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Sleep Inn - Cross Lanes Sleep In Logo - Small Medabolix Joe Holland

Wire Reports
August 25, 2011

fball HSrush4

Thinking Back And Thursday Football

Thinking Back And Thursday Football August 24, 2011

High school football is upon us, folks.

It all gets going Thursday night in the great state of West Virginia with eight, count em eight, showdowns.

Seems just like yesterday Martinsburg was defeating Brooke for the Class AAA state title to finish out the 2010 regular season. A season that was stretched an extra week due to some controversy in the big school ranks (which we will no longer discuss).

Speaking of yesterday, let's go back into the Wayback Machine for some memories:

IT HAPPENED 40 YEARS AGO: In 1971 East Bank defeated Morgantown for the Class AAA title, Gary stopped Oceana in Class AA and Ansted downed Fairview in Class A. Of those six schools, only Morgantown still exists. East Bank is now a part of Riverside, Gary became part of Mt. View back in 1978, Oceana helped formed Westside, Ansted merged with Nuttal to make Midland Trail and Fairview (where a guy named Rich Rodriguez first played) was part of the consolidation to make up North Marion.

IT HAPPENED 30 YEARS AGO: Speaking of North Marion, in 1981 the Huskies, won a second straight state title by defeating Fairmont Senior. Ceredo-Kenova downed Magnolia for the Class AA crown and Sistersville captured won its second consecutive crown in Class A with a win over Peterstown. C-K is now a part of Spring Valley, Sistersville consolidated with Tyler County to form Tyler Consolidated and Peterstown joined Union to make James Monroe.

IT HAPPENED 20 YEARS AGO: Capital topped Wheeling Park for the AAA title, Spencer won its first and only state championship with a thrilling win over Greenbrier West in AA and Peterstown topped Matewan in Class A. Spencer is now a part of Roane County while Matewan is no longer, helping form the brand new Mingo Central.

IT HAPPENED 10 YEARS AGO: The Big Reds of Parkersburg, the Dots of Poca and the Maroon Knights of Wheeling Central claimed titles in Class AAA, Class AA and Class A, respectively.

KENNEDY WINNERS: In 1971, Williamstown's Rick Petty was voted the state's best. In 1981, it was Petersburg's John Koontz getting the nod. Wheeling Park's Darryl "Boogie" Johnson got the award in 1991. Parkersburg's Marc Kimes was the Kennedy recipient 10 years ago.

THOUGHTS ON THURSDAYS: I love high school football. And I love Friday nights.

That's why I'm not exactly crazy about games being played on Thursday night.

Oh, sure, it's great to get the season started with a few games, but this year there are more than a few...in fact, two will be played in the Kanawha Valley, including a big showdown between rivals South Charleston and GW.

I'm just a traditional guy and would prefer that these games unfold on Friday, but I'll live with it.

Friday nights during football season just have a feel like none other.

I think back to the days of playing, and that build up to Friday night was something else. You could sense it getting closer with each day. I loved the feel Thursday night had (not for a game), but because you knew 24 hours from now the lights would go on.

Again, Thursdays just aren't my ideal for high school football games. That night should be reserved for pep rallys, bonfires, etc.

But I'm not going to complain too much. After all, football season is here.

After deaths, Georgia school districts cancel outdoor practices By Cameron Smith

The day after two Georgia teenagers died of complications from practicing football in extreme heat, some areas of the state suspended outdoor activities for school-aged athletes in an effort to minimize the threat posed by holding practices in dangerous heat indexes.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, seven school districts canceled or delayed all outdoor activities during the height of expected temperatures on Wednesday, with similar adjustments expected for the remainder of the week. The most drastic measures were taken by Henry County, Ga., which canceled all outdoor activities altogether in a decision made unilaterally by Henry County assistant superintendent Rodney Bowler.

The decisions to delay or cancel daytime outdoor activities came as medical experts told RivalsHigh that heat-related deaths in young athletes are nearly always preventable if proper preventative measures are taken.

While Henry County may have stolen the headlines by completely canceling outdoor activities altogether, the school district was hardly alone. Atlanta Public Schools delayed all outdoor activities on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday until after 6 p.m., when the days highest temperatures and heat indexes were expected to have passed. Paulding County Schools took identical measures for Wednesday and Thursday, though it did not take a stand on Friday practices as of yet.

Meanwhile, three other school districts announced bans on any outdoor activities between noon and 6 p.m. None of those three school groups -- Cobb County schools, Cherokee County schools and Decatur High School -- gave any indication of when those restrictions might be lifted, with Cobb County officially making the 12-6 ban permanent "until further notice."

One other Georgia school district also pulled the plug on its teams' practice schedules because of the dangerous heat besetting the Atlanta area as well. Clayton County Schools canceled football practices for all schools on Wednesday, though the athletic director and football coach at Drew (Ga.) High made it sound as if it might be some time before its football program returned to business as usual.

"They will notify us as to our future practice availability," Drew AD and football coach Jarrett Laws told the Journal-Constitution. "I've made a personal decision to practice in top shells and shorts in order to assist in the kids care."

Another area coach made clear just how concerned he and other prep coaches were about players' health in the wake of the recent devastating deaths.

"I addressed the deaths with the team," Central Gwinnett (Ga.) High football coach Todd Wofford told the Journal-Constitution. "I just asked if they had heard about the incidents and encouraged them to drink as much water as they could, even when they weren't thirsty -- and that includes throughout the school year."

The rash of safety-related cancellations follows a deadly Tuesday in which Fitzgerald (Ga.) High defensive lineman Don'terio Searcy and Locust Grove (Ga.) High offensive lineman Forest Jones lost their lives. Jones had been hospitalized in intensive care after falling ill with heat stroke a week earlier, but lost a prolonged battle against the illness on Tuesday.

The two Georgia deaths marked four deaths in four days tied to football practices being held in extreme temperatures across the American South.

A day later, Jones' father weighed in on his son's passing to the Journal-Constitution, telling the newspaper's Michael Carvell that he was convinced his son's fate was the result of an athlete who pushed himself too hard and failed to listen to his body.

"I just want to get a message to all these kids out there, that your body tells you when it needs to rest," Jones' father, Glenn Jones, told the Journal-Constitution. "Listen to your body, tell your coaches, tell your parents."

August 5, 2011 Kanawha Valley, MSAC football scrimmages By Staff reports The Charleston Gazette

Buffalo - Aug. 13: Ravenswood at Buffalo, 6 p.m.; Aug. 18: Buffalo, Sissonville at Clay County, 6 p.m.

Capital - Aug. 13: Herbert Hoover vs. Capital at Laidley Field, 7 p.m.; Aug. 20: Woodrow Wilson vs. Capital at Laidley Field, 11:20 a.m.

George Washington - Aug. 13: Man at GW, 10 a.m.; Aug. 20: GW vs. Ripley at Laidley Field, 3 p.m.

Herbert Hoover - Aug. 13: Hoover vs. Capital at Laidley Field, 7 p.m.; Aug. 19: Hoover at Warren Local, Ohio, 6:30 p.m.

Hurricane - Aug. 13: St. Albans at Hurricane, 10 a.m.; Aug. 19: Hurricane vs. Parkersburg at Laidley Field, 7:20 p.m.

Nitro - Aug. 13: Nitro at Sheldon Clark, Ky., 10 a.m.; Aug. 20: Nitro vs. Princeton at Laidley Field, 1:20 p.m.

Poca - Aug. 13: Lincoln County at Poca, 6 p.m.; Aug. 19: Poca, Magnolia, Mingo Central at St. Marys, 5:30 p.m.

Riverside - Aug. 13: Riverside at Princeton, 10 a.m.; Aug. 20: Spring Valley vs. Riverside at Laidley Field, 4:50 p.m.

Sissonville - Aug. 13: Webster County at Sissonville, 6 p.m.; Aug. 18: Sissonville, Buffalo at Clay County, 6 p.m.

South Charleston - Aug. 15: Woodrow Wilson at SC (high school), 6 p.m.; Aug. 20: Huntington vs. SC at Laidley Field, 6:40 p.m.

St. Albans - Aug. 13: SA at Hurricane, 10 a.m.; Aug. 20: Cabell Midland vs. SA at Laidley Field, 9:30 a.m.

Winfield - Aug. 13: Buckhannon-Upshur at Winfield, 11 a.m.; Aug. 19: Winfield at Ravenswood, 6 p.m.

MSAC Grid-o-rama

At Laidley Field

Friday, Aug. 19

5:30 p.m. - Lincoln County vs. Greenbrier East

7:20 - Hurricane vs. Parkersburg

Saturday, Aug. 20

9:30 a.m. - St. Albans vs. Cabell Midland

11:20 - Capital vs. Woodrow Wilson

1:20 p.m. - Nitro vs. Princeton

3 - Ripley vs. George Washington

4:50 - Spring Valley vs. Riverside

6:40 - Huntington vs. South Charleston

Kanawha Valley, MSAC football scrimmages

August 2, 2011 GW ponders QB quandary

Steve Edwards Jr. is faced with a difficult decision right at the start of George Washington's preseason practice.

By Rick Ryan The Charleston Gazette

Football coaches are often stuck in the middle of tough decisions.

Go for it on fourth down and short yardage or punt? Blitz the passer or sit back in a zone defense?

Those choices, however, come in the middle of a game. Steve Edwards Jr. is faced with a difficult decision right at the start of George Washington's preseason practice.

Who does he go with at quarterback this season to replace Nick Britton, a departed two-year starter? Is it junior Trever Bell, who backed up Britton last year, or perhaps senior Tino diTrapano, who spent much of his time playing receiver last season?

"I don't know,'' Edwards said following Monday's initial workout. "Both have the capability of leading this team. But it's a decision I'll have to make when the decision needs to be made. I'll make the decision that's best for this team.

"It's probably the toughest job any coach has is when to make that decision. Regardless of what happens, both of those guys will be on the football field and contributing, and helping us be successful. Both are real good athletes, and both are capable of running the offense. They're two guys I feel I have a lot of confidence in.''

Bell last season completed 15-of-26 passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third score. DiTrapano caught six passes for 115 yards and one TD.

"It's a healthy competition,'' Edwards said, "and the team has rallied around this. It's going pretty good right now. But eventually I'm going to have to pull the trigger and make a decision.

"I'll make the right decision. What's best for the team and not for the individuals and other interests. I'm not perfect. Nobody is.''

Replacing Britton, who threw for 1,964 yards and 21 touchdowns a year ago, isn't the only large task dropped in Edwards' lap.

The Patriots, who went 11-1 last season and earned the No. 1 playoff seed in Class AAA, must also replace leading rusher Felix Mollett and a pair of players who wound up being recruited by Division I programs - tight end Cody Clay (West Virginia) and safety Duran Workman (Army). Another top receiver, Eric Aluise, is also gone.

"We're losing a lot of good, quality players,'' Edwards said. "Any time you have to replace three first-team all-staters and two Division I players - that's quite unusual for anybody around here anyway. You don't have guys just sitting around like that at the high school level.

"It'll be a challenge, and I don't know if you can replace those guys. I don't know if they can be replaced. We've got guys who will fill in and work their way to being pretty good football players for us. I know they're ready to help us be a pretty good football team. Some guys are answering the challenge.''

GW does have a few weapons returning in versatile junior Ryan Switzer, a hybrid running back-receiver, along with fullback-linebacker Dustin Crouser and receiver-defensive back Malik Hampton.

The speedy Switzer could be utilized at a number of positions, and also returns kicks. Last year he caught 29 passes for 602 yards and six TDs and averaged about 12 yards per carry on 22 attempts and scored four times.

There's question as to whether Switzer, at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, can carry the load as the featured running back against a triple-A schedule. Mollett managed to do that a year ago at just 5-7, 175, toting the ball 261 times in 12 games and carrying 35 and 33 times, respectively, in big wins over Capital and South Charleston.

To read what Coach Edwards commented further, click link to original Gazette story below...


Edwards said 55 players turned out for Monday's opening practice, a figure that he called about normal for the program.

Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.

August 1, 2011 By Rick Ryan The Charleston Gazette For the first time in four years, someone besides Tyler Harris will take snaps at quarterback for South Charleston. Talk about big shoes to fill.

All Harris did was lead the Black Eagles to back-to-back Class AAA championships in 2008-09 and a playoff record of 10-1.

That one loss, in case you forgot, was actually an on-field win against Brooke in last year's playoff semifinals that SC eventually had to forfeit for using ineligible players.

With the success came production. Harris ended his career with 5,674 yards and 69 touchdowns passing, along with 2,977 yards and 47 TDs rushing. So basically in three seasons, he accounted for a whopping 8,651 yards and 116 touchdowns.

Enter the new season and the Black Eagles are looking to the past to shape their future. Coach John Messinger said three players will get a look under center as preseason practice opened around the state on Monday.

Seniors Drew Orcutt-Rosen and Trai Gordon will compete with sophomore Jon Alexander for duties at quarterback.

Messinger thinks the situation parallels the 2008 season, when senior Marcel Brown and Harris, then a sophomore, split time at the position. Brown, who was more of a dropback passer, often started and Harris, at the time more of a scrambler, finished games.

"We kind of feel like it's the same thing,'' Messinger said. "Marcel did some good things then, and so did Tyler. Drew's a little different than Marcel was. He knows the offense better. Obviously, he has a cannon for an arm.''

Orcutt-Rosen has played sparingly the past three seasons, in part because he backed up Harris and in part because of injury. He's completed 8-of-15 passes for 115 yards and two TDs, with nearly all that work coming in his freshman season.

Alexander flashed his running skills at times last season, gaining 82 yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns. He completed 2-of-3 passes for 47 yards and one score.

Gordon is described by Messinger as the "third person'' in the QB battle.

"He's a senior who's done a little of everything for us the last three years,'' Messinger said. "We're really anxious for him to step up and give us some productivity.''

Harris isn't the only skill-position player of note the Black Eagles must replace. Top running back Raymond Coleman is gone, as are leading receivers Moe Makhene, Pierria' Henry and Emerson Gagnon.

Trevond Reese, who ran for 462 yards and three TDs as a sophomore a year ago, leads the returning crew at the running back spot.

Even though nearly all of SC's experienced receivers graduated, Messinger remains confident his squad can remain among the playoff contenders in the Mountain State Athletic Conference.

"It's just like after the 2008 season,'' Messinger said earlier this summer. "People said, 'How are you going to replace Aaron Dobson and Aaron Slusher?' Then it was, 'How are you going to replace Blake Brooks?' When it comes to those athletes - and I said this three, four years ago - in our area, our community, there's another Aaron Dobson or Aaron Slusher around the corner. We're rich in skill-position talent.

"It's the same way this year. We've got some good athletes, some good young talent - the key word there being young. They're athletes and have great skills. We're going to be blessed, and we probably have more team speed this year than we've had the last couple. We had a pretty good [junior varsity] team last year, and that's important to me. These kids just haven't had those reps.''

Messinger considers it a rite of fall for SC to plug in new weapons at the offensive skill positions.

To read the coach's comment click link to main story below...


Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.

July 15, 2011 Semi-pro team giving town its football fix By Nick Brockman Register-Herald Reporter The Register-Herald Fri Jul 15, 2011, 12:01 AM EDT

There's no NFL and no Mount Hope High School football team preparing for the season, but fans can still get their fix with the Southern State Bruins.

The semi-professional team, of the Elite Mid-Continental Football League, has played three games thus far and provided Mount Hope Municipal Stadium a new tenant.

After three games, the Bruins are still searching for the season's first win, but President/owner and player Deon Staunton has a plan to right the ship.

"I believe that 0-3 could really be 3-0 because all teams we have faced, we had the ability to beat them," he said. "We have the talent; it's just they have more structure."

To help institute more structure, Staunton has employed the assistance of Milferd Mayo, former Midget League coach of the East Beckley Wildcats.

"Coach Mayo brings that to the table, and we've been able to make some adjustments," Staunton said. "Coach Mayo assisting our program is going to beneficial for the future for the Bruins."

Meanwhile, Chris Holt, who has coached at the high school level in Florida, has led the team as head coach.

"He's been in this league playing and coaching for the past four years, so he's been around this league for a while," Staunton said.

Many of the players have years of competitive football experience, but the basics remain the key to success, Staunton said.

"Football is based on one thing  fundamentals," he said. "You can be fast, you can be strong, but if you're not fundamentally sound, you're not going to be a successful ballplayer."

The biggest need on the 34-man roster is linemen, Staunton said. The team is actively recruiting more players and has until its fifth game to establish a final roster, he said.

"If we have linemen, then the Bruins can really take this all the way," Staunton said.

Staunton, a 2006 Woodrow Wilson graduate, has contributed in the huddle as well playing various positions.

"I do pretty much the president things outside the facilities, but once I step in, I have that jersey on, and I'm just part of the unit," he said. "I was working a little bit at quarterback. For the past few years, I've been really, really effective as wide receiver and kick returner. Since we've been able to recruit a little bit more, they're able to let me do what I do as far as wide receiver and kick returner, but I may play quarterback still some downs."

Staunton said the team is finalizing an agreement with Mount Hope to lease Municipal Stadium for $1 for its four-month season. In return, Staunton said the team will perform general maintenance to the facility.

"It's a great deal," Staunton said. "The other teams we face, they pay pretty good money to use their facilities."

The team will visit the Pittsburgh Cobras this weekend before returning to Mount Hope at 7 p.m. July 23, to play host to the three-time defending champion, West Virginia Lightning, based in Charleston. The game marks the Bruins' first at-home since June 25.

Admission to the July 23, game is free to individuals 18 and under and $7 for adults. There will be concessions, games and prizes as well as a halftime show.

Staunton said he appreciates all the support Mount Hope and surrounding communities have shown so far and encourages all to get a firsthand look at the team.

"We want to thank our fans here because they have been supporting us," he said. "The first home game that we did have, they were very supportive, and we really appreciate that. We would like to expand that also."

The team's regular season finishes Aug. 27.

For more information on the league, visit theelitemcfl.com.

 E-mail: nbrockman@register-herald.com

Ray Guy Kicking Camp stops by West Virginia

Photo by Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch to purchase photo: http://www.herald-dispatch.com/sports/x2067934/Ray-Guys-kicking-camp-stops-by-Huntington-High-over-the-weekend?i=1

Ethan Shortridge of Winfield, W.Va., practices his drop for punts during the Ray Guy Kicking Academy on Sunday, July 3, 2011, at Huntington High School. Purchase this photo July 04, 2011 @ 09:15 PM

The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON -- NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team member Ray Guy's kicking camp made its annual stop Saturday and Sunday at Huntington High.

The football camp was open to kickers, punters and long snappers of any age.

"Most athletes do not have a coach or anyone that knows how to teach them," Guy said in a news release. "We teach athletes to be self-reliant and to start taking charge of their own skill development."

Campers were evaluated and information on top prospects will be made available to college programs.

Guy was a NFL first-round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders in 1973. His career punting average for 14 seasons (1973-86) was 42.4 yards.

He played in three Super Bowls and was selected for the Pro Bowl seven times.

As a college punter at Southern Miss he led the NCAA in 1972 with an average of 46.2 yards.

The term "hang time" came about when one of Guy's punts in the 1976 Pro Bowl hit the giant TV screen hanging from the rafters of the Superdome in New Orleans.

June 24, 2011 SSAC rule puts halt to local grid camp By Dave Morrison Sports Editor The Register-Herald Fri Jun 24, 2011, 11:56 PM EDT

BECKLEY  Woodrow Wilson football coach John H. Lilly had something he would rather have been doing Friday than mowing grass.

But mowing grass he was.

Lilly was supposed to be running the first Coalfield Christian Football Camp at Woodrow Wilson's Flying Eagle Stadium.

But Wednesday he received a memo  as did other coaches around the state  from the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission informing coaches that they could not conduct camps in which they would be "coaching" players from other teams during the SSAC's three-week summer window when coaches are allowed to work with their teams.

"The memo said coaches were not allowed to coach players who are not on their teams," Lilly said. "So we canceled the camp. We are only allowed to coach our own players. I didn't even know that was a rule. My interpretation of the three-week window was we were allowed to do whatever we wanted to do."

SSAC Executive Secretary Gary Ray said the rule has been in place since the three-week window started five years ago.

"The interpretation of the rule is we can't have coaches coaching players from other teams," Ray said. "Right now, the principals, through the board of control, don't want coaches from other schools working with other kids and having a chance to look at them. You have to be careful."

Obviously, the rule was put in place to keep coaches from potentially recruiting players to their school.

Ray said 7-on-7 camps, where coaches work with their teams against other schools, falls within the framework of a camp that is acceptable under the rule.

Lilly said he had several coaches from around the area scheduled to appear at the camp, and that had a different twist.

Football would be part of the focus.

"We were going to discuss leadership and making the right decisions," Lilly said. "And in order to make those right decisions, making faith-based decisions. We continue to produce young men who go into the workplace, or the real world, and they don't have that father-figure in their life. Who teaches them? Teachers. Coaches. We wanted to let them know they have a network that can help them with problems they might face."

Ray, a former administrator at Oak Hill High School, did say that he had heard about possible proposals to amend the rule.

"I'm not saying it's going to happen, but there has been talk about it," Ray said.

Lilly said he had heard of several camps similar to the one canceled Friday, but he did know that the popular Bill Powers Quarterback camp, and others like the linebacker and long-snapping camps, in Flatwoods, had been canceled.

 E-mail: demorrison@register-herald.com

Marshall 7 on 7 tournament explodes...

June 16, 2011 @ 12:00 AM


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON -- Richlands (Va.) standout Devon Johnson couldn't have enjoyed his first day on the turf at Joan C. Edwards Stadium any more.

In his first action in Huntington, the Marshall University football commitment for the Class of 2012 walked away with a championship. Johnson and his Richlands teammates defeated Point Pleasant to win the Marshall 7-on-7 passing tournament Wednesday afternoon.

"It's amazing. I can't wait to get here and play on this field for a good four years," Johnson said. "Right now, we (Richlands) just have to keep working hard and get ready for this season."

Johnson, a 6-2, 220-pound linebacker prospect for the Herd, is also a running back for the Blue Tornado and took much of the attention of the opposing defenders during the 7-on-7s.

While he played decoy for the most part, he took in the experience of being on his future college field for the first time. Johnson said from the minute he stepped into Huntington, he was hooked.

"I just love it here. It's a really nice place that made me feel at home and I loved the coaching staff," Johnson said. "They treat me really well and act like they've known me forever. I really like that."

The day was not just a success for Richlands, though.

In all, 18 teams from 14 different schools took the field and got at least six games of round-robin action under their belt before the tournament to end the day.

Point Pleasant was one of the most surprising teams, going a perfect 6-0 before entering the tournament and advancing to the finals with a win over Northside from Roanoke, Va.

George Washington was one of four schools to bring two separate teams to the 7-on-7 tournament and the Patriots' two units ended up facing each other in the elimination round.

Other schools to bring two teams were Hurricane, Chapmanville and Scott.

"We worked 36 kids today and all of them got some work in," Hurricane coach Willis May said. "For us, it's needed because we've got positions where young guys will be filling in for what we lost."

Having 18 teams in the competition was impressive considering Hurricane was the closest school.

Huntington High and Cabell Midland both backed out in the last week and Spring Valley did not attend either.

Based on the numbers, camp coordinator Phil Ratliff (MU assistant coach) said changes are likely to be made for 2012.

"Last year, we had eight teams. We had 18 this year and basically had to start turning teams away," Ratliff said. "Next year, we are looking to go to two days after hearing so many positives from the coaches here today."

Teams competing in the event were treated to a unique scoring system that rewarded not just the offense, but the defense also.

In the scoring setup, the offense got one point for a 5 to 10-yard completion, two points for a 10 to 20-yard completion and three points for a completion of 20-or-more yards. Defensively, any incompletion resulted in a point while interceptions counted as three points.

That made for continuous competition and even some friendly banter in the case of George Washington and Northside.

And some games were decided on late defensive plays, which seemed to please most coaches.

May said he and the other coaches like attending events at Marshall because of the involvement and attitude of the Thundering Herd staff.

"It's like family. Bill Legg and Doc and Tony Petersen and Phil Ratliff are all good to us," May said. "Anytime they will open the door, we usually walk in it."

Other teams that traveled to Huntington for the tournament included Winfield, Shady Spring, Sissonville, Richwood, Pocahontas County, Parkersburg and Parkersburg South.

May 24, 2011

Moss gives words of encouragement to young, incarcerated West Virginians

Moss gives words of encouragement to young, incarcerated West Virginians May 21, 2011 @ 11:10 PM

The Associated Press

SALEM, W.Va. -- Standing before a large group of young men and boys at the West Virginia Industrial Home for Youth in Harrison County, Randy Moss talked about his own experiences on the wrong side of the law and made his case for the juvenile offenders to turn their lives around.

The male inmates, ranging in age from 12 to 21, were seated in a large assembly room at the Salem facility Wednesday morning. They paid rapt attention as the 34-year-old Moss moved around the room telling them about his life and the "bumps in the road" he has met.

Moss, a Rand, W.Va., native and NFL wide receiver, has had more than just a few bumps in the road. He said he has worked hard to turn his life around and give back to his home state.

After speaking to 130 male inmates, he spoke to the facility's 12 female inmates before moving on to the eight inmates in the maximum-security ward.

"The decisions you made to put yourself here were a mistake," he told them. "It happens. I've been there."

He spoke candidly about the fight in the halls at DuPont High School in 1995 and about the time he spent in jail afterward. The fight cost him a football scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.

The high school All-American wide receiver Moss, then 18, and another student at the school got into a fight over a racial slur the student had supposedly written on a desk. He was arrested and later pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor battery.

He talked about how he got on at Florida State University, had a successful year as a red-shirt freshman and then lost that opportunity after failing a drug test. He also talked about how he came back home to West Virginia to get his life back on track.

As part of his work release program after the drug offense, he took two classes at what is now West Virginia State University while spending his nights at South Central Regional Jail. He had those credits transferred to Marshall University, where he walked on the team hoping to make a name for himself. He had dreams of becoming a professional athlete and turned his life around to make it happen, he said.

"Everybody is entitled to a mistake or two or three," Moss said during an interview. "I don't want them to think my road was easy. I've had some bumps in the road.

"I've been there. I've been where they are. I've worn those orange jumpsuits."

Moss spent about 30 days in jail after the fight and roughly three months on work release before he walked on at Marshall. After a successful run with the Thundering Herd, he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings where he spent several seasons breaking records as a wide receiver with an extensive reach.

He was traded to the Oakland Raiders and then to the New England Patriots, whom he played with until 2010. After a brief stint back in Minnesota, he ended the season with the Tennessee Titans. He's currently a free agent.

Dale Humphreys, director of the state Division of Juvenile Services, approached Moss about speaking with Industrial Home inmates after Moss' involvement in a basketball game with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and the cadets at the Rubenstein Center in Davis, W.Va., which is more of a military school for juvenile offenders.

In March, Manchin played with a team of state troopers against Moss and the cadets. The cadets and Moss handily whipped the senator and troopers, 117-85.

"Randy and the cadets put on a basketball clinic for the troopers," Humphreys said. "He said he was extremely busy, but he put everything on hold and flew up to Charleston, then drove three hours to Davis and played three hours of basketball, talked to the cadets, went back to Charleston and flew back to Florida."

Humphreys said he appreciated Moss' willingness to spend time with the offenders and noted the athlete's interest in the state's children. He touted Moss' rewards program to encourage school children to make good grades, as well as his multiple charity offerings.

Moss never asked the inmates why they were there and told them he didn't care about that. He said he wasn't there to judge. He said that job falls to God.

"A lot of people walk out of jail and they don't know which direction to go in," Moss told the female inmates. One of them responded that she planned to go to school upon release.

Moss smiled at her.

"That's good, sweetheart," he said. "You go to school and get that degree."

During his brief session with the maximum-security inmates, he urged them to walk away from violent situations.

"It's not how hard you can take a punch that makes you a man; it's what you do after that that makes you a man," he told them.

He understands his visit might not sit well with victims' families but said he hopes to make a positive impact on the inmates' rehabilitation efforts.

"I'm sympathetic to those families, I am," Moss said. "I could easily be on both sides of this.

"I have to keep into consideration the families that have been hurt, but remember that these kids are still kids."

Chuck Landon: Gubernatorial candidates split on Coal Bowl future May 07, 2011 @ 10:20 PM

The Herald-Dispatch

Enough already.

Enough campaigning. Enough promises. Enough political double-talk.

Let's cut to the chase and examine the most important issue in the West Virginia gubernatorial primary elections Saturday.

Which is?

The future of the Marshall-WVU football series, of course.

That's why The Herald-Dispatch editorial board asked each candidate, "Should the MU-WVU football games continue?"

Here are their answers and my analysis:

Arne Moltis: "Football games are good for business and maintains fun for all."

He's trying to say yes without saying yes and avoid being labeled.

Earl Ray Tomblin: "Yes, I support continuing the Coal Bowl. Friendly competition that showcases West Virginia's two largest institutions of higher learning is good for the schools, their local economies and the state."

That's a strong answer.

Jeff Kessler: "Personally I would like to see it continue. However, I believe that it is a decision to be made by the athletic directors and departments of the respective universities and not a gubernatorial decision."

That's a nice walk on the beach in flip-flops. Translation: I might be for it until I have to be against it to get elected.

John Perdue: "Yes, I believe Marshall and WVU should continue to play against each other, however the frequency of those games should be negotiated by the two universities."

That's like dating, but still seeing other people. It's not a rivalry if they don't play every year.

Natalie Tennant: "As the former Mountaineer mascot, I can tell you there is nothing quite like game day. When WVU plays Marshall, you get an incredible feeling of excitement throughout the state. West Virginians are dedicated fans and this game brings out the deep sense of pride and tradition from supporters of both universities.

"This rivalry pushes both of these schools to excellence, which happens not only on the football field, but also carries over to all the athletic programs, to the classroom and to our innovative research. The matchup represents the kind of healthy competition that moves West Virginia forward."

Is there an answer in there somewhere? I'm calling balderdash on this.

Rick Thompson: "I would like to see the game continue if it can produce revenue for both schools."

Another yes without saying yes.

Betty Ireland: "While I thoroughly enjoyed attending last year's game, I do not believe that this is an issue for the governor or Legislature. Both institutions have very capable athletic directors and presidents, and it clearly falls within their decision making responsibilities to decide what is in the best interest of their respective institutions concerning this issue."

Obviously, she's a cheerleader, not a head coach. Mark her down as a "no."

Bill Maloney: "I'd support whatever the fans and universities themselves think is best."

Sounds like a campaign button. I'm 4 U. I support what you support.

Cliff Ellis. "No."

Thanks for not wasting our time.

Larry Faircloth. "If it's in the interest of both schools."

Uh, Larry, you're running for governor of the state not university president.

Mark Sorsaia. "In my opinion, it is not the governor's role to get involved in those kinds of decision-making. State government should allow university officials to run their own programs and scheduling."

That's a no.

Mitch Carmichael. "Yes."

Gutsy answer, Mitch.

Ralph William Clark. "I do not believe that the governor should be involved in this decision. Personally, I have enjoyed going to MU-WVU games over the years. (I have not missed a single one!)"

Thanks for the memories, but with that answer there won't be anymore.

Educational, wasn't it?

Now, voters can make an informed choice.

Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827. Email him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

Updated: 11:44 PM May 3, 2011

Josh Jenkins Injury Report West Virginia Offensive Lineman Josh Jenkins injured his left knee in the annual Blue and Gold Spring Game. Posted: 11:10 PM May 1, 2011 Email Address: sports@wtap.com West Virginia University Football Athletic Trainer Dave Kerns has provided the following information about Josh Jenkins' left knee injury sustained Friday night in the WVU Gold-Blue Spring Game.

Results of MRI shows MCL sprain and Medial Retinaculum strain (holds patella or kneecap medially so will not dislocate or sublux-jump laterally).

The injured knee needs braced and therapy for 6-8 weeks to allow MCL to heal. At that point, the WVU medical staff will then decide if patella is stable enough or if surgery is needed.

The WVU Sports Communications Office will release updated information given by Kerns as he provides it.


Capital High Has A New Head Football Coach Fred Persinger Charleston, WV

The Kanawha County Board of Education has approved the hiring of Jon Carpenter as the new head football coach at Capital High School. Carpenter served as an assistant on former coach Jack Woolwine's staff from 2007-2009 and has nearly 15 years of coaching experience having been at the University of Charleston and Riverside High before coming to Capital. Carpenter, 33, was recommended by Capital Principal Clinton Giles.

Jack Woolwine resigned as the head coach at Capital a week after the Cougars lost to George Washington in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs. In his nine years as the head man at Capital, Woolwine posted a record of 57-42.

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