Can you feel it? The weather is turning; we are on the precipice of football season and I couldn’t be happier. Soon, we can shelter ourselves under the glow of field lights, we can scream obscenities at referees, we can tailgate, and we can drop the stress of the day and become football fanatics for a couple of hours on Friday night. It may be embarrassing to the children to see their parents covered in team colors but we have earned the right to do that, they will get their turn one day.
A few teams have already begun their season. The Sheldon Clark Cardinals lost greatly to Kash Daniels and the Paintsville Tigers, the Pikeville Panthers handed the Prestonsburg Blackcats their first loss of the season,the Pike County Central Hawks played a close game against the Letcher County Cougars but ultimately lost, and Phelps lost to Allen Central by a lot; but that was just a teaser. The real action will begin tonight at the Pike County Bowl and across the state of West Virginia as footballs are simultaneously kicked off the tee and the football train leaves the station. There will be no turning back now. Can you tell I’m excited?
Tonight at the Community Trust Bank sponsored Pike County Bowl the Phelps Hornets will face off against the East Ridge Warriors. Phelps has been battling some issues over the past few years and is looking to improve more as the season goes. They have talent, and they have a new coach but they lack depth at all positions. New Head Coach, James “Butch” Joplin is hoping to pull off a ‘junction boys’, Bear Bryant type scenario where he takes the few he has and carves them out of wood with his unforgiving, old school, coaching style. The East Ridge Warriors have been playing out of District for the last couple of years; they have been picking up games with teams needing to fill an open spot on their schedule. The Warriors have been away from playoff eligibility for a few seasons but are finally ready to step back into District Eight play, in the Class 2A classification. From the looks of things, I can see an even game with these two teams.
The second game of the night will be the main event, the defending Class 3A state champion Belfry Pirates will take on the Goliath Class 6A, Tates Creek Commodores at 8:35 p.m. This will be the big show; Pirate Head Coach Phillip Haywood is coming into this season with a younger team. Belfry lost some key offensive producers last year and is trying out some new personnel at key positions, such as a quarterback and running back. The Tates Creek Commodores finished low in their District last season but play against some of the biggest names in Kentucky football. The Commodores will have their hands full against the Belfry Pirates. The pirates have been destroying opponents in the Class 3A classification for years and have no problem stepping up into larger classes and holding their own. This will be a real football show.
The First night of the Pike County Bowl will be held at CAM stadium in Goody, Ky.
Across the river, West Virginia teams will be suiting up at different locations around the area. The Lights at Harless Stadium will finally get some juice going through them as the Wyoming East Warriors travel to Red Jacket to battle Steven Hammond and the Mingo Central Miners. Mingo Central is heading into the season ready to go the distance; they fell just short of greatness last season at the hands of the Wayne County Pioneers in the quarter final playoff game. Yogi Kinder and the Miners are looking to break past that barrier this season. Wyoming East is planning on running a different style offense this season under the guidance of new Head Coach Donald Jewel. Jewel will implement the double wing offense and rely heavily on his veteran lineman to be the foundation of the team this year.
Finally Tug Valley will get to test out their new turf against the Sherman Tide. Tug Valley had a record high season last year and is returning their sophomore weapon, Jeremy Dillon. Last season Dillon led the Panthers in just about every category they had except for maybe facial hair, Dillon played well above his age last season as a freshman and will be a player to keep an eye on this season. The Sherman Tide only won one game last season but Head Coach J.D. Fairchild is looking to put a stop to that. When our fellow newsman started snooping around the Sherman field looking for a story Fairchild put it plain and simple, we have been hitting the weights hard, we want to bring back the old hard hitting traditions we used to have and that will be us this year.
It won’t be hard to find a good game this Friday; Good Luck to all the area teams this weekend.
(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)