RED JACKET – (No. 7) Mingo Central will face (No. 3) Tolsia in the semi-final round of the playoffs at Rebel Stadium.
The bad blood between these two teams bleeds all the way down U.S. 52 and back to Sept, 4. Back in September these two teams met for the second scheduled game of the regular season. The game turned out to be one of the highlight games of the year.
Flashback to early September, the weather was humid and these two teams were finding their rhythm. Tolsia won the game late in the fourth quarter after Luke Presely intercepted a last second pass from Stephen Hammond to end the game 44-41. The Miners started the game slow but scored 29 points in the second quarter to come back from a 28 point deficit. The Miners entered halftime ahead by one point. The game was littered with penalties and injuries on both sides. Tolsia had a 16 point lead with three minutes left to play in the game until the Miners offense posted a 12 point rally to get back within three points. On the Miners last offensive drive there were a number of dropped passes and mistakes by the offense.
After watching these two teams play through the season one thing is apparent about the style of play that shapes them. Mingo Central has won many games and scored 589 points by playing keep-away ball. The Miners want to keep possession of the ball and score as often as they can. Tolsia will play take-away ball, as they have proved in a number of games by creating turnovers and capitalizing.
To break down these two prolific offenses you have to compare them. Mingo Central has outscored their opponents by a total of 589 points to opponents 249 points. The high scoring offense is led by senior quarterback Stephen Hammond. The Miners have thrown for over 2,261-yards this season. Hammond has thrown 26 touchdowns; he has also rushed for over 20 touchdowns.
Tolsia’s offense is led by Presely, who has rushed for 1,996-yards this season and scored 27 touchdowns. The quarterback, Seth McMillion, has rushed for 1,009 yards and scored 20 touchdowns. Presley also leads the team in receiving yards with 217-yards and four receiving touchdowns.
Mingo Central Offensive Coordinator Joey Fields said, “Tolsia has gotten a lot better, they have a strong team. They have a real good running back who pretty much does everything for them, they have really built the team around him.”
Tyler Grimmette leads the Miners in receiving with 675-yards and six scores. Stephen Whitt has caught 29 passes for 499-yards and scored 9 touchdowns. The Miners offense has accumulated 3,196-yards rushing behind the skill of senior running back Deonte Joplin who is nearing a thousand yards.
This will be the Miners first appearance in a semi-final playoff game. Mingo Central Head Coach, Yogi Kinder, appeared in 17 playoff games while he was coaching at Matewan High School, before arriving at Mingo Central five years ago.
“We are sure that both teams will be ready to get after it and it should be a really good ball game,” said Fields.
Mingo Central will travel up route 52. on Friday night with kickoff beginning at 7:30 p.m. The winner of this game will travel to Wheeling for the WVSSAC Class 2A championship game against the winner of No.4 Fairmont Senior and No.1 Bridgeport.
(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)