By Paul Adkins
July 30, 2013
Joey Fields has put together one heck of a team for this year’s Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl.
On the 28-man West Virginia All-Star roster are 16 all-state players and 10 gridders who took part in June’s North-South All-Star Classic in Charleston.
The 18th-annual Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl, pitting graduated senior football players from southern West Virginia against those from eastern Kentucky, is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, Aug. 3 at Mingo Central High School’s Buck Harless Stadium.
Game time is set for 8 p.m.
West Virginia leads Kentucky 11-6 in the all-time series dating back to 1996 and hope to win two straight. Fields, a Mingo Central assistant coach, led the West Virginia All-Stars to last year’s 37-12 win.
West Virginia has won eight out of the last nine meetings.
The only black mark during the stretch was a 30-14 setback in the 2011 game — the last Senior Bowl to be played at the old Matewan High School football field.
To go two in a row over the Bluegrass State boys, Fields may have the team to do it.
Heading the list of all-stars is Wayne High School’s Brandon Spurlock, a 5-foot-7, 180-pound running back who was the captain of last year’s Class AA All-State team as he rushed for 2,003 yards and scored 28 touchdowns in leading the 14-0 Pioneers to their second straight state championship. Wayne blanked Keyser 35-0 in the Super Six state finals at Wheeling Island Stadium and outscored its opponents by a combined 110-0 in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.
Also from football-rich Wayne on the roster are: Anthony Bryant (6-1, 275), a first-team Class AA offensive lineman; James Egnor, a special honorable mention running back; and also Austin Pyles.
Coach Fields expanded the Hatfield-McCoy map in West Virginia northward and eastward, tapping into the football-rich areas of Charleston, Huntington and Beckley.
Fields grabbed seven players from those areas and all were all-state performers. Those players are: Capital’s Davon Tyson (5-10, 160), a first-team Class AAA all-state defensive back; Cabell Midland’s Gage Gould (6-0, 245), a first-team 3A defensive lineman; George Washington’s Trevon Johnson, a special honorable mention all-stater; South Charleston’s Dominic Orcutt (6-3, 285), a second team OL; South Charleston’s Trevond Reece, a Class AAA honorable mention all-stater; Beckley Woodrow Wilson’s Andrew Johnson, a 3A first-team DB; and Beckley’s Ramon Edwards II, a special honorable mention selection.
Coach Fields said it’s an exciting time every year when the Senior Bowl rolls around. Practices began on Monday night at Mingo Central for this weekend’s clash.
“Not knocking any other all-star game but it’s something to get to represent your state,” Fields said. “I feel from top to bottom of both of the rosters this is the best talent we’ve had in the game. This game continues to be a success and I’m sure it will be nothing short this year. The Cliffs sponsorship has just been tremendous. As always, Coach Kinder has done a great job.”
West Virginia has plenty of other talent, too.
River View High School is represented by Brandon Thomas (6-3, 205), a defensive lineman and another first-team all-stater.
From Logan High School are a pair of Class AAA all-state players in Chris Marcum and Khaleel Reynolds. Both were instrumental to Logan’s success on both sides of the ball and helped lead the Wildcats and Coach Gary Mullins to a 7-3 season last year and 21 wins and two Class AAA playoff appearances in three years.
Both Marcum and Reynolds were Class AAA special honorable mention picks. Both played quarterback and in the defensive secondary.
Other Logan County players named to play in the Senior Bowl are: Chapmanville’s Austin Watts; Logan’s Brant Williams, Brian Craft and Teddy Nelson; and Man’s Marcus Murrell. Nelson gives the West Virginia All-Star team some additional size on the offensive line as he weighs more than 300 pounds.
Craft was a late addition to the West Virginia roster as West Virginia was in need of a kicker and a punter. Craft, who is headed to play at West Virginia State, was recruited by the Yellow Jackets as a punter. He’s expected to handle all of the kicking duties on Saturday night.
From host Mingo Central is Joe May, a Class AA first-team defensive back, who led the Miners to the playoffs last fall. Garth Simpkins, a special honorable mention selection, is also on the team. Israel Reynolds, Joe Hall and Joe Jackson also hail from Mingo Central.
Rounding out the roster are Tug Valley’s Aaron Muncy and Isaac Parsley and Westside High School’s John Thornsbury.
Coaching the Kentucky All-Star team is David Jones, who played at Belfry High School and later was a wide receiver and defensive back for the SEC’s Kentucky Wildcats in the mid 2000s. Jones led the Kentucky All-Stars to victory in the 2011 Hatfield-McCoy Bowl.
“Growing up in Matewan and watching him at Belfry and on to UK, David Jones was someone you looked up to. So to get to coach against him, its pretty cool,” Fields said.
Just as the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud was a family affair, this year’s Senior Bowl is so as well.
Derek Rash, who is an assistant coach for the Kentucky All-Stars, is Fields’ uncle.
Also, Josh Sammons, who is assisting Fields, played for Jones at the University of Pikeville. Jones started his career at Matewan, where he played middle school and his first couple of years in high school. Then he went on to help lead Belfry to a pair of state championships in 2003 and 2004.
Then there is the late Eugene Crum’s grandson, Joe Hall, who is playing for West Virginia. Crum was fatally shot down a few weeks ago while serving as sheriff of Mingo County.
Both Fields and Jones have coached in the game before and both won.
Something has to give this time.
“That has never happened before — two winning coaches facing each other,” Fields said.
On hand on Monday night during the first night of Senior Bowl practices was Logan graduate Joe Street, a sophomore with the University of Charleston football team. Street rushed for a bowl-record four touchdowns in last year’s Hatfield-McCoy Bowl.
Chapmanville’s Brandon White and Scott’s Dakota Ball were late scratches from the West Virginia roster.