RED JACKET – The Mingo Central Miners are set to face off against their 2014 nemesis Wayne on Friday night.
After beating Nitro last week the Miners have jumped up significantly in the Class 2A standings. At mid-season the Miners are 3-1 overall. Their week four Bye week, helped the Miners get over some injuries and get their head together after losing to Tolsia in week two.
Mingo Central has made it through the early season with a few problems but basically intact. All of their non-conference games are out of the way and the Miners now have nothing but conference games left to play. Hopefully, the Miners have worked out their offensive and defensive kinks during these early weeks of the season, because now it’s time to get serious.
The Miners beat conference rival Sissonville during week three but lost to Tolsia during week two. They start on the conference trail with a record of 1-1. The Wayne Pioneers have been a pain in the side of the Miners for a few years now. Last season, the Pioneers handed the Miners their only two loses of the season, once in the regular season and then Wayne knocked the Miners out of the playoffs. The Miners have not beaten Wayne since Mingo Central entered the Cardinal Conference.
Mingo Central Offensive Coordinator, Joey Fields said “we are both very familiar with how the other team plays. They know what we are bringing to the game and we know what they are bringing to the game.”
Wayne and Mingo Central were ranked number one and number two, in the Cardinal Conference pre-season polls. Now both teams are tied for third place in the conference with a conference record of 1-1.
Mingo Central head Coach, Yogi Kinder, has formed his fast paced offense into a dependable weapon; the defense on the other hand has a few areas that need improvement. Kinder has stated numerous times that the defense lacks the intensity they will need during the latter part of the season. The defense has some individual standouts but is not clicking as a whole.
The Wayne Pioneers have the same problem as the Miners; they can produce offensively but have a hard time making defensive stops. So far this season Wayne, has scored 155 points offensively and has gained over a thousand yards rushing, they don’t pass often, but are accurate when they do. Wayne has completed over fifty percent of their passes and scored six passing touchdowns so far this season, but they only average 80-yards a game passing. The Pioneers rely heavily on their two senior offensive producers, Cody Stiltner and Logan Queen who have combined for 10 total touchdowns this season.
“We have seen the wing-t offense that they run before. They always come prepared and we will be ready to match that,” said Fields.
Defensively, the Pioneers have allowed opposing teams to score 146 points and allow more than 300-yards rushing per game. Most teams they have faced so far this season are not as pass heavy as the Miners.
“Our strategy this week has been to either create or exploit the balance, Wayne is the type of team that will always match you, if you have seven in the box they will have seven in the box; we will always be looking at ways to use that. They play a zone defense really well,” said Fields.
The Miners have a sound rushing attack and are gaining ground with their passing game. Quarterback Steven Hammond is nearing a thousand yards passing this season. He has 864-yards through four games with over a fifty percent passer rating. Tyler Grimmette has 336-yards on 10 receptions and Deonte Joplin has rushed 53 times for 347-yards.
Fields said, “This will be a very good game, I believe it will come down to the offensive and defensive lines that will either win or lose this ball game.”
Wayne and Mingo Central are evenly matched, the Pioneers weakness may be their pass coverage; they haven’t allowed many passing yards but they have yet to face a team that will air it out like the Miners.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)