6:00pm: Sportsline with Tony Caridi

The Very BEST Time of the Year is Here!

I am certain most of you noticed this past weekend’s weather was quite different than the mid 90’s/high humidity days we all have experienced over the last few weeks.  And, while the much more comfortable weather was welcomed, it also made me think of those early fall days when high school football is the dominate talk around every water cooler, dinner table and quaint get together around the state!  Now even though the old calendar says it is still August, high school football has arrived and while this is always one of the very busiest weeks for me, it is also one of the most enjoyable!

Now before we get to looking ahead to what might happen in the 2019 season, let’s take a quick look back to 2018!  Can you name the three state champions in football from last season?  Well, in Class AAA, surprise, surprise, surprise…. Martinsburg was once again the dominate team in the state finishing another season undefeated at 14-0 and winning their 3rd straight Class AAA Championship!  The Bulldogs, for the third straight year, knocked off previously unbeaten Spring Valley in the title game…this time by a score of 31-7.  If you want to talk about dominance, over the last 19 years, Martinsburg has won nearly 90% of their games and last season picked up their 7th Class AAA State Title.  In fact, as we enter the 2019 season, you have to go back to 2015 to find the last time Martinsburg lost a game and that was to Capital, on the road, in the 2015 quarterfinals!  Last season in Class AA, we had another undefeated team take home the big trophy as the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears tamed the Beavers of Bluefield 23-13 in the title game to win their first ever state football championship! The Polar Bears have finished as runners-up on six previous trips to the title game, but this was the first time to carry the big trophy home!  In Class A, the Wheeling Central Catholic Maroon Knights once again proved to be too tough to tackle as they finished the season at (13-1) defeating Williamstown 44-15 in the Class A Title game! With that win, Wheeling Central captured their overall 11th state football championship!

So, now that you are up to date on 2018, let’s look ahead to the upcoming season.  First of all, let me say, I am not a huge fan of preseason polls!  High School, College or Pro….a preseason poll is a simple “guess-timate” of what the pollsters “think” might happen as the season unfolds.  With that said, in all fairness, I must admit I am one of those “guess-timating” pollsters!  I do have a vote in the MetroNews High School Football poll and each week I will add my input to the list of top teams in the state.  In looking at the recent MetroNews Preseason Poll, you will find the top ten in each class and for the most part, the list contains the usual suspects.  Certainly it is hard to argue with Martinsburg being #1 in Class AAA and right below them, the cream of the crop from the MSAC with Spring Valley at #2, Capital #3 and Huntington checking in at #4.  The pollsters also give some love to the Applemen of Musselman as they check in at #5.  In Class AA, last year’s state title team is ranked #2 as the Fairmont Senior Polar Bears were jumped by the Bluefield Beavers who come in at #1.  In at #3 in Class AA we find the Bridgeport Indians with Mingo Central checking in at #4 and Robert C. Byrd at #5.  In Class A, muck like in Class AAA, it is hard to argue with the #1 pick as Wheeling Central grabs the #1 spot and based on what Head Coach Mike Young returns this season, the Maroon Knights are certainly the preseason favorites!  In at #2 in Class A are the Yellow Jackets of Williamstown, followed by Doddridge County, Midland Trail and Mount View.  We will check back on this preseason list in week number four of the season just to see if the pollsters guessed correctly!

As I mentioned earlier, it is indeed a busy week for those of us involved with high school football at the Network.  This coming Wednesday night, it is the start of High School Sportsline from 7-9p and we hope you will be listening for that….and, then this Friday, it is the return of MetroNews High School GAMENIGHT  and for the 18th year Dave Jecklin and I have the privilege of hosting the #1 program on the Network!  Can’t wait!!  So, this Friday night from 9:30-Midnight, I invite you to join Dave and me on over 40 radio stations statewide and you can also check out the live video and audio of the program @wvmetronews.com!

Looking forward to talking with you this Friday night!!

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