By Paul Adkins firstname.lastname@example.org
August 29, 2014
There’s no time for any tuneup games for any of the eight Cardinal Conference teams.
For six of the league’s eight squads Friday night’s high school season opener will also be a conference game.
It goes right from the frying pan into the fire.
Three league games highlight opening night tonight as Chapmanville Regional High School plays a Cardinal Conference game at Sissonville, Herbert Hoover travels to Scott and Wayne plays county rival Tolsia at Glenhayes in another league matchup.
All games have 7:30 p.m. kickoff times.
In other games, the Mingo Central Miners are scheduled to open tonight with a non-conference game at Wyoming East and the Poca Dots have a matchup with Class AAA team and Putnam County rival Nitro.
The Wayne Pioneers, after having preseason scrimmages against a pair of Logan County teams in Chapmanville and Logan, are hoping to pick up right where it left off last year.
Last season, two-time defending Class AA state champion Wayne saw its season come to an end in the Wheeling Super Six with a 14-13 loss to Bridgeport in the 2A state championship game at a snowy Wheeling Island Stadium.
Wayne was 13-1 last year and won the Cardinal Conference title with a 7-0 league mark.
The Pioneers, ranked No. 1 in the state in the Class AA MetroNews Power Index, are led by senior all-state quarterback Grant Ferguson, a two-way player who was a first-team defensive back in 2013 and a first-team all-state QB in 2012.
Coach Tom Harmon’s Pioneers also have first-team all-state linebacker Mason Hodge (6-foot-1, 230 pounds) returning, along with second-team linebacker Nathan Spurlock.
In the playoffs last year, the Pioneers beat Philip Barbour (53-25), Sissonville (48-7) and Robert C. Byrd (44-20) en route to the state finals.
Wayne takes on a much-improved Tolsia team, which finished fifth place in the conference last year with an overall mark of 5-5. The Rebels played Wayne tough in last year’s season opener before falling 28-0.
The Chapmanville-Sissonville game is another important conference and season opener for both teams.
The Tigers were 5-5 last year and 4-3 in the league, good for fourth place. CRHS missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
Sissonville, which took second place in the Cardinal last fall, closed out 10-2 with a state quarterfinal loss to Wayne.
Sissonville seems to be a program on the rise and the Indians would like to have yet another breakthrough this fall.
The Indians improved to a 10-win season last fall after going 5-5, 2-8, 1-9 in the previous seasons. The Indians hope to keep going in the right direction this season.
Sissonville beat Chapmanville 40-22 last season. The two teams have played eight times since the Tigers joined the Cardinal Conference and each squad has won four.
The Indians are ranked No. 5 in the state in the Class AA MetroNews Power Index.
The Herbert Hoover-Scott game is the third conference game tonight.
Both teams had disappointing 3-7 overall marks in 2013 and are looking for improvement. The Huskies were 2-5 in the conference, while the Skyhawks were 1-5.
Mingo Central, the third-place team from a year ago, had its best season of football as the Miners were 8-3, falling 46-6 to league foe Sissonville in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Miners, led by head coach Yogi Kinder, was one of the most-improved teams in the conference last fall. Mingo Central was 5-5 in 2011 during their first season and 5-6 in 2012, falling 61-14 at Keyser in the Class AA playoffs.
The Miners, ranked No. 8 in the state in the Class AA MetroNews Power Index, seem poised for another good fall of football but they will have to travel to New Richmond to take on a tough Wyoming East Warrior team.
Wyoming East is coming off a 9-2 season in which the Warriors lost 35-14 at Nicholas County in a first-round playoff game. East downed Mingo Central 27-26 in last year’s season opener at Newtown. The Warriors are ranked No. 10 in the state heading into the game.
Poca is looking to rebound from last year’s 1-9 record. The Dots lost 41-22 to Nitro in last year’s season opener. The only win last year was a 43-22 victory in Week 3 at Class A Buffalo. The Dots were 0-7 in the conference.
Poca has a new coach in Teddy Stewart, who replaced Bob Lemley. The Dots are looking for their first winning season in four years.
Nitro was just 1-9 last year, only having the season-opening victory over the Dots. The Wildcats have a nine-game losing streak heading into tonight’s clash.
All nine of last year’s losses were blowouts. The worst Nitro loss was Week 2 when the Wildcats were drilled 70-7 by Hurricane.
TEAM CONF. ALL
Chapmanville…………. 0-0 0-0
Herbert Hoover…………….. 0-0 0-0
Mingo Central……………….. 0-0 0-0
Poca………………………………. 0-0 0-0
Scott………………………………. 0-0 0-0
Sissonville………………………. 0-0 0-0
Tolsia……………………………… 0-0 0-0
Wayne…………………………….. 0-0 0-0
Friday, Aug. 29 games:
Chapmanville at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Mingo Central at Wyoming East, 7:30 p.m.
Herbert Hoover at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Wayne at Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Nitro at Poca, 7:30 p.m.