PHOTO: Westside has no shortage of offensive weapons including Jaxon Cogar (with ball), Blake Goode (1) and Ethan Blackburn (8) among others. The Renegades defense will be the key this season.
By Dave Morrison
The Covid and its grip on the nation surely has changed the high school sports landscape, especially here in the Mountain State.
Things change daily, sometimes by the hour. The state Department of Health and Human Resources site is required following. Yellow and green are everyone’s favorite colors.
Some teams have yet to play.
That said, a little semblance of the old normal happened last week when high school football returned to some schools.
Here is a preview of who is playing this week and my picks.
Last Week: 7-2
Season record: 7-2
SHADY SPRING at SUMMERS COUNTY
Shady Spring is coming off a rare win over Nicholas, but that battle was won at great cost, with several injuries and a big one that came this week leading up to Friday’s matchup..
One of open-week stars was the breakout performance of Cameron Manns, who replaced injured starter Jared Lilly and had a huge hand in the Tigers’ 29-27 victory over Nicholas County.
Manns was 12 of 18 passing for 191 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed five times for 24 yards and a score.
Jadon Hershberger caught seven passes for 141 yards and rushed for 42 yards and had 15 tackles.
Isaiah Valentine had a rushing and receiving touchdown but word came Thursday that Valentine had surgery on Wednesday for Compartment Syndrome and the senior will be out for the season.
Summers had a tough opener against Greenbrier West, a Landon Richmond 58-yard kick return for a score allowing the Bobcats to avoid the shutout.
Summers County had just 94 yards of total offense, Markis Crawford rushing for a team-high 52 yards. Shady Spring 41, Summers County 14
WESTSIDE at GREENBRIER WEST
Westside was also on the verge of a shoutout in its 38-6 victory against Mount View when the Golden Knights returned a fumble 91 yards for a touchdown.
That 91 yards run was over four times more than Mount View’s total offense in the game. Westside held the Knights to just 20 total yards, 31 passing and minus-11 yards rushing on 16 attempts.
The Renegades had five sacks, three turnovers and the Knights had one run over 10 yards.
Westside has no shortage of playmakers, in Daniel Reed (103 receiving yards – including a 91-yard touchdown reception – and 67 yards rushing and a touchdown), Blake Goode (130 yards rushing, two TD and a passing TD), Jaxon Cogar (11 of 17 passing, 202 yards and two TD and a rushing TD) and Ethan Blackburn (reception, 41 yard TD).
They will encounter a different animal in West, a team many feel is a true contender in Class A.
Noah Brown was the area’s leading rusher a year ago and he started the season with a 120-yard, one-touchdown performance.
Coach Toby Harris said his team had more than one weapon and the Cavs showed that.
Quarterback Kaiden Pack rushed for 85 yards and a carry and unleashed his cannon for 106 yards and a touchdown. Levi Weikle had 50 yards and a score. Cole McClung rushed for a touchdown. All told the Cavaliers rushed for 246 yards. Greeenbrier West 31, Westside 26
NICHOLAS COUNTY at WYOMING EAST
A pair of playoff teams opened the season with losses in the opening week.
Wyoming East is making some changes coming off a 28-0 loss to Pendleton County last week.
Freshman Jackson Danielson will start Friday night at quarterback, with Brandon Simpson moving to slot. Center Josh Reilley is being moved to guard, Matt Allen to center as part of a line shakeup.
The line on Danielson is he has a big arm, and is more of a pocket passer.
The Warriors rushed for 85 yards in the game, after averaging 235 yards a game last year. Wyoming East passed for 19 yards in the game, after throwing for 145 a game last season.
Nicholas County got a big game from quarterback Jordan McKInney in a 29-27 loss to Shady Spring. McKinney ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 116.
Ironically McKinney got his first action last year against Wyoming East, when starter Timmy Baker was injured. He was 3 of 6 passing for 21 yards and he was sacked a couple times for a loss of 12 yards. Wyoming East 21, Nicholas County 20
RIVER VIEW at INDEPENDENCE
These two teams are coming in off shutout wins.
For River View it was the schools fourth shutout all time and the Raiders first since 2015.
Jacob Sweeney rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Mikey Picklesimer had 14 tackles, three sacks and an interception to lead the defense.
Picklesimer and the River View defense will try to stop Atticus Goodson and the Patriots offense. Last week in a 71-0 win over PikeView, Goodson rushed for 267 yards and four touchdowns on just nine carries. All told Indy rushed for 439 yards and Cohen Miller, Judah Price, Logan Phalin and Tyler Linkswiler had rushing touchdowns.
Quarterback Isaiah Duncan completed both his passes (125 yards) for touchdowns to Trey Bowers and Price. Miller had 10.5 tackles and sack. Phalin had three tackles for a loss. Independence 42, River View 21
LIBERTY at BRAXTON COUNTY
The Raiders head to the geographic center of the state, Flatwoods, to take on the Eagles in a Covid replacement game.
Last week the Raiders had an easy time with Van, winning 52-8.
Quarterback Isaac Atkins was a perfect 5-5 passing for 179 yards and three touchdowns to three different players (Shawn Pennington, Braden Howell and Logan Doddrill).
Ryan Simms had 116 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Howell and Trey Tabor had interceptions. Howell had 10 last fall.
Braxton had to forfeit last week’s game to Lewis County due to a lack of eligible players. The Eagles had 13 players eligible, many with no football experience. The teams were supposed to play a scrimmage last week in place of the game, and Lewis was credited with a 1-0 win.
Liberty 52, Braxton 12
PARKERSBURG SOUTH at WOODROW WILSON
Woodrow Wilson had a hard time slowing Colby Piner last week. The senior started the game with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. By the end of the first quarter, Piner added a receiving touchdown (49 yards) and a rushing touchdown (6 yards).
Woodrow was able to move the football, Hezekiah Creasy rushing for 154 yards. Creasy had 169 yards against Bluefield last year in the season finale.
Quarterback Maddex McMillen was 12 of 27 passing for 188 yards and had a rushing touchdown. In his first game with Woodrow, former Westside standout Jace Colucci caught three passes for 63 yards and a score.
Last week Parkersburg South agreed to play Cabell Midland (both were off due to the Covid shutting down opponents) on Friday afternoon and fell 69-34. Cabell has one of the top AAA teams in the state this year and is expected to challenge Martinsburg, which has won four straight AAA championships.
Nate Tanner, former coach at Summers County, is the Parkersburg head coach.
Parkersburg South 35, Woodrow Wilson 22
GREENBRIER EAST at JEFFERSON
In addition to Piner’s big game last week, quarterback Monquelle Davis stood out, throwing for 159 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers (Nate Baker, Colby Piner and Trey Poindexter) and rushed for 42 yards and a score.
Quenton Wilson rushed for 136 yards.
The victory over the Flying Eagles was the first for the Spartans over their ancient adversaries since the 2016 season.
Jefferson fell to powerful EP foe Musselman last week 49-6. Greenbrier East 28, Jefferson 12
SHERMAN at RICHWOOD
Not much went right for the Lumberjacks in a season-opening loss to Tolsia. Richwood crossed midfield just twice, on the final play of the first half and the final play of the game.
Coach Gary Roach will be looking for increased production from the offense, which rushed for just 44 yards and had 55 yards total offense.
The Lumberjacks had two punts blocked in the game.
Big lineman Josh “Tater” Hypes missed the opener with a knee injury and could be lost for the season. Roach had to move fullback Doye Ward, who he was counting on in he backfield, to the offensive line to offset the loss of the 365 pound Hypes. Richwood 26, Sherman 22