The Voice of West Virginia
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department has voted to close its harm reduction program.
The clinic will also have to look for a new location; city council approved allowing the facility to remain in downtown Clarksburg until the end of the year.
Clarksburg city council members voted to order the clinic out of the downtown area and require program participants to submit to a blood test when needles are exchanged.
The Harrison County Board of Health voted to completely close the operation on Tuesday in a 4-1 vote.
The program is operated on Thursdays and was last in operation on Sept. 5.
Clarksburg Mayor Ryan Kennedy said it was time for some reforms because of the negative impact of the program on downtown businesses.
“They were seeing people shooting up (and) people leaving needles all over the place a lot of shoplifting,” he said. “All was going on the same time each week the needles were being handed out.”
Kennedy said city council voted to ask the health department to move the program from downtown and require participants to take a blood test when they exchange needles.
Kennedy expressed disappointment health department officials didn’t attempt to operate the program under the new guidelines.
“The health department said they were already complying with most of the things they were asking them to do and that 93% of people that were participating in the program were already voluntarily doing the blood test,” he said. “My question that I can’t get an answer on, is why would you pull the program and deny service to 93% of the people just because you don’t want to make 7% of the people take a blood test?”
Chad Bundy, the executive director of the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department, said West Virginia law dictates HIV testing must be voluntary, suggesting the program could not follow the city ordinance and remain within state law.
The post Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department ends harm reduction program appeared first on WV MetroNews.
— By Wes McKinney
GAMES TO WATCH
No. 15 South Charleston (1-2) at No. 11 Spring Valley (2-1)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last Week: Spring Valley was unable to slow down the explosive Cabell Midland offense as the Knights opened the game with a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. And the Knights didn’t stop there in a 28-21 setback for Spring Valley.
“We didn’t play well and made too many mistakes,” Spring Valley head coach Brad Dingess said. “We couldn’t limit their big plays. Cabell Midland had over 270 yards on three plays that went for touchdowns. When you play them, you can’t afford for that to happen.”
Why It’s Important: Dingess reiterated the mistakes made on both sides of the ball against Cabell Midland and how they have to eliminate those against an athletic and equally-explosive offense in South Charleston.
“I don’t know if anything stood out other than the fact we battled back in the second half and gave ourselves a chance to tie the game,” Dingess said of the Cabell Midland game. “We just made too many mistakes. You can’t have turnovers and penalties.”
Who to Watch for South Charleston: South Charleston has turned to freshman Trey Dunn at quarterback to make plays with his arm and feet. And Dingess is impressed with the young signal caller.
“He does a good job of getting the ball out to his playmakers,” Dingess said. “People don’t talk about him running the football, but he’s fast and makes good decisions. It all starts with him and we have to try to contain him.”
Who to Watch for Spring Valley: David Livingston has had more of involved role on offense this season, but he and the Timberwolves’ secondary will be counted on to try to slow down Dunn and South Charleston offense.
No. 11 Huntington (1-1) at No. 15 Woodrow Wilson (1-2)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last Week: Huntington came up short, 31-30, in a road loss to George Washington. “We made a lot of bone-headed decisions,” Huntington head coach Billy Seals. “We do what a lot of young kids do early in the season. Looking at there Friday night, we only had four starters from last year on the field.”
Why It’s Important: As if a loss was needed for Seals to get the attention of his team. Despite all the success of Huntington over the last decade, Seals hasn’t been particularly fond of some of past performances of his program at Van Meter Stadium in Raleigh Stadium.
“We need to put this behind this and get ready for this week,” Seals said. “We’ll get ready to go to Beckley—a place we always seem to struggle at. It’ll be a tough environment. But we’re hoping we can be 2-1 and get back on track.”
Who to Watch for Huntington: Seals wants to see his tem be more physical on both the offensive and defensive lines after the Highlanders were not as aggressive against George Washington.
“We were probably pretty average on Friday when it came to being physical,” Seals said.
“We didn’t run the football as well as we normally do. I didn’t feel like we did a good job on the defensive line. We didn’t get as much pressure on RT Alexander as I would have liked.”
Who to Watch for Woodrow Wilson: Seals spoke highly of the team speed and athleticism of the Flying Eagles, but touted one particular Woodrow Wilson linemen more highly. “Woodrow Wilson has some guys that can run and are really athletic,” Seals said. “I think Ian Pomeroy is one of the best linemen in the state.”
Hurricane (1-2) at No. 1 Cabell Midland (3-0)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last Week: JJ Roberts’ 88-yard touchdowns on the opening play of the game at Spring Valley set the tone for Cabell Midland to defeat the Timberwovles for the first time since 2015.
“He’s electric. He’s a Division I football player for a reason,” Salmons said of the Wake Forest commit. “He made the right read on the option, pulled it and scored. You always want to strike first—and fast if you can.”
The explosive scoring continued later in the game as the Knights had two more touchdowns go for at least 70 yards in the 28-21 win over Spring Valley.
Why It’s Important: This game doesn’t need to be bulletin board material with the close proximity of the schools, but the 40-10 loss last year at Redskin Stadium certainly left a sour taste in the mouths of the Knights.
“We know Hurricane is going to be ready to play us and we feel the same way,” Salmons said. “Hurricane beat us last year, and our kids understand that because they have it marked in their locker.”
Who to Watch for Hurricane: Even though Hurricane has lost tough contests to Spring Valley and Capital each of the last two weeks, Redskins’ quarterback Austin Womack has continued to fire away in the passing attack for Hurricane.
Who to Watch for Cabell Midland: Roberts will be one to watch again this year. Not only did the Cabell Midland signal caller have the 88-yard touchdown to open the game, but he finished with four carries for 180 yards in the win at Spring Valley.
N0. 7 Sissonville (3-0) at Mingo Central (2-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Week: Daylin Goad threw for 267 yards and three scores as Mingo Central eased to an 52-6 win over Logan to go above .500. Even with the win, the Miners are just outside the top 16 in the initial release of the Class AAA WVSSAC ratings.
Sissonville continued its early season defensive dominance by limiting Scott to six points in a 28-6 win.
Why It’s Important: Since being held to seven points in the first game of the season against Pikeville, Mingo Central has averaged 52 points in wins over Wayne and Logan. And Goad has been leading the way as he has already thrown for over 700 yards in three games.
Goad and the powerful Miners’ offense will be tested this week, however, against a stout Sissonville defense that hasn’t allowed more than a touchdown in any of its three wins to this point.
Who to Watch for Sissonville: Though the Indians have stymied opponents on the defensive side of the ball, Dylan Griffith has been the offensive spark as he finished one yard shy of 250 all-purpose yards in the win over Scott.
Who to Watch for Mingo Central: Drew Hatfield has hauled in over 500 receiving yards and has scored eight touchdowns in three games for the explosive Mingo Central offense.
No. 8 Man (3-0) at AAA No. 11 Greenbrier East (2-1)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last Week: Man shutout Westside, 40-0 to start 3-0 for the first time since 2015 when the Hillbillies got off to a 5-0 start on its way to an 8-2 regular season. Though Man has scored at least 40 points in all three wins, coach Harvey Arms and company have allowed just 14 points in three games.
Greenbrier East shook off a 24-7 loss at Woodrow Wilson, and went on the road to claim a two-touchdown win over St. Albans, 28-14.
Why It’s Important: Man has enjoyed the early-season success, but this week comes the stiffest test for the Hillbillies. If the Hillbillies could pick up a AAA win over a team in Greenbrier East team that made the playoffs in 2018, Man could be in store for some big things. After the trip to Fairlea, the Hillbillies play River View and Lincoln County who are only a combined 1-7.
Who to Watch for Man: Quentin Moody has three receiving touchdowns this season for a normally run-heavy offense at Man.
Who to Watch for Greenbrier East: Kyle King is a do-it-all quarterback for the Spartans.
CLASS AA vs. CLASS A
Westside (0-3) at No. 7 Tolsia (2-1)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last Week: The Rebels recorded a shutout with a 24-0 blanking of Lincoln County to get to 2-1 and pick up some valuable Class AA bonus points, allowing Tolsia to appear at seven in the first release of the Class A WVSSAC ratings.
Why It’s Important: Though winless, a victory over Westside would give the Rebels some more crucial Class AA bonus points before critical matchups with Tug Valley and Buffalo await Tolsiua in two of the next four weeks.
A 3-1 start to the season for Tolsia would be its first since starting 6-1 during the 2016 season.
Who to Watch for Tolsia: John Wilson ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries for the Rebels in their win over Lincoln County.
Other games: Point Pleasant (0-1) at Lincoln County (0-3); Tug Valley (2-1) at Van (1-2); Logan (0-3) at No. 6 Poca (3-0); No. 15 Buffalo (2-1) at Sherman (0-3); Chapmanville (0-3) at Nitro (1-2); Wayne (0-2) at No. 13 Winfield (2-1); Hannan (0-3) at Hundred (0-3)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginians have responded in a big way to the FanDuel Sportsbook betting app launched last month. That according to Mike Raffensperger, the Chief Marketing Officer with FanDuel.
Raffensperger spoke with MetroNews on Thursday about what his company has seen since the August 26 app launch through The Greenbrier for sports fans across the entire state to use.
“There’s probably no better time a year to launch then around the start of September and the kick-off to football,” he said.
“I think West Virginians have responded admirably as admirable sports fans do. They have brought a lot of activity both in NFL play and college football.”
According to the latest West Virginia Lottery numbers under mobile taxable receipts, The Greenbrier has brought in $96,849.08 since the FanDuel app launched. A total number of app users in West Virginia could not be provided by FanDuel.
Raffensperger told MetroNews that plenty of wagers have came in on West Virginia University and Marshall University football. He said around 80-percent of Big 12 football bets in the state are just on WVU.
“I think what we have seen is colleges popularities over-indexing in West Virginia in relation to NFL what we have seen in other markets,” Raffensperger said.
According to him, football has been the most popular in West Virginia to bet on through the app followed by baseball, tennis, soccer, and boxing in that order.
Golf has also been popular on app and Raffensperger said they saw a lot of activity at The Greenbrier during the PGA Tour’s “A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier” last week.
Custom markets were created outside of hole 17 for attendees to bet on golf in person.
“We had a bet that could place on every round of golfers that would come up, who would be closest to the pin,” Raffensperger said.
“When you’re watching on television, it could be a little hard to fully understand and watch golf through the broadcast. But it’s a great way to experience golf live.”
DraftKings Sportsbook app launched shortly after FanDuel but through Hollywood Casino in Charles Town.
According to the latest West Virginia Lottery numbers under mobile taxable receipts, Hollywood Casino has brought in $203,638.37 since the app launched. More than $170,000 in the week of August 31 to September 7.
DraftKings officials could not be reached for comment.
Total taxable receipts at The Greenbrier for sports betting, retail and mobile, since the new fiscal year started on July 1 is $294,848.58. For Hollywood Casino, the total is $2,899,607.97.
The Mountaineer Casino in Hancock County also offers sports betting but does not have a mobile app. The total taken in since July 1 is $711,449.64.
The post FanDuel encouraged by sports betting app numbers in W.Va. appeared first on WV MetroNews.
Photo by Christopher C. Davis/@EP_BigCameraGuy
GAMES TO WATCH
No. 2 Musselman (3-0) at Tuscarora, Va. (2-1)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Last week: Musselman handled Jefferson, 49-0. The Huskies edged Woodgrove (Va.), 13-12, for their second straight win.
Why it’s important: The first of two straight out-of-state matchups for the Applemen, this one should be a tough test against a Tuscarora program that won eight games a year ago. After a season-opening 29-14 win over Spring Mills, Musselman has outscored its last two opponents, 124-0.
Who to watch for Musselman: Blake Hartman is one of the state’s most electrifying players and scored five touchdowns a week ago. Hartman is a big factor on the ground as well as in the team’s passing attack. Hartman caught touchdown passes of 80 and 81 yards from quarterback Caleb Horner last week.
Who to watch for Tuscarora: Quarterback Ethan Gick is coming off a performance in which he passed for 188 yards and rushed for 101. Wideout Jevonn Gilyard had 140 receiving yards on four catches and kicker Max Skirkanich made a pair of field goals.
Academy Park, Pa. (4-0) at No. 4 Martinsburg (3-0)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Last week: Martinsburg had its way with Sherando (Va.), 37-0, for the program’s 45th straight win.
Why it’s important: The Bulldogs were thought to perhaps face a tough test a week ago against a Warriors’ team that nearly knocked off Martinsburg in 2018. Instead, MHS prolonged its state record win streak to help set up a clash of unbeatens against the Knights. Academy Park has allowed 41 points in four games and has already registered a shutout. Martinsburg won this matchup on the the road last season, 42-20.
Who to watch for Academy Park: Quarterback Barry Brown passed for 154 yards and a pair of touchdowns in last week’s win, which featured two blocked punts from the Knights, including one for a touchdown.
Who to watch for Martinsburg: The team appears to have endless weapons. Quarterback Elijah Banks distributes the ball to a talented receiving group that includes Jarod Bowie, Teddy Marshall and Anthony Smith among others. Naieem Kearney and Trey Sine are explosive out of the backfield.
No. 12 Weir (2-1) at No. 3 Keyser (3-0)
When: Friday at 7 p.m.
Last week: Weir got a much-needed 28-27 win against Frankfort when the Red Riders stopped the Falcons’ 2-point conversion try in overtime. Keyser rolled over Petersburg, 59-0.
Why it’s important: The Red Riders will come in confident following an important win over the Falcons. After losing its season opener, Weir is trying to continue showing it has made progress over the first month of the season. Keyser, meanwhile, has been downright dominant in all aspects. Following an eye-opening 56-7 win at Robert C. Byrd in the season opener, the Golden Tornado have a pair of 59-0 wins since.
Who to watch for Weir: Speedster Sebastian Spencer rushed for 97 yards and three scores last week to help his team rally from a 14-0 halftime deficit.
Who to watch for Keyser: Having allowed seven points in three games, the Golden Torando defense has established itself among the elite groups in the state. Keyser also has a strong stable of ball carriers, including Caden Biser, Aaron Lyons, Drae Allen and QB Ryan Shoemaker.
Other games: Berkeley Springs (1-2) at Frankfort (2-1); Pocahontas County (1-2) at East Hardy (0-2); Hampshire (0-3) at Petersburg (1-2); Hedgesville (0-3) at Morgantown (0-3); Class AAA No. 7 Spring Mills (2-1) at Jefferson (0-3); Tucker County (0-3) at Class A No. 8 Moorefield (2-1); Bath County, Va. (0-3) at Class A No. 5 Pendleton County (2-0); North Hagerstown, Md. (0-2) at Class AAA No. 14 Washington (1-1)
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The big drama with PEIA is that it’s stable.
When the coming year’s insurance plan for recipients is taken out for public review this fall it won’t include recommendations of higher premiums or a bigger co-pay.
The plan might draw on a newly-established Rainy Day Fund for PEIA for some financial support, but even that is not set in stone.
“That’s good,” said Ted Cheatham, director of the Public Employees Insurance Agency.
It hasn’t always been so.
Concern over rising out-of-pocket costs for state employees was a major factor in a statewide teachers strike almost two years ago.
That prompted the establishment of a PEIA Task Force that toured the state, listening to state employees’ concerns about the cost of insurance.
There weren’t many results from the task force, but one was the establishment of the Rainy Day Fund, which is designed as a savings account that would not trigger an increase in the employee side of an 80-20 contribution.
During Thursday afternoon’s quarterly PEIA Finance Board meeting that can sometimes lead to conflict when recommendations for a new fiscal year’s plan are introduced, there was mostly calm.
“Right now, we had a very good year. We’re in good shape,” Cheatham said. “We have some money to use to help our citizens next year, in 2021.”
Besides avoiding additional costs for insured West Virginians, PEIA proposes a couple of additional benefits for next year including two free chiropractic visits for back pain plus acupuncture for headaches.
Drawing from PEIA’s Rainy Day Fund remains up in the air, Cheatham said.
“Not necessarily,” Cheatham said. “We did talk to Revenue about a worst-case scenario, and it seems like there’s going to be some money available if we need it.”
As it does annually, the PEIA Finance Board will take a proposed plan for the next fiscal year out for public comment at areas around the state in November.
“We’re going to leave the plan stable, add a few minor tweaks to benefits to enhance the plan for people a little bit,” Cheatham said. “So it looks real good. It’s basically business as usual, another year.”
Fred Albert, president of the West Virginia Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, was in the audience at Thursday’s quarterly finance board meeting.
Afterward, Albert said he was sighing some relief on behalf of his union’s members.
“It was actually pretty positive,” Albert said. “I know that members are usually anxious around this time of year as to what the next year will hold.
“But this looks like a pretty positive figure. Premiums are not going up. Co-pays are not going up. So I think that our employees and members of PEIA will be appreciative of the work that has been done so far.”
Albert said his union members will continue to watch trends with PEIA over the long haul.
“Short term, it gives us some breathing room,” he said. “And it gives people an idea of how they can plan. So I think we can sit back and take a nice, relaxing, deep breath.”
The post No plans to bump up PEIA costs for insured West Virginians next year appeared first on WV MetroNews.
The West Virginia Mountaineers and Kansas Jayhawks open Big 12 Conference play on Saturday and no one really knows what to expect. Both teams won their opening game, lost while playing poorly in their second game, and posted surprisingly easy wins over teams from the ACC last Saturday.
So what should fans from both teams expect this week? The fellas discuss offense, defense, special teams, and the Les Miles factor. The guys also reveal the intriguing story of WVU defensive coordinator Vic Koenning and Kansas offensive coordinator Les Koenning. Yes, they’re related but they don’t agree on how you say Koenning.
Those topics and more on episode 140 of Three Guys Before The Game.
The post Three Guys Before The Game – Kansas Preview (Episode 140) appeared first on WV MetroNews.
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — You could call it a “boots on the ground” approach to clarifying numbers and listening to the concerns of Eastern Panhandle commuters.
On Thursday’s MetroNews Talkline, Del. Jason Barrett (D-Berkeley, 61) said he is part of a team of delegates waking up early to talk to West Virginians who ride the MARC Brunswick commuter rail line to D.C.
“We’ve done a count each morning of how many folks are riding the train. As of right now, it’s averaging just over 290. I’ve been manning the Martinsburg station, Chairman (Eric) Householder at Duffields, then Delegates (John) Doyle and (Sammi) Brown at the Harpers Ferry station.”
If West Virginia does not pay the State of Maryland the 3.4 million dollars requested, MARC rail service could be cut from six trains daily to two this fall.
Opponents of funding MARC rail say, among other reasons, that it is not cost-effective to fund a transportation service that only a small portion of the state’s population uses. Barrett argues losing MARC would hurt more than just commuters.
“The employees on the MARC train, the conductors and the engineers, you would assume because this is a Maryland train that these folks live in Maryland. Well, that’s not the case. These folks are West Virginia residents. So we’re talking about several jobs as well.”
City of Martinsburg Economic and Community Development Director Shane Farthing previously told The Panhandle News Network, a MetroNews affiliate, that MARC helps his city’s economy.
“You have a connection to jobs, you have a connection to tourists and you have a certain amount of value that comes from being transit adjacent. If you go and you look at the real estate listings, you’ll notice that almost every listing for a house or for a commercial property or a business property includes that proximity to MARC.”
Shane Farthing, Martinsburg's Economic and Community Development Director, joins @HoppyKercheval to discuss the MARC commuter train and the importance of it's connection to DC. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIAoe1 pic.twitter.com/gr6sUjGmb7
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 6, 2019
“People are relying on that, not just for the ‘I’m going to go to work, collect my paycheck, get home,’ type of standard commuter things, which is great on its own but we’re trying to build a much more broader economy here,” Farthing said, adding the connection to D.C. that MARC provides is a key component.
Last year, the West Virginia legislature appropriated $1.5 million for MARC service and this regular session appropriated $1.1 million for the 2019-20 budget year.
Delegate Barrett said Thursday that he would like more information from Maryland.
“First I think we need to have some questions answered by Maryland. How much does it actually cost the State of Maryland to operate this train? We’ve essentially received an invoice from them for $3.4 million or they cut the train service, but we’ve never really seen how much it actually costs. So I think we need to ask Maryland to be more transparent.”
“We need to have an interstate compact so that we can guarantee this service for the next ‘x number of years’, Barrett said. “So that we don’t have to come back and fight this battle every year and Maryland doesn’t try to raise the price tag on us.”
If West Virginia does not pay Maryland the requested amount, the proposed cuts to the MARC line in the Eastern Panhandle could happen in November.
The post Eastern Panhandle delegates taking counts, talking with commuters as threat of MARC rail cuts loom appeared first on WV MetroNews.
ROANOKE, W.Va. — Sportsmen and women will gather this weekend to enjoy two of West Virginia’s most popular activities, hunting and fishing. The annual National Huntington and Fishing Day celebration is set for Saturday and Sunday at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park.
“It’s a time for outdoors enthusiasts to come together and not only participate in a variety of outdoors activities, but it is also a traditional hunting and fishing show so they can check out products as well.” said Kayla Donathan, Events Coordinator for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
The DNR teams with the West Virginia Wildlife Federation each year to put on the celebration which is spread throughout the sprawling park area. The event includes many hands on demonstrations for sportsmen and women to learn more about outdoors pursuits.
“Some of those seminars include how to hunt with squirrel dogs, whitetail deer taxidermy, fishing seminars, and how to film your hunt,” Donathan said.
The event will also include a healthy display of big fish and big bucks killed in West Virginia. Those are displayed in a special area of the Roanoke Building.
The weekend also includes the ever popular Youth Outdoor Challenge
“It’s composed of a variety of different activities for kids of any age,” Donathan explained. “Things like wildlife identification, boating safety, and there’s the gun range. If kids participate and complete the requirements they qualify for a variety of prizes.”
The grand prize each day is a lifetime hunting and fishing license.
The origins of National Hunting and Fishing Days stretch back to the 1960’s in Pennsylvania when a local sporting goods store owner wanted to recognize the contributions of sportsmen to the outdoors. He managed to get the Governor to declare recognition of the day in his state.. In 1972, by Senate Joint Resolution 117, Congress requested the President to declare the fourth Saturday of September 1972 as National Hunting and Fishing Day. On May 2 of the same year, President Richard Nixon signed proclamation 4128 designating the Fourth Saturday in September National Hunting and Fishing Day.
For many years, West Virginia always celebrated the event on the 4th Saturday, until last year when the weekend moved back one week to accommodate a new opening day for archery hunting season.
Hours each day are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 for anyone age 14 and older. Those under age 14 get in free.
The post Celebrating hunting and fishing this weekend in West Virginia appeared first on WV MetroNews.
— By Shawn Rine
GAMES TO WATCH
Shadyside, Ohio (2-1) at No. 10 Wheeling Central (2-1)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last Week: Shadyside handled Magnolia on the road, 44-8. Wheeling Central was beaten by Linsly, 31-7.
Why it’s important: Both of these storied programs have their eyes set on deep postseason runs. The reality, however, is that the loser of this matchup will be sitting at .500 near the season’s midway point, with several big-time showdowns still awaiting on brutal schedules.
Who to watch for Shadyside: Kelly Hendershot is a senior and do-it-all threat in all three phases. A multi-sport star for the Tigers, in last week’s victory, Hendershot hauled in four catches for 121 yards including touchdowns of 42 and 44 yards, while intercepting a pass on defense. He did all of this despite being out of the game by halftime.
Who to watch for Wheeling Central: Poised to become the program’s all-time leading tackler, linebacker Adam Murray is also a two-time Huff Award winner as the state’s top defensive player. Murray and his mates need to get the taste of last week, in which they surrendered nearly 500 yards, out of their collective mouth.
No. 12 Weir (2-1) at No. 3 Keyser (3-0)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Week: Weir edged Frankfort, 28-27, when it stopped a 2-point conversion attempt in overtime. Keyser, meanwhile, flattened homestanding Petersburg, 59-0.
Why it’s important: Already with one loss and sitting deep in the ratings, this is a key game for the Red Riders, who still have contests remaining with Fairmont Senior, East Liverpool, Ohio, and Brooke. Also, maybe revenge is a factor as Weir led 40-14 in the third quarter of last season’s matchup, before falling, 41-40. For the Golden Tornado, this is an opportune time to make a statement to the rest of the state.
Who to watch for Weir: Elijah Gillette is coming off a game in which he led Weir with six catches and 43 yards. He could be key with teams focusing on Sebastian Spencer.
No. 5 University (2-1) at No. 7 Wheeling Park (2-1)
When: Friday, 7 p.m.
Last Week: University knocked off Brooke, 39-15, on the road. Wheeling Park handled Hedgesville, 43-26, at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Why it’s important: Look at where these two teams are after the first set of WVSSAC ratings were released this week — Nos. 5 and 7 in AAA. Obviously, to the victor go the spoils (bonus points).
Who to watch for University: Logan Raber pounded his way through the Brooke defense last week, carrying 19 times for 220 yards including gains of 77 and 82 yards.
Who to watch for Wheeling Park: Quarterback Alex Dunlevy has been virtually unstoppable this season. In the victory against Hedgesville, he completed 11-of-17 passes for 221 yard and two touchdowns, then added two more scores on the ground.
Other games: Bellaire, Ohio (2-1) at Class AAA No. 15 John Marshall (1-2); Brashear, Pa. (0-4) at Brooke (1-2); Perry Academy, Pa. (2-2) at Class AA No. 5 Oak Glen (3-0); Matthews, Ohio (1-2) at Class A No. 10 Madonna (2-1); Frontier, Ohio (3-0) at Cameron (2-1); Valley Wetzel (0-2) at Clay-Battelle (1-1); Hannan (0-3) at Hundred (0-3); River, Ohio (1-2) at Magnolia (0-2); Bridgeport, Ohio (0-3) at Paden City (0-3); Calhoun County (1-2) at Tyler Consolidated (0-2)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Some guys just stick out as freshmen the first time you see them. Whether it’s wide eyes or a general naivete that can only be conquered by experience the first time away from home, their demeanor makes it obvious they haven’t done this before.
When he arrived at West Virginia, defensive tackle Jordan Jefferson was one of those guys, and understandably so. On top of being a long way from his home in the Florida Panhandle, Jefferson is the youngest player on the Mountaineers roster at 17 years old.
“Physically, he’s just as big and strong as anybody on this team,” senior defensive end Reese Donahue said of the 6-foot-2, 295-pound Jefferson. “But from a speed and knowledge of the game aspect, I would say it was obvious he was new.
“All freshmen are a little bit lost on campus. They don’t know how college football works with meetings and all of this. In high school, football is part of your life. Football when you’re here consumes everything you do.”
It hasn’t taken long for Jefferson to catch on. The true freshman worked his way into the starting lineup against North Carolina State, only needing two games to earn that status. The feat is even more impressive when one takes into account that fellow tackle Darius Stills has arguably been the most disruptive player on West Virginia’s defense this season.
“As a coach you would prefer to be a little bit older, but we’ve got to play the best guys,” said West Virginia coach Neal Brown. “Our young people have shown they are ready to play. Jordan Jefferson is a great example of that. He started the game and played really well. Those young guys, the more the play, the better they’ll get.”
For Brown, there has to be an extra bit of satisfaction in seeing Jefferson succeed so soon. He and defensive line coach Jordan Lesley began recruiting Jefferson when they were still at Troy. Jefferson was the first high school player recruited by the new WVU coaching staff for February’s signing day.
Though Jefferson’s breakthrough is welcome, expect Stills to continue getting the lion’s share of snaps inside. Jefferson is being groomed with future production in mind.
“We’ve got to be careful with his reps,” Brown said. “It’s almost like a pitch-count. We’re keeping him in a rep-count.”
Jefferson only has one tackle so far, but Donahue says that number is going to pile up by a large margin.
“The improvement he’s made has been substantial,” Donahue said. “If he continues to improve like this, you guys are going to have a special player on your hands.
“Y’all need to keep an eye on him. I’m not only excited to see how he develops the rest of the season, but I’m excited to see how he turns out in four years.”
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