RED JACKET – It is game week up on the mountain at Buck Harless Stadium as the Mingo Central Miners play host to Wyoming East to open the 2013 season.
The Miners, who made the Class AA playoffs for the first time last year, will strap up their new black helmets and hope to be the first squad to have a winning regular season. Last year coach Yogi Kinder’s squad finished at 5-5, but it was good enough to get them into the playoffs. However, they were soundly beaten by top rated Keyser in the first round of the playoffs.
This year the Miners are more balanced on offense and their linemen, after a good off-season in the weight room, are stronger and quicker.
Kinder will go with sophomore Stevie Hammond at quarterback, while Tyler Jude, a junior, could also take some snaps.
Senior wide receiver Alex Lee, who went to the state championship in the 100 and 200 meter track meet last spring, will be relied on to provide some offensive punch. Lee also starts on defense and punts, and returns kicks.
Senior linebacker-offensive lineman Drew Kirk, the leading tackler the last two seasons for the Miners, returns to lead the defense.
Kinder said his squad has worked hard in the weight room during the winter and summer months.
Junior Chance Lester is one running back that is returning with experience. Others that are in the mix to tote the pigskin are sophomore Deonte Joplin, senior DeKwon Willis, sophomore Ethan Collins and junior Chase Justice.
With experience and depth on its side, Wyoming East football squad hopes to continue to build. The Warriors were 5-5 and narrowly missed the playoffs two years ago. The 2012 team was 7-3 and reached the post-season.
Directing the Warriors offense is junior quarterback Aaron Griffith (6-1, 179). Griffith is a two-year starter and spot started as a freshman. Senior running back Jacob Summe rushed for over 1,200 yards last season and was named second team Class AA all-state.
“We just want to build on what we did last year and get better in practice every day,” said East head coach Gary Poindexter.
“Everybody’s working hard and they came back in shape, which makes it a lot easier,” Poindexter noted.
Senior fullback Coty Bishop (5-11, 230) and junior fullbacks David Powers (5-9, 213) and Hunter Simmons (5-10, 170) could also get some carries.