It is finally here….that very special week that generally falls around the first few days of December….and considering what 2020 was like for high school football fans in WV, this very special week in 2021 has been a long time coming!
We certainly don’t have the time to go over every disappointment that was generated in 2020 because of COVID! However, when we do stop and reflect back on some of those, certainly the many wonderful residents of the Mountain State who lost their lives because of the Coronavirus, is without question the saddest moments of 2020! If you narrow that list of disappointments and solely focus on high school athletics, not being afforded the opportunity to play the Super Six games at Wheeling Island Stadium would rank near the top! However, 2021 is going to be different! The six teams that have qualified to play this weekend have their hometowns buzzing and bursting with pride and each of the three games promise to be exciting.
The games will kick off this Friday night at 7pm with the Class AA title game featuring #2 Independence (11-0) taking on #16 Fairmont Senior (8-4). Located in Raleigh County at Coal City, WV Independence will be making their first ever appearance in the title game and veteran coach John Lilly will bring a skilled set of talented veterans to Wheeling Island! The Patriots are a very strong offensive team and have outscored their opponents by an average of 54-12 this season. Led by 6’1, 225 pound senior running back Atticus Goodson, Independence has scored 596 points in just 11 games this season. Atticus Goodson has rushed for over 5,000 yards in his high school career and he did not play football his freshman year!! This season he has rushed for 1,764 yards and has scored 29 touchdowns. For the #16 seed Fairmont Senior, an appearance at Wheeling Island Stadium is nothing new. Over the years, the Polar Bears from Marion County have won 3 state titles and have been runners-up 5 other times. When you look for the leader of the Polar Bear offense, look no further than #10 Dom Stingo. The 5’11 senior quarterback has directed the attack for head coach Nick Bartic this season as the Polar Bears have worked their way through the playoffs disposing of seeds 1, 8 and 5! And just in case you’re wondering if a #16 seed has ever played for the Class AA title, the answer is yes! In 1995, #16 Musselman (6-4) defeated #1 South Harrison (9-1) 19-8……#9 Greenbrier West (9-2) 38-7…..#12 Duval (9-2) 29-22 and #3 Bluefield (10-2) 19-0 in the Championship Game! In that same year, in Class A #16 Tucker County (5-4) defeated #1 Grafton (10-0) 38-13 in the 1st round, but lost in the quarter-finals to #8 Keyser (8-3) by a final of 27-7!
The second championship game this weekend will kickoff at Noon this Saturday and will feature two very talented Class AAA ball clubs. In the AAA classification, the seedings held true as #1 Huntington (13-0) will match up against #2 Martinsburg (12-1). The Highlanders of Huntington have meshed an explosive offense with a stingy defense this season and have outscored their first 13 opponents 509-135! The current edition of Huntington High consolidated with Huntington East in 1996 and since then have appeared in the Class AAA title game only one time…..in 2013 when they lost to Martinsburg 9-7! The Highlanders are still looking for their first football title. Head Coach Billy Seals took over the Huntington program in 2009 and since then has compiled a record of 100-52! Their opponent this Saturday afternoon is a very familiar face at Wheeling Island Stadium as the 8-time state champion Bulldogs of Martinsburg will cross the state from the Eastern Panhandle to the Northern Panhandle and arrive in Wheeling hungry for title number 9. The last time Martinsburg was in the title game was 2019 and they defeated Cabell Midland to wrap up their fourth straight Class AAA championship. Second year head coach Britt Sherman owns an impressive (17-2) mark having taken over for veteran coach Dave Walker in 2020!
The final game in this year’s Super Six Championships just might be the best game of the weekend. The Class A title game will kickoff at 7pm Saturday night and will feature #4 Ritchie County (12-1) matching up with #6 Williamstown (11-2)! This season, the 4th seeded Rebels have outscored all other Class A teams in the state having racked up 542 points in 13 games. They outscored their three playoff opponents 100-38! Led by 6″2 Junior QB Ethan Haught, the Rebels only loss was to Doddridge County 29-26 back in September. Doddridge County was the #2 seed in this year’s field of sixteen. Head Coach Rick Haught has been in charge of the Rebel program since 2018 and has a four year record of (39-9)! The Rebels opponent this Saturday night is someone very familiar with Wheeling Island as the 6th seeded Yellow Jackets of Williamstown will roll into the stadium playing as good of football as any team in the state. Williamstown won their only football title in 2014, but have been runners-up on 7 other occasions! Super Sophomore Maxwell Molessa leads the Yellow Jackets from the quarterback position and gets a lot of offensive help from 6′ junior running back Rickie Allen. Williamstown defeated the same Doddridge County team that had beaten Ritchie County earlier this season, last Friday afternoon in the semi-finals by a final score of 43-0! Head Coach Chris Beck is in his 2nd year as the head man at Williamstown and has an impressive record of (16-4)!
Just a reminder, if you can’t be in attendance at this year’s Super Six, all three games will be carried live on several great radio stations around the state and the live audio will be streamed of each game a www.wvmetronews.com!