The Voice of West Virginia
ONA, W.Va. — Photo gallery from Cabell Midland’s 45-6 victory over Parkersburg.
(Photos courtesy of John Hagley Photography)
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West Virginia faces perhaps its toughest test of the season Saturday when the Mountaineers meet six-time defending Big 12 Conference champion Oklahoma.
The league opener for both teams at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium kicks off at 7:30 p.m., and will be televised by ABC. The fourth-ranked Sooners were the preseason conference favorite and have won all eight meetings against the Mountaineers since West Virginia joined the Big 12.
“We’re going to the six-time defending Big 12 champion,” WVU head coach Neal Brown said. “Just saying that is a lot, right? It’s a great opportunity for our program on ABC, a primetime game, playing at one of the most tradition rich venues in college football.”
The Mountaineers and Sooners did not play last season after having to postpone the scheduled matchup and then canceling the rescheduled date as a result of COVID-19 issues within the WVU program.
Oklahoma (3-0) perhaps hasn’t lived up to the offensive expectations that surround the program annually, though the Sooners have scored 139 points. However, 76 came in a Week 2 shutout win over FCS opponent Western Carolina.
OU is coming off its lowest point total (23) in last week’s win over Nebraska since a 2015 national semifinal loss to Clemson.
Sophomore sensation quarterback Spencer Rattler keys an offense directed by head coach Lincoln Riley.
“Rattler’s arm talent is so unique,” Brown said. “He can move. He extends plays. They can run him if they want to run him. They choose not to. But he has one of the strongest arms and quickest releases that I’ve seen in however long I’ve been doing it.”
Tailbacks Kennedy Books and Eric Gray are the focal point of Oklahoma’s rushing attack and its only two scholarship players at that position. Brooks has 210 rushing yards on 6.2 yards per attempt and three touchdowns, while Gray averages 5.6 yards on his 33 carries.
Wideouts Jadon Haselwood (127 receiving yards, two TDs) and Mario Williams (115 yds, 2 TDs) are two of Rattler’s favorite targets, while Marvin Mims is averaging 21 yards on eight catches to lead the team in yardage.
It figures to be a formidable challenge for a West Virginia defense that made its third red zone stand in the final minute to preserve last week’s 27-21 win over Virginia Tech.
The Sooners are averaging better than 47 points during the eight-game win streak over West Virginia and have scored at least 52 points in the last four meetings dating back to 2016.
The Mountaineers have allowed 51 points in three games, but have forced only one turnover and are one of 11 FBS teams yet to intercept a pass. WVU stifled the Hokies for much of last week’s win and finished with six sacks, half of which came from Jared Bartlett off the edge.
“We’d been playing some twist games with him and we let him straight rush,” Brown said. “He’s a speed guy. He’s done a really good job understanding dip and drive technique, how to use his body, changing tempos.”
Defensive linemen Akheem Mesidor and Dante Stills lead the way on the Mountaineer front and continue to disrupt opposing offenses.
WVU currently has the top red-zone defense in all of college football, with opponents scoring on only four of 11 trips inside the 20-yard line.
“They lost some good players from last year, but they’re playing at a high level,” Riley said. “They can rush the passer. They’ve been good against the run. They do some really good things schematically. They’re challenging at all levels.
“It’ll be a good test. We didn’t get that chance to get that test last year when they were playing at a high level, but it’ll be a good test for us offensively. Hopefully we’ll play well and it’ll be a pretty good test for them, too.”
West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege continues to see most of the action, though Garrett Greene has spelled him in each of the last two games.
Doege has 729 passing yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. Greene is the team’s second-leading rusher with 126 yards on 18 carries.
Tailback Leddie Brown comes off his best rushing output of the season having gained 161 yards on 19 carries. Brown has 265 yards and five touchdowns.
The return of tight end Mike O’Laughlin, who made his season debut against VT, gave WVU a boost in its run game. O’Laughlin played 39 snaps.
“He’s one of the reasons why we ran the football better because we had his presence,” Neal Brown said. “But also our footwork, how we blocked and the demeanor we had up front was significantly better than the first two weeks.”
Wideout Sam James has a team-best 166 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Fellow wideouts Sean Ryan, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Isaiah Esdale and Winston Wright Jr. each have more than 100 receiving yards as well.
The WVU offensive line will look to hold up against a Sooners’ defense that prides itself on creating negative plays and turnovers.
“Good quarterback play, an experienced offensive line and skill positions are quality across the board,” OU defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said of the Mountaineers. “Some size at receiver as well. They have speed. The jet sweep series you’ll see on film and the screen game is quality, so they’ll take advantage of it when you got a pass rush. You have to be disciplined that way.
“One of the premier running backs in the country to hand the ball off to. In 2021, you don’t get weeks off defensively. We know that in this conference as much as anything else.”
Oklahoma had 16 interceptions a year ago and has already forced seven turnovers this season.
The Sooners are plus-5 in turnover margin, while the Mountaineers are minus-6 and ahead of only UTEP in the FBS.
“We have to do a better job getting our hands up at the line of scrimmage and affecting throws, getting our hands on the football in the run game and do a better job trying to get the ball out in gang-tackling situations,” WVU defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley said. “It’s really just something we have not done a good job with. That’s as simple as it is. We have to do better.”
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Spring Valley is known for its ball control attack offensively, one that prides itself on physicality, controling the ball and continuously generating a push up front.
Those traits were on display Friday in the ninth-rated Timberwolves’ 440-yard effort against Class AAA No. 5 South Charleston.
So, too, was a passing attack Spring Valley doesn’t regularly rely on, as the Timberwolves put together a dominant effort to hand the Black Eagles their first loss since the 2019 season, 53-8.
“We played really well,” Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess said. “Our defense played well. We were able to get pressure on the quarterback, which we’ve struggled with in a couple games. We controlled the line of scrimmage and on offense, we mixed it up pretty good between run and pass. We kept them on their heels a little bit and just took what they gave us.”
Spring Valley quarterback Dalton Fouch threw three first-half touchdown passes and opened the second-half scoring with a 5-yard TD run.
The Timberwolves were in control throughout. They scored on their first play from scrimmage on Jace Caldwell’s 32-yard run, capitalizing on good field position Caldwell provided with a long kickoff return.
Leading 7-0, the Timberwolves stalled out inside the South Charleston 5-yard line on each of their next two series, but responded by forcing a three-and-out on both occasions. The second one created a punt snap that went out of the back of the Black Eagles’ end zone for a safety, leaving the Timberwolves with a 9-0 lead at the 3:07 mark of the first quarter.
“The only good thing about today was our goal-line stands,” SC coach Donnie Mays said. “That was it. Besides that, we were awful. We played bad football and we coached bad. It was just a bad day for us. It was one of those days where you wish you could start over.”
On the ensuing possession, Fouch threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Cody Shy that left the Timberwolves (4-1) with a 16-0 lead.
Trey Dunn’s 49-yard pass to Jah’Den Estep helped setup Amellio Miller’s 1-yard touchdown run and the Black Eagles (3-1) cut the deficit to eight when Estep brought in the two-point pass. But that proved to be the final scoring play for South Charleston, which managed only 120 yards playing without wideouts Wayne Harris and Chris McCorkle, who were suspended for a violation of team rules.
“Our game plan changed today, because we had a team violation and we had to put a couple kids out for this game,” Mays said. “It just changed a lot of stuff that we were trying to do and creates different personnel that hadn’t been in certain spots. Things like that snowball. It was a nightmare from the beginning.”
Fouch’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Ty Bartrum came just 2:25 after the South Charleston (3-1) touchdown and put the visitors in a 23-8 hole.
Bartrum also brought in a 41-yard TD pass from Fouch 33 seconds before halftime, leaving the Timberwolves with a 29-8 lead.
“Fouch has done a phenomenal job for us this year,” Dingess said. “We feel like with our receivers, if you try to guard them one-on-one, we have the advantage. Our kids are pretty good out there on the perimeter and if we can get some guys out of the box, then we can run the football. It’s a good balance.”
On the first play of the second half, Bartrum intercepted Dunn — one of three Spring Valley interceptions in the quarter.
Fouch’s 61-yard pass to Ben Turner put the quarterback in position to score on a 5-yard run on the next play.
Two plays later, Caldwell intercepted Dunn and raced 47 yards to the end zone, leaving the Timberwolves with a 43-8 advantage.
Landon Mosser’s 22-yard field goal sent SVHS into the fourth with a 46-8 lead, and Ty Allen capped the scoring with a 4-yard run during a fourth quarter that was played with a running clock.
“It’s not a fun place to play at and I tried to explain that to the kids,” Mays said. “It’s the only place we play all year that has grass and it changes the mentality. But those are excuses and we just got our butts kicked tonight.”
The victory was Spring Valley’s fourth straight and sets up another showdown next week for the Timberwolves, who play at unbeaten Huntington.
“It was one of those that it wasn’t a must win,” Dingess said, “but if you’re going to play at home in the playoffs and possibly make a run, this is one we had to have.”
(Highlights by Teran Malone)
WHEELING, W.Va. — Highlights from Wheeling Central Catholic’s 49-21 win over Man. The Maroon Knights upped their record to 3-2, while the Hillbillies fell to 2-2.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Take a look around West Virginia with news and notes from the fifth week of the high school football season.
BRIDGEPORT 35, Robert C. Byrd 17 — The Indians (4-0) broke open a close game at halftime to defeat their Big 10 Conference rivals. Bridgeport led 13-10 at halftime and used a pair of second half touchdown runs from Landyn Reppert and another from Charlie Brazier to pull away from the Flying Eagles. Bridgeport rushed for 415 yards.
Jeremiah King led the Flying Eagles (2-2) with 236 rushing yards and a touchdown.
CABELL MIDLAND 45, Parkersburg 6 — The Knights (4-1) jumped on the scoreboard early and often in a 39-point win over the Big Reds (2-3). Midland held PHS to just 107 total yards. The Knights racked up 288 total yards in the first half.
PARKERSBURG SOUTH 28, John Marshall 25 — The Patriots jumped back over the .500 mark with their third victory of the season. PSHS quarterback Robert Shockey had a touchdown run and a touchdown pass in the victory. Gage Wright collected a pair of turnovers with a fumble recovery and an interception.
WOODROW WILSON 28, Morgantown 27 (OT) — Beckley stopped a two-point conversion attempt in overtime to collect their second win of the season. Matthew Moore scored the touchdown in overtime for the Flying Eagles. Keynan Cook’s touchdown reception sent the game to the extra session. He ended the game with 140 receiving yards.
Martinsburg, Huntington, Jefferson and University all collected wins to up their marks to 5-0. The Bulldogs won at Hedgesville, 54-6. Huntington rallied from an early deficit to defeat Capital, 30-7. Jefferson won at North Hagerstown, Md. 56-13 and University rolled over Fairmont Senior, 35-6.
LIBERTY RALEIGH 14, Clay County 2 — The Raiders have won back-to-back games after a season-opening loss. Liberty made a pair of goal line stands to preserve the defensive shutout against the Panthers. Clay received 200 yards of total offense from Levi Burnette.
SCOTT 26, Chapmanville 23 — The Skyhawks improved to 4-1 with a three-point win at CHS. Cooper Martin had a pair of scoring runs and he finished the game with 70 rushing yards. Nick Farmer led the Tigers with 227 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
PHILIP BARBOUR 47, Elkins 20 — Nick Mayle collected his first victory as the Colts’ head coach. Philip Barbour halted a 22-game losing streak that dated back to the 2018 season. Deshawn Webster rushed for 219 yards and four touchdowns for PB.
NICHOLAS COUNTY 56, Wyoming East 0 — Kaleb Clark rushed for four first-half touchdowns and the Grizzlies (3-1) bounced back from their first loss in a big way.
Colton Browning scored on a run and kickoff return, while Wes Hill and Alex Pritt added rushing scores in the victory.
GRAFTON 41, Liberty Harrison 34 — Tanner Moats passed for two touchdowns and rushed for three scores to lead the Bearcats to a high-scoring victory over the Mountaineers.
Trailing 34-27 to start the fourth quarter, Grafton got a 5-yard touchdown run from Moats, but still trailed by one when the point-after kick was blocked.
Moats threw a 25-yard TD pass to Justin Spiker later in the fourth, allowing the Bearcats to improve to 3-2.
Liberty (2-3), which squandered a 20-0 lead, got 297 rushing yards and four touchdowns from Raiden Childers in defeat.
Herbert Hoover defeated Sissonville, 70-0 to become the first Class AA team to reach the 5-0 mark.
TRINITY 30, Racine Southern, Oh. 0 — Playing their first game in three weeks, the Warriors picked up a shutout victory on the road to improve to 2-0. Levi Teets had three rushing touchdowns for TCS.
CLAY-BATTELLE 36, Tygarts Valley 30 (OT) — The Cee-Bees improved to 4-1 by erasing a 15-point fourth quarter deficit. Carson Shriver scored five touchdowns for Clay-Battelle and rushed for 306 yards.
GILMER COUNTY 39, South Harrison 20 — The Titans overcame a one-point halftime deficit to earn their fourth straight win.
Trailing 14-7, Gilmer County got a 33-yard touchdown pass from Ean Hamric to Garrett Butler on the final play of the first half.
Hamric’s third-quarter touchdown pass to Butler put the Titans on top for good, while the quarterback added a 54-yard TD run to help the Titans up their lead.
Hamric finished with 162 passing yards and 62 rushing yards, while Butler had 97 receiving yards.
Noah Burnside rushed for 109 yards for the Hawks, who fell to 1-4.
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— Story by Ethan Collins
MORGANTOWN W.Va. — University collected another solid early-season victory, defeating Fairmont Senior 35-6. University heads into their bye week undefeated (5-0) as a top contender in Class AAA. The Polar Bears fell to 2-3 with Wheeling Park and Spring Valley up next for the Polar Bears.
“I know my kids think they are for real, and I think we are for real. The bottom line is we are 5-0,” said head coach John Kelley. “If you put all the classes together, Fairmont would be in the top five. They have had tremendous success. They have great staff and athletes.”
On the opening drive, University had a six play, 71-yard drive. Chase Edwards felt pressure coming from his blind side left, rolled right, and threw it up to complete a 46-yard touchdown pass to Sage Clawges.
The rest of the first half was very defensive. Four drives on both sides resulted in a punt or a turnover on downs. This was due to the pressure that both defenses brought upon the quarterback. With about five minutes left to go in the half, University started in opponent territory, giving them their best opportunity to run a balanced attack of run and pass. The Hawks scored their second touchdown by a way of a 1-yard rush from running back Colin McBee on fourth-and-goal. UHS led 14-0 at halftime.
The Polar Bears had a chance to get themselves back into the game early in the second half. However, Brody Whitehair threw the first interception of the game that ended up being pick-six from Elija Jackson that brought the score to 21-0.
After another interception in the red zone by the Polar Bears, University outscored Fairmont Sr. 14-6 in the final quarter of game.
“In the first half they pressured me well, but I’m used to it we all just had to stay composed,” said Edwards after the win. “I just really trusted my offensive line. At halftime we made really good adjustments and dominated them on both sides of the ball.” When asked how confident he and his team are after the great start he responded, “We still have a lot of work to do. We are still going to get better, and we still have not peaked yet.”
Edwards went 18-of-26 passing for 210 yards and three touchdowns. His top two targets were Hammack and Clawges. Hammack caught four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Clawges caught six passes 80 yards and a touchdown as well. McBee led the way in rushing with 16 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Whitehair completed 6-of-14 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown but had two interceptions. Leading the way in rushing for the Polar Bears was Germaine Lewis, who had ten carries for 60 yards.
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WEST UNION, W.Va. — For the second consecutive season, a field goal by a member of the Devinney family lifted Doddridge County to a thrilling victory over their rivals from Ritchie County. Junior John Devinney connected on a 20-yarder in double overtime as the Bulldogs edged the Rebels, 29-26.
“He makes a high percentage of extra points. I know he missed two, but percentage-wise, I was confident in him. I know maybe some people questioned that but I knew he was bound to nail one. And he did,” said Doddridge County head coach Bobby Burnside.
Last year, John Devinney’s older brother D.J. delivered a game-winning field goal in the final minute as Doddridge edged Ritchie, 9-8.
After a scoreless first quarter, the teams traded a pair of touchdown drives in the second quarter. Bulldog quarterback Jared Jones scored on a three-yard run to give Doddridge a 7-0 lead. Ritchie answered when Gus Morrison scored on a six-yard run that pulled the Rebels within a point, 7-6.
Midway through the second, Dylan Knight scored the first of his two touchdowns, putting the Bulldogs up 14-6. Late in the half, Ethan Haught found Garrett Cunningham on a 13-yard scoring strike. Doddridge led 14-12 at halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, the Rebels took their first lead of the game on a one-yard run from Brandon Riddle. Ritchie led 20-12 through three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, Knight capped a lengthy drive with 1:10 to play with a five-yard touchdown tote. The point after attempt was wide left, and the game went to overtime tied 20-20.
The Bulldogs took the ball first in overtime and regained the lead when Jones connected with Gabe Stewart from 13 yards out. Riddle answered for Ritchie on a ten-yard run. The game went to double overtime tied 26-26.
Doddridge gained a quick advantage in the second extra session. Adam Burnside’s stop on fourth-and-1 turned the Rebels away, setting the stage for Devinney’s game-winning kick.
“Adam, our D-line, everyone across the board gave great effort tonight and showed great heart.”
Doddridge (3-0) had gone 21 days in between games due to COVID issues with their scheduled opponents.
“That was a concern. How was our conditioning going to hold up? We did go hard on Fridays and had some scrimmages and a couple of the kids said, ‘Coach, that paid off’.”
Knight rushed for 132 yards on 32 totes. The Bulldogs rushed for 247 yards.
“Our offensive line kills it in the weight room. Tonight, I felt like they wanted to prove something. Dylan ran hard and our fullback, Bryce McKinney blocked their tails off. But it was all ten guys besides the ball carrier blocking with heart. They gave great effort.”
Ritchie (3-1) suffered their first loss since last year’s game against the Bulldogs. Their 11-game win streak came to an end. Haught completed 14-of-21 passes for 136 yards and he led Ritchie with 89 yards on 12 carries.
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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two people were injured in a shooting Friday morning in Martinsburg.
State police tell the Panhandle News Network they responded just before 2 a.m. to the 500 block of Warm Springs Avenue after a report of a shooting involving two vehicles.
Trooper T.A. Cathey discovered a man and woman had been shot. Both victims were conscious and breathing and were transported to Berkeley Medical Center for treatment.
The woman was treated and released while the man is in stable condition.
The suspect vehicle is believed to be a dark-colored SUV of unknown make or model.
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call the Martinsburg state police detachment at 304-267-0001.
Three names have been submitted to fill the vacancy of Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley, who resigned earlier this month.
The three candidates submitted for consideration by Gov. Jim Justice include Michelle Barnes Russell, Donn Marshall and Hannah Geffert.
The names were submitted by 16th Senate District Democrats. The committee met, held interviews, and voted before submission.
Justice has five days to make his selection.
A special legislative session has been widely discussed for early October to consider West Virginia’s redistricting plans. Every 10 years, following the Census, states use new population numbers to adjust their political districts. There may also be fiscal matters during that possible special session.
Unger resigned last month to take a new role as a county magistrate. Unger said he will focus on the challenges of trauma, depression, fear and addiction.
“Therefore, to do this, I will transition from the legislative branch to the judicial branch to serve the people as a magistrate as well as continue to serve in the ministry as a pastor and priest,” Unger wrote in his resignation letter.
Barnes Russell was a Berkeley County school board member but was not re-elected in 2020. She has also served on the West Virginia Women’s Commission.
Marshall was a House of Delegates candidate in 2014. He withdrew when he accepted a job with the U.S. Department of Defense. The Shepherdstown resident lost his wife, Shelley Marshall, when she died in the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Geffert is a retired political science professor who taught at Shepherd University.
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RIPLEY, W.Va. — Two Jackson County school buses were destroyed by fire early Friday morning.
The buses were parked at the Ripley school bus garage near Ripley High School. The fire was reported at around 2 a.m.
Some Ripley residents reported hearing and feeling explosions associated with the fire.
The front ends were burned out of two buses, according to Jackson County School Superintendent Blaine Hess.
“They appear to be total losses,” Blaine told WMOV Radio in Ravenswood. “I can’t imagine them being repaired in any fashion and being put back on the road.”
Hess said two other buses sustained heat damage. He said those will repaired and back in action soon.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to investigate. The Ripley Fire Department responded to the blaze and is assisting the fire marshal.
“We do have some video surveillance of that area that we’ll be reviewing,” Hess said. “The authorities will do a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of this issue.”
Hess said the county’s insurance will cover the damage. He said he’s thankful for the quick response from the fire department.
A pair of back-up buses were used for Friday’s runs.
“I’m glad we had the capacity to continue operations,” Hess said.
There were no injuries reported.