’s a veteran now. He’s learned a lot on the field this season, also.”
Besides yards and completions, Adam boasts a lot of confidence.
“That’s one thing he doesn’t lack,” Culicerto said. “He runs the show and that’s the way you have to do it as a quarterback.”
Adam said he doesn’t worry about being the offensive leader, even as a first-year starter.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I’ve never really had pressure. It’s never really bothered me.”
In fact, he thrives being the signal-caller of a playoff-bound squad.
“It’s exciting,” Adam said. “I love every minute of it.”
It’s a big step from observing on the sidelines, but the foundation for Adam’s success was laid through hard work and it’s paying off this season.
“I’ve progressed a lot this year,” Adam said. “I’ve learned a lot just by being out there and playing.”
Jim Workman, Dave Morrison, Gary Fauber and Nick Brockman contributed to this report. For more sports coverage in Southern West Virginia, visit www.register-herald.com or www.bdtonline.com