The 2015 area high school football season promises to be full of excitement.
The Mingo Central Miners will face a tough but familiar schedule this year and will hope to improve upon last season’s success. The Miners added Nitro (class AAA) to the schedule this year, this will be the first time these teams have faced off, and they dropped Mount View from the schedule.
Last season Mingo Central finished with a 10-2 record losing only to the Wayne County Pioneers both times. The Pioneers defeated MCHS in the regular season and knocked off the Miners in the Class AA playoffs.
This season the Miners will start off their fifth year in the Cardinal Conference against the Wyoming East Warriors on August 28. The Miners will not have to face-off with Wayne until half way through the season. Their open spot will be week four on the regular schedule.
The Miners Head Coach Yogi Kinder has some great talent returning this year and this will be the first time since the schools founding five years ago that all players have played with each other from freshman to senior year.
Mingo Central won and hosted their first ever playoff game last season against the Sissonville Indians at Buck Harless Stadium. The Indians proved to be a tough opponent for the Miners last season as they were the second closest games during the season.
The Belfry Pirates hope to ride the crest of back-to-back state championship seasons. Head Coach Phillip Haywood and the “can’t stop, won’t stop” Pirates will start the season off with an exhibition game at the Pike County Bowl.
The Pirates only lost two games during the regular season last year; the first was against the Pikeville Panthers and the second was to the Johnson County Eagles. This season the Pirates picked up three new opponents, they added Tates Creek High school out of Lexington Ky., Newport Central Catholic High school from northern Kentucky and Cabell Midland High School out of West Virginia. Cabell Midland is one of the top ranked AAA programs in West Virginia. They dropped Henry Clay High School, Harlan County High School and Galia Academy from Ohio from the regular season schedule.
Last season the Pirates faced off against the Louisville Central Yellow Jackets in the state championship game. Belfry pulled away a tough 14-7 win over Central. The Pirates finished second in the class AAA state rankings with a final record of 13-2.
Head Coach Tony Clusky and the Tug Valley Panthers are itching to tear into their new field this season. Last season the Panthers ended the season with a school best record of 11-2 mark, losing only to Meadow Bridge High School during the regular season. The Panthers were beat out of the semi-finals of the Class A state playoffs by Williamstown High School.
This season Tug Valley will be dropping Haysi (Va.) High School and Pike County, Kentucky school East Ridge in order to bring in Buffalo High School and Montcalm High School. Coach Clusky has several starters returning this season and a couple of All-State players on the roster.
Tug Valley has had a busy off season with renovations to their football facilities. The field has been renovated and new sod has been placed down, the press box has been enlarged and they have begun construction on a brand new athletic complex. The Panthers hosted their first ever playoff games last year, but had to play those games at Harless Stadium. They have high hopes to repeat that success this year.
Fans only have a few more weeks before the pre-season events are finished and the regular season gets underway for both West Virginia and Kentucky.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter at the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext.2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)