10:06am: Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval

Red Dragons Hope Young Veterans Pay Off


Junior Kevin Cantley looks to play a key role for the Red Dragons’ running attack in 2011

St. Albans football fans have endured growing pains.  During the past two seasons, the Red Dragons have seen a roster covered in 9 and 10 beside players’ names in the program.   This year, the numbers 11 and 12 are becoming more common, which should start paying dividends.

"We’ve had potential here for the last couple of years, but eventually potential has to become reality," said Head Coach Derek Christian. "You have to step up and start making plays and hopefully that’s what’s going to happen for us this year."

The Red Dragons are again young when compared to other teams.  Only seven seniors dot the 2011 roster, but the juniors, who make up the bulk of the starting lineup, are seasoned veterans.  They’ve taken their share of lumps since 9th grade and have stuck with the program.

Kevin Cantley and Drew Kirby make up the running game for the Red Dragons in 2011.

"Both of those guys are ‘weight room guys’," said Christian. "They’ve been in our program since they were sixth and seventh graders as far as the weight room is concerned.  They both are strong, they work hard and run hard, and hopefully they’ll be durable and we’ll get a lot out of them this year."

Taylor Clark returns at Quarterback for St. AlbansClark is a sophomore, but knows the heat of a game situation better than most.  He started nine games as a freshman for St. Albans.   Christian admits it was at times a frustrating baptism by fire for the young signal caller, but believes what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.

"He’s been in the heat of battle and he’s stepped up quite a bit and gotten bigger," he said. "He’s a year older and a year smarter and we’ve put in some new things in the system he’s got to learn, but we have a lot of confidence in him."

Logan Armstrong (77) of St. Albans bench presses more than 500lbs.   However, his coach says he’s still learning the game of football.

 Christian is a believer in the weight room and the team’s pride lies in big strong linemen.  None are stronger, anywhere than big Logan Armstrong.   The junior tackle is the strongest football player in West Virginia.  During competition power lifting, Armstrong has bench pressed more than 500lbs.  

"He’s the strongest in the state by the bench press and he’s very strong in some of the other core lifts we do," said Christian. 

However, Christian says while strength is an asset, knowing the game is the rest of the battle and Christian is only in his third year of organized football.

"He’s still somewhat raw, but he’s come a long way and hopefully he’ll continue to get better," said Christian.  "He loves the weight room and has really progressed through there; we’ll see how it translates to the football field."


More High School Sports

High School Sports
Final Power Rankings: State champions Cabell Midland, Winfield and Wahama close season on top
Knights won Class AAA for first title in 20 years. Generals finished season on top for first time since 2002, while White Falcons avenged a loss in last year's Class A title game to garner their fifth championship.
June 5, 2023 - 12:04 pm
High School Sports
Kuhl, calm and collective: Winfield senior throws gem, lifts Generals to 3-0 win over Keyser in Class AA final
Dylan Kuhl worked around jams in each of the first two innings as well as another one late, preventing the Golden Tornado from scoring and helping Winfield secure its fourth championship.
June 3, 2023 - 7:03 pm
High School Sports
Cabell Midland utilizes small ball to get by Hedgesville 11-8 for Class AAA championship
Three consecutive bunt singles during a nine-run fourth inning loomed large for the Knights as they won their second baseball title.
June 3, 2023 - 4:43 pm
High School Sports
Wahama puts it all together, tops Tyler Consolidated 10-0 for Class A crown
Bryce Zuspan threw six scoreless frames and the White Falcons' at bats progressively improved as they rolled to a runaway victory against the Silver Knights for their fifth state championship.
June 3, 2023 - 1:50 pm

Your Comments