The Wayne Pioneers aren’t used to losing.
And certainly not to the in-county rival Tolsia Rebels.
Tolsia put the Wayne football team on its knees last week with a crushing 49-34 defeat over the Pioneers on the road.
It was a stunning upset of the then No. 4-ranked Pioneers and sent shockwaves all across the Cardinal Conference and the state of West Virginia.
Tolsia, which has been down in recent years, hadn’t beat the rival Pioneers since 1999.
The victory put Tolsia into the top 10 in this week’s Charleston Gazette-Mail poll at the No. 8 spot in the state in Double-A. Oddly enough, the defeat knocked Wayne from fourth to eighth, tying the Pioneers despite the loss last week to the Rebels.
The questions being asked heading into Week 2 action on Friday night are these:
One, is Tolsia really for real?
Two, is Tolsia really that good?
Three, is Wayne really down that much and in rebuilding mode after heavy losses to graduation including its quarterback and entire backfield?
Time will tell.
But this week, Tolsia (1-0 overall and 1-0 in the Cardinal Conference) will have another tough conference matchup as the Rebels are scheduled to host No. 3-ranked Mingo Central (1-0, 1-0) at the Tolsia High School football field this Friday night at Glenhayes.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Mingo Central Miners (1-0, 0-0) destroyed non-conference foe Wyoming East, 59-7, last week.
Tolsia, which went 4-6 last year, has had an emotional span of days.
In a scrimmage game two weeks ago, sophomore Luis Fox was unresponsive after taking a hard hit. Fox has reportedly been recovering well, but it was a scary moment for the Tolsia community.
“It was one of those situations that you hope never happens and you just feel helpless,” Tolsia coach Mike Smith told WV Metro News. “It’s turned out okay and he’s doing really well. He’s a strong young kid and just a fighter.”
The Rebels were led last week at Wayne by Luke Presley who ran for 131 yards and scored three touchdowns on just eight carries.
Smith said it was a great win for his program, which seems to be again on the rise. Tolsia last made it to the Super Six in 2006, falling to the same Wayne Pioneers in the Class AA state championship game at Wheeling.
“I get so wrapped up in these games and so wrapped up in these kids,” Smith told the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. “What a win for our program and what a win for our team. Our kids played our hearts out. It’s still a long season but this is a big win for us.”
Tolsia QB Seth McMillion ran for 128 yards and two TDs.
Wayne rolled up 406 yards of total offense in defeat. Logan Queen led the Pioneers with 184 yards on 29 carries, including two TDs.
Wayne hopes to bounce back Friday night as the Pioneers host Sissonville (0-1, 0-1) in another key conference game.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Wayne’s Pioneer Field.
Sissonville lost 30-6 at Chapmanville last week in its opener.
“We’ve got a team that’s got a lot of heart,” Wayne coach Tom Harmon told the Herald-Dispatch. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it when you’re in the midst of it but when you look back on it, you find the moment you could overcome. We’ve got some stuff we need to overcome. We’re not a really good football team right now but I know we played a pretty good football team tonight.”
Tolsia should have its hands full with Mingo Central.
The Miners, led by head coach Yogi Kinder, had no trouble with Wyoming East.
Senior quarterback Stevie Hammond, senior running back Deonte Joplin and senior wide receiver Stephen Whitt all had outstanding offensive performances. The Miners rolled up 440 of total oﬀense and held the Warriors to 125 yards.
Hammond was 8-for-16 passing for 250 yards and five touchdowns. Hammond also rushed for 92 yards on nine carries and a couple of TDs.
Whitt caught three passes for 108 yards and a trio of TDs. Joplin rushed for 62 yards, caught a pass for a TD and ran for a 2-point conversion.
Three Cardinal Conference teams that made it to the playoffs last year, lost its openers to non-postseason squads last week. Wayne, Sissonville and Scott all lost.
Scott (0-1, 0-1), fell 39-12 last week at Herbert Hoover and will look for its first victory of the season on Friday with a non-conference game at home against Class AAA dormat Lincoln County.
Herbert Hoover (1-0, 1-0) hosts No. 7-ranked Chapmanville (1-0, 1-0) on Friday night as well in another big conference battle.
The other game tonight involving Cardinal Conference teams has Poca (0-1, 0-0) hosting Nicholas County (1-0) in a non-league matchup.
TEAM CONF. ALL PF PA
Mingo Central 1-0 0-0 59 7
Tolsia 1-0 1-0 49 34
Herbert Hoover 1-0 1-0 39 12
Chapmanville 1-0 1-0 30 6
Poca 0-0 0-1 14 39
Wayne 0-1 0-1 34 49
Scott 0-1 0-1 12 39
Sissonville 0-1 0-1 6 30
Friday, September 4 games:
Chapmanville at Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Mingo Central at Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Lincoln County at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Sissonville at Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
Nicholas County at Poca, 7 p.m.
Friday, August 28 results:
Chapmanville 30, Sissonville 6
Mingo Central 59, Wyoming East 7
Herbert Hoover 39, Scott 12
Tolsia 49, Wayne 34
Nitro 39, Poca 14