The 2010 high school football season is in the books, so let’s have an overall look at the year and some of the key storylines.
CHAMPION: Martinsburg (14-0)
Runner-Up: Brooke (11-3)
Season Wrap: The best story all year was likely the state championship won by Martinsburg for their former quarterback Kam Puller who came down with an undisclosed illness in the spring. They dedicated their season to him and couldn’t have played any better, winning every game and capturing their first state football title.
Still, what most will remember the 2010 football season for in Class AAA was the brawl between South Charleston and Hurricane in the semifinals and all of the chaos that ensued. In the end, the Black Eagles were stripped of a semifinal win over Brooke because suspended players played in that contest after a judge issued a temporary restraining order on the suspensions. Regardless, in the end, South Charleston’s dreams of three consecutive state championships came crashing down.
Another story that didn’t receive near as much attention as it probably should have is the play of Bridgeport’s Corey Wagner. The senior running back is deaf, but that didn’t slow him down at all on the field this season. He helped lead the Indians to a 10-2 record on the year, eventually falling to Martinsburg in the quarterfinals. In the opening round of the playoffs this year, Wagner was named the WVMetroNews.com Player of the Week with 225 yards on 36 carries.
CHAMPION: Magnolia (14-0)
Runner-Up: Ravenswood (13-1)
Season Wrap: Bluefield was considered by many as a lock to return to the Class AA state title game. The Beavers had one loss heading into a semfinal matchup against Ravenswood – but that came to North Carolina power Charlotte Country Day School. The Red Devils meanwhile, while undefeated and ranked number one, found themselves tagged as the underdogs by many against the defending state champs in the semifinals. However, the Red Devils asserted themselves early in the contest, scored 21 unanswered points and held on for the 24-19 win. It put the Red Devils into their first state championship appearance since 1976.
And if we’re going to mention Ravenswood making the title game, we can’t overlook Magnolia winning its first state football title since 1964. The Blue Eagles jumped out to a commanding 28-0 lead in the first half and cruised to the 28-13 win. Magnolia had another dominating year defensively, giving up just 82 points all season.
It was also good to see Tug Valley make it into the playoffs this year – the Panthers had won just one combined football game in 2008 and 2009. This year, under head coach Jimmy Vance, the Panthers jumped out to an 8-1 start and entered the playoffs as the No. 15 seed.
CHAMPION: Wheeling Central (10-4)
Runner-Up: Wahama (13-1)
Season Wrap: It was only a matter of time for Wheeling Central – the Maroon Knights had been held out of the state title game for two consecutive years in 2008 and 2009. This year, despite a brutal regular season schedule, Wheeling Central returned to the state title game and won its eighth state football championship.
The team it defeated in that title game, meanwhile, Wahama, made its first ever trip to the title game. Like Wheeling Central, the White Falcons played a lot of out of state teams during the regular season and it wasn’t quite as easy to gauge their undefeated regular season record. However, when the playoffs arrived, Wahama answered any questions about that schedule – breaking its own Class A playoff record by scoring 73 points in the quarterfinals against East Hardy.
Likely the best team in Class A that didn’t make the semifinals was Bishop Donahue. Led by talented all-state receiver Ryan Jones, the Bishops finished the regular season with an undefeated record and No. 3 ranking in Class A. State champion Wheeling Central needed a late touchdown to edge Bishop Donahue 24-20 in the quarterfinals.
And finally, how about the final playoff push put forward by Matewan in its final year as a school? The Tigers edged Buffalo in the opening round 40-34 and then crushed No. 2 and previously undefeated Meadow Bridge 54-16 in the quarterfinals. Next year, Matewan will consolidate with Burch, Gilbert and Williamson to form the Mingo County Central Miners.