RED JACKET – The top 16 teams in Class 2A have been placed in the WVSSAC bracket and No. 7 Mingo Central is set to face No. 10 Summers County in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Mingo Central Miners are placed in a bracket with Bluefield, Tolsia and Herbert Hoover. After Losing the final game, to Westside, the Miners fell into the bottom bracket. The Miners faced No. 3 Tolsia back in week two of the regular season in a close game that came down to the wire. No. 2 Bluefield is the favored team to win out of the field.
Here, late in the season, the Miners have dealt with injury issues. Senior running back Deonte Joplin sat out the last two weeks of the regular season due to an ankle injury. Four-year starter, Stephen Hammond, sat out the last game of the season with a shoulder injury. Wide receiver Stephen Whitt has dealt with a shoulder injury all season and the Miners lost starting full back Joe Hunt in week six to a broken leg.
Despite having to rely on junior players to step up and make plays the Miners picked up speed after the midpoint of the season. MCHS played Nitro in week five and won by a score of 53-26. After their win in week five the Miners won four games in a row by over 30 points. Chapmanville was tied for the No. 1 spot in the Cardinal Conference until the Miners defeated them by a score of 69-21.
Summers County finished the regular season with a record of 8-2. The Bobcats defeated Wyoming East by a score of 39-6 in week-four, the Miners defeated Wyoming East in the first game of the season by a score of 59-7. The Bobcats have a Cinderella story developing, last season they finished with a record of 1-9, this season their 8-2 record landed them right in the middle of playoff action.
Mingo Central Offensive Coordinator Joey Fields said, ” They have a good running quarterback and they have kind of developed a team around him. They got a lot better during the off-season after they lost so many games last year and now, with a bunch of seniors, they have the size and skill to compete with anyone.”
Summers County quarterback Matt Ryan is quick and shifty. He has numerous weapons to choose from including 6’3”, 200 pound wide receiver Andrew Richmond who has been one of Ryan’s favorite targets all season. Running out of the backfield is senior Greg Shrewsbury and junior Dillon Smith. SCHS has an impressive offensive line, the Bobcat’s defense will get to test themselves against the Miners high powered offense.
Hammond has been impressive from the quarterback position for the Miners all season. Hammond has completed 97 passes out of 173 attempts, he has 1,887-yards passing and 21 passing touchdowns. Hammond also has done well running out of the backfield, he has 384-yards on 77 carries and added 14 rushing touchdowns.
Joplin has been the leading rusher for the Miners this year, with 754-yards rushing on 76 carries and 10 rushing touchdowns he is sure to make u big impact throughout the playoffs. Joplin has also been useful as a receiver out of the back field with 206-yards on 13 receptions and one receiving touchdown. Whitt has caught eight touchdown passes this season and added 442-yards receiving on 27 receptions. Tyler Grimmette leads the team in reception yards with 573-yards on 16 receptions; he’s caught five receiving touchdowns.
“We will have to come to the game prepared and ready to play because we know they will be ready and will be giving it everything they got,” said Fields.
The game will take place at Buck Harless Stadium on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. The weather is forecast to be sunny with high of 51 degrees, so there should be no problem with game conditions since the filed has artificial Field-Turf.
( 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 )