By Dave Morrison
With all due respect to any other single-A teams, the Class A game of the week this week is a no brainer. It’s Midland Trail at Fayetteville.
Forget the rankings. Rivals Williamstown and Parkersburg Catholic meet in a 6-7 matchup.
This is a bit bigger than even that. It’s the final time these two rivals, separated by the New River Gorge Bridge and maybe seven miles of U.S. Route 19, will meet.
By now most people know another round of Fayette County consolidations is taking out Fayetteville and Valley. I have my own feelings on that but that’s for another day.
Trail and Fayetteville has always been a great rivalry in a county that owned Class A in the late 80s and early 90s. I was fortunate to chronicle all of that.
Fayetteville’s 1992 state championship team – which will have a reunion dinner Friday night- was, in my opinion, the best of the best from that golden era of Fayette County football. That’s saying something when you consider the 1988 Meadow Bridge teams and the 1989 Mont Hope team. Consider that three different Fayette County schools won state titles in a five-year period. That is incredible.
What a team that Fayetteville squad was, with outstanding players and even better characters. There are so many great stories from that season.
One day I may tell them.
The rivalry is real, but the schools are so close that there are a couple of former Fayetteville players – Jeremy Moore and Charlie Pritt, are now coaching at Midland Trail. Fayetteville head coach Dave Moneypenny is a Midland Trail graduate.
The rankings do matter this season, moreso for Fayetteville, No. 12 in Class A, than for No. 3 Midland Trail, simply for the the fact that the Pirates are more in a survival mode in terms of the postseason than is Midland Trail. But, Trail still faces a very good Oak Hill team, No. 10 in Class AA, so now is not the time to start a losing streak.
Midland Trail has won three of the last four meetings.
The last three meetings have been high scoring affairs, and lopsided to boot. Last year Midland Trail won twice at home, beating the Pirates 49-6 in the regular season and 35-7 in the first round of the Class A playoffs.
Fayetteville won in Fayetteville 51-31 in 2016 during the the Pirates undefeated season and run the the Class A semifinals.
The last close one was a 23-16 Midland Trail win in 2015.
It’s also Bridge Day weekend this week in the area, meaning there will be a lot of people in town for the annual event that is a big economic boon to the area.
Still, the real celebration this weekend ought to be for this reason: It likely will be the last home game in the tradition-laden school’s 90-year history. That alone makes it a game of the week candidate in my book.
Midland Trail and Fayetteville. One more time. One final time. One for the books.
The stats are starting to pile up for some area players.
We have two quarterbacks over 1,000 yards passing, led by Princeton’s Ranson Graham at 1,368 and Nicholas County’s Jared Sagraves at 1,303.
It looks to me like there will be more 1,000 yard passers this season than we’ve had in the past.
Only one rusher has topped 1,000 for the season, PikeView’s Evan Rose who has 1,124 yards, the senior’s third straight 1,000 yard season.
Last year by this point we had three rushers over 1,000.
Oak Hill’s Abe Farrow continues to lead the area in receiving (753 yards and 13 touchdowns) and scoring (138 points). But his team faces a tough test Friday at Bluefield, where the Red Devils will meet an angry group of Beavers, following a 17-3 loss to Lord Boutitourt.
Farrow has a chance to turn a rare double 1,000 feat – rushing and receiving. He has 726 yards rushing.
His quarterback Khori Bass has a shot at 1,000 passing and rushing with 848 passing and 681 rushing.
Midland Trail’s Austin Isaacs is close to that milestone as well with 886 yards passing and 757 yards rushing.
Speaking of that Midland Trail at Fayetteville game, the Pirates Jordan Dempsey is two yards shy of 1,000 for the third time in his stellar career.
Greenbrier East checks in at No. 14 in this weeks Secondary School Activities Commission ratings, following a close 28-26 loss to Ripley. Woodrow Wilson is hanging tough at No. 19.
In Class AA, five area teams made the top 16, led by Nicholas County at No. 3. Bluefield dropped to No. 5 after the Beavers first loss of the season, a 17-3 setback to Lord Boutitourt.
Oak Hill rose to No. 10 after a 21-6 victory over Shady Spring. The Tigers fell to No. 4 and suddenly-hot James Monroe is at No. 16.
Midland Trail and Fayetteville are Nos. 3 and 12 as previously mentioned and Summers, which started the season with three straight losses, is back in the Class A ratings at No. 14.