RED JACKET – The Mingo Central Miners have been looked over as of late in the Class-AA football talk.
After losing Stephen Hammond, Deonte Joplin and other skill players to graduation the Miners have been written off as a non-contender for the state title. The Miners had all the momentum last season before a hand full of crucial injuries late in the playoffs forced the Miners into back seat position to neighboring Tolsia.
Before the devastating 22-0 loss to Tolsia in the semi’s the Miners were a speeding train heading right at defending champ Bridgeport. The Miners were putting up huge scores and playing spectacular defense. The Miners had one crucial advantage that no team had prepared for last season, surprise. The Miners did better on special teams last season than any other team in the playoffs. In the opening game against Summers County the Miners utilized a pooch kick on kick offs and would weave through the opposing players and recover the ball on the 30 or 20 yard line. The Miners were playing keep away and it worked like a charm. Against Bluefield, the Miners saved the keep away secret until late in the game and snatched the win away 35-22.
Last season the Miners stunned everyone by going on quick scoring runs back to back that left opposing teams struggling to comprehend what had just happened.
The loss of graduating players does not mean this type of success cannot be displayed this season as well. The Miners have plenty of returning players and have added major talent in key positions.
The Miners love a fast paced offense, they love confusing defenses, and metaphorically; throwing multiple combinations at opponents and then stepping back.
Daniel Buchanan has been receiving a lot of Division -1 recruiting attention during the off season and has announced he will announce his decision to commit on Aug, 4. at media day. Buchanan will be back for his senior season.
Caleb Lester will also return for another season of Miners football. Lester was named a pre-season All-State team member by the Charleston Gazette-Mail as a first team defense starter int he linebacker position. Lester was forced to take on the role of running back last season after injuries occurred to Joplin and fullback Joe Hunt, he did so well during the last five games that he will undoubtedly be sharing some of the running back load this season.
Jeremy Dillon was also announced as a pre-season All-Sate player and was first team offense as a utility player. Dalton fields was selected as one of the 100 players to watch this season, that was also announced for the pre-season team. The first team, second team, and 100 players to watch was chosen out of all classes throughout W.Va.
The Miners will officially begin practice on Monday with opening day set for Aug, 26. at Wyoming East. When the Miners announce who has won the starting positions more information will be available.
Assistant coach Joey Fields said, “We’re excited about getting the guys out there on the field. I feel these guys have a sour taste in their mouth after last year’s final game. They have something to prove and their ready to get to work.”
(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] on on twitter @sidplaster.)