1. The Belfry Pirates won their third consecutive Class 3A state championship in 2015. Coach Philip Haywood guided the Pirates to their fifth state championship in school history. BHS returns several starters next year.
2. The coaching carousel was in full swing in the Mingo-Logan County areas. The first was when Allan Hatcher moved from Chapmanville to his alma mater at Logan, and then Brad Napier moved from Mingo Central to Chapmanville. Then Garland “Rabbit” Thompson resigned from Tug Valley and moved to Mingo Central. That opened the door for Edwyn May to take over the Panther’s program at Tug Valley. The job at Logan High School came open once Mark Hatcher, Allan’s son, resigned to take a job with a medical equipment company.
3. Mingo Central, coached by Napier, made its first trip to the state basketball tournament in school history back in March. The Miners, led by transfers Dikembe and Montrell Dixson, lost in the first round to Fairmont Senior.
4. Tug Valley, coached by Thompson, returned to the state tourney in Charleston, however they also lost in the first round.
5. Both Tug Valley and Mingo Central made the playoffs in football. Mingo Central, coached by Yogi Kinder, made it to the Class AA semi-finals, but lost to eventual runner-up Tolsia. This was the farthest the Miners had advanced in the post season since the school was consolidated five years ago.
6. Tug Valley avenged a regular season loss to Man in the first round of the Class A playoffs. The Panthers, coached by Tony Clusky, lost to perennial Class A power Moorefield in the next round.
7. Freshmen Jeremy Dillon and Tyler May were named to the all-state basketball teams in Class A by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. A rare feat to have two 9th graders on these elite squads.
8. Dillon was also named to the first team all-state in football, again quite an honor for a freshman. The 6-foot-4 Dillon recently made it again as a sophomore.
9. Senior Stevie Hammond of Mingo Central was named to the Class AA 1st team All-State football squad. This was his second year in a row he received the honor.
10. Belfry’s Ray Horton, Cole Bentley and Austin Dotson were named to the Courier Journal’s all-state teams in Kentucky. Horton and Bentley, a pair of junior defensive linemen, are being recruited by several Division One colleges.
Good luck to all area high schools and their teams in 2016. I hope there are several more state championships in the picture for our local schools.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)