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Bartlett breaks out, earns Big 12 defensive honor for strong showing against Hokies

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  Less than a week ago, Jared Bartlett had two tackles and no sacks through the first two games of his sophomore season at West Virginia.

A rotational player at bandit, Bartlett hadn’t made a major impact against Maryland or Long Island.

While it wasn’t the desired start for the Miami native, Bartlett hadn’t been presented with an abundance of chances to build on his 2020 campaign — one that saw him tie for second on WVU with 3.5 sacks and record 19 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss.

“Really unlucky more than anything,” WVU defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley said in advance of the team’s matchup with No. 15 Virginia Tech. “He hasn’t had a lot of those opportunities going back a lot to how people move the pocket and how they protect us. That’s where he hasn’t been as productive where maybe he was last year.”

That all changed in the second half of Saturday’s 27-21 victory over the Hokies.

Bartlett earned his first sack of the season on the first play of the Hokies’ second series after halftime.

In the fourth quarter, he added two more sacks, including bringing down VT quarterback Braxton Burmeister on a fourth-and-goal play that  resulted in a fumble recovered by Mountaineer linebacker Lance Dixon.

“Coach Lesley always tells me that speed is my advantage,” Bartlett said. “I was just rushing with speed off the edge. I’m building confidence from my teammates in practice and it really helped me.”

Bartlett tied his career high with five tackles and had a career-best three sacks, consistently using that speed off the edge to to get to Burmeister over the final two quarters.

Jared Bartlett

“We had an idea what they were going to do coming in,” Bartlett said. “Throughout the game, you make adjustments and we did slight things and really played physical.

“The idea that we had coming into the game was getting him off his spot and making him not get past the second read so he wouldn’t be able to get into a rhythm throwing the ball.”

It was a much-needed boost to a West Virginia defense that was put in tough situations while the Mountaineers struggled to protect what at one point was a 27-7 advantage.

Both of West Virginia’s turnovers in the fourth quarter allowed the Hokies to start in Mountaineer territory, including Jermaine Waller’s interception that put VT in the red zone down by six with 2:11 remaining.

After gaining one first down, the Hokies were stopped short of the goal-line on four straight plays inside the the WVU 5.

“Being on defense is very emotional, so you have to keep a level head,” Bartlett said. “In the huddle, we stay calm, make our calls and make our adjustments. When it comes to playing, just go.”

On Monday, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Bartlett parlayed his breakout performance into being named Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Bartlett now turns his attention toward fourth-ranked Oklahoma and preparing for his first action against the Sooners after the teams were unable to play last season.

It’ll be a tough challenge for the WVU defense and its pass rushers, who are out to slow down Sooners’ sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler.

“I’m very proud of him. He’s a young player, but he flashed. It’s great in coverage when you have a guy that’s getting back there really quick,” WVU safety Alonzo Addae said. “It forces the quarterback to make decisions. It’s kind of hand in hand. If we cover them well enough, then the front seven can get there. If they’re rushing fast enough, he’ll make bad decisions and then we’re going to make plays.”

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Three boys recaptured after taking off from Cabell juvenile facility

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — Four boys escaped from the state-operated Robert L. Shell juvenile detention facility in Barboursville Monday afternoon.

Three of the four were back in custody by 5 p.m.

The boys escaped at around 3:30 p.m. in the area near Interstate 64 and state Route 193 close to the Western Regional Jail.

The boys were in their detention facility issued clothing when state troopers took them into custody.

The search continues for the fourth boy.

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Greenbrier County traversing new waters with mask mandate

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — A new mask mandate in Greenbrier County will be in effect for at least three weeks.

Dr. Bridgett Morrison

Greenbrier County Health Officer Dr. Bridgett Morrison told MetroNews Monday that’s how long until the next meeting Greenbrier County Commission.

A new state law gives county commissions veto power over health department decisions.

Morrison said the new law has put an additional burden on public health officials and their ability to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

“There lies the problem where you have politics come into it as well,” Morrison said. “A lot of the health officers are begging and have been begging the governor (Gov. Jim Justice) to make this (masks) a mandate so it will be easier to enforce.”

But Justice has said over and over again he doesn’t believe a statewide mandate is needed. He’s favored county by county decisions.

Greenbrier County is the only county with a mask mandate. Morrison said she’s thankful her health board finally agreed. She hopes the county commission will allow the mandate to continue if case numbers and hospital numbers continue to show it’s needed.

“I know that everybody’s in the same boat when it comes to politics. A year ago it was easier to convince people to do this, now it’s a lot harder,” Morrison said.

Last Friday’s announcement by the Greenbrier County Board of Health also included a pair of comments from two members of the Greenbrier County Commission.

Lowell Rose

“The other members of the county commission and I take our responsibility of protecting the residents of Greenbrier County very seriously,” stated Greenbrier County Commission President Lowell Rose.

Greenbrier County Commissioner Tammy Tincher added, “We value the opinion and work of the Greenbrier County Board of Health, and look forward to working together as we review the mask mandate.”

A mask mandate inside public buildings provides an extra layer of protection, Morrison said.

“We ask and have been begging for people to wear masks. Some people stepped up and were doing so but not enough,” she said.

Greenbrier County was ‘orange’ on Monday’s COVID-19 daily alert map with a percentage positivity rate of 7.46% and an infection rate of 79.54.

Morrison, who also is a hospitalist at Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, said too many people have COVID and too many lives are being lost.

“Every day we’re losing more people and young people too. It’s disheartening,” Morrison said. “It’s real easy to not know the extreme of what’s going on. Essentially our facility and most places are operating in disaster mode.”

According to the Greenbrier County mandate, any individual in the county, regardless of vaccination status, is required to wear a mask or face covering over their mouth and nose while inside any building open to the public. There are exceptions for children under the age of 2, people who have trouble breathing for a documented medical reason and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

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Photo gallery: Buckhannon-Upshur wins the Big 10 Golf Championship

MOUNT CLARE, W.Va. — Buckhannon-Upshur claimed the Big 10 Golf Championship at Bel Meadow Golf Club on Monday.

(This story will be updated)

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The Game Within The Game (Episode 81)

Longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker Dave Sharapan joins Brad Howe for a Monday Night Football preview and a look ahead to the early week 3 lines in the NFL.

Which dog provides the best value? What are oddsmakers telling us with the Tampa Bay – LA Rams early line? Can Teddy Bridgewater’s incredible ATS streak continue against the New York Jets this weekend?

Dave also gave advice on how to approach former WVU star Alek Manoah’s upcoming start against the American League-leading Tampa Bay Rays (game scheduled for Tuesday night). Just last week Manoah held the Rays to no runs on just one hit while striking out 10 in a Blue Jays win.

All of that and more in the latest The Game Within The Game presented by DraftKings.

New users click here DraftKings Sportsbook… and use code METROGAME for a free money sign up bonus offer for week 3 of the NFL regular season.

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Photo gallery: ECU hands Marshall first loss

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, squandering a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in a 42-38 setback to East Carolina.

It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Thundering Herd, who play Thursday at Appalachian State.

(Photos by Angie Shockley)

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Police identify bodies recovered in Morgantown, Charleston

Police in Morgantown and Charleston made positive identifications Monday of bodies located in separate incidents over the last few days.

Morgantown police said the body of Jeffrey Uphold, 23, of Bruceton Mills, was pulled from the Monongahela River last Friday. He had been reported missing by family members last Tuesday.

Uphold’s body has been taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

Charleston police released the name of the man struck and killed by a train Saturday as that of Dallas Adkins Jr., 52, of Marmet.

Adkins’ body was found along CSX tracks near the Southside Bridge Saturday afternoon.

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Three Guys Before The Game – Mountaineers Gobble Gobblers (Episode 313)

The Black Diamond Trophy has taken residence in Morgantown following West Virginia’s dramatic win over Virginia Tech.

It was a game that contained almost every ingredient that makes a rivalry special.

On this episode, the “Guys” look back at the herculean effort of the WVU defense and the biggest plays and players of the game. 

Listener questions and comments complete the episode.

Join Brad, Hoppy and Tony Thursday for their preview of Saturday’s date at No. 4 Oklahoma. 

Three Guys Before The Game is sponsored by Burdette Camping Center  WV Game Changer   Komax Business Systems   and Caesars Sportsbook. Don’t forget to check out Three Guys merchandise.

Never miss an episode, subscribe below.

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Natural Resources Police step up patrols on East Lynn WMA

SOUTH CHARELSTON, W.Va. — Outlaw off-road riding on the state’s second largest Wildlife Management Area is a problem which has now been placed squarely into a spotlight.

Just over a week ago, amid a cascade of negative feedback, the Hatfield-McCoy Trails dropped plans to develop an off-road riding area on the East Lynn Wildlife Management area. The proposal called for a third of the WMA to be given over to the trail authority to enable the riding. Since that won’t happen, the task falls to the DNR to get a handle on the issue which began the discussion in the first place, “outlaw riding.” The term was self-proclaimed on social media by those who choose to use the area illegally and fought against the Hatfield McCoy Trails’ proposal for a regulated riding area.

Natural Resources Police Colonel Bobby Cales, speaking on last weekend’s West Virginia Outdoors, said his officers recently conducted patrols there and encountered a high number of riders who were in violation and riding on a prohibited area. He said those patrols will continue and be stepped up.

“We intend on continuing to patrol these areas and increase our visibility there,” Cales said.

The patrols are special details involving NRP Officers from various areas spending extended time on the WMA. Cales said initially they have written only warning citations and will continue to do that for the time being, but he said at some point that will change.

“We’re going to increase our visibility and patrols and once we think the public has a good understanding of what’s going on we will increase out activity,” he said.

Some of those riding don’t even realize the area is restricted to off road vehicles. Many are actually from out-of-state.

“They’re coming from other states. There are several types of vehicles coming in there. We want people to enjoy the natural resources of our state, but we also have a duty to protect those resources,” Cales explained.

Cales admitted it’s a big lift for his agency. The Natural Resources Police only have only a limited number of officers to patrol vast expanses of public land all across the state, but Cales said they will continue the special details for as long as it takes. Cales said the biggest fear is somebody is going to get hurt or killed amid illegal and unregulated riding in the area.

“When folks have these mountain climbs up a pipeline, some of this terrain is extremely dangerous and the likelihood of someone rolling their UTV, ATV, motor bike, or whatever they are operating is very possible. We are very concerned about that situation. That’s the reason we are there is to protect the property and make sure the public is operating safely,” he said.

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Justice assures financial support for hospitals during surge of covid patients

As hospitals across West Virginia are filling with covid patients to the point that they curtail elective procedures, Gov. Jim Justice said they can count on financial help from the government.

Justice said an initiative he called “Save Our Care” will assure medical providers that they can shift healthcare resources to covid patients and critical care with less worry about the financial bottom line. The safety net also applies to nursing homes.

“Financially, if they eliminate elective surgeries, whether they be the same day surgery or an overnight surgery, they are really going to destroy the economics of the hospital. We have got to step in, and we’re doing that exactly right now,” Justice said during a briefing today.

Justice’s remarks followed a “Breakfast Roundtable Summit” this morning with health and operations advisers.

In his briefing, Justice said the financial assurance is meant to help hospitals manage staffing and beds.

“The bottom line to the whole thing is our hospitals are on the verge of being overrun,” he said today. “By overrun, I mean we could awaken to a situation where we’re basically rationing care. We’re not there right at this moment. But we should all realize that we are now at a point in time where we’re at a crisis.”

Asked by Dominion-Post reporter David Beard how the funding assurance would prevent healthcare rationing, Justice said it just will. 

“We’re going to make every effort in the world that we’re not at rationing care,” the governor said. “That’s what this is all about. We are absolutely — that’s why we have met over and over and over. That’s why we have moved today. Because God forbid, we don’t want to get in that situation where we’re rationing care.

“But from the standpoint of a hospital that could absolutely get overrun and not be in any other position because of the economics of the hospital or staffing or whatever — things that maybe we can assist and help with — we want to be able to do that.”

Jim Kaufman

The West Virginia Hospital Association praised Justice for the initiative.

“This decision will help our hospitals manage the financial challenges of responding to the pandemic, including the escalating expenses and critical staffing needs they are currently experiencing,” stated Jim Kaufman, president and chief executive of the hospital association.

“Ultimately, funding will help support our health care workers who have been on the frontlines of care for more than 19-months and help maintain the long-term stability of our health care system to care for all patients.”

Hospitalizations have climbed sharply in recent weeks as the delta variant fueled thousands of new active covid cases.

West Virginia reported 955 hospitalizations today from covid-19. On July 3, the state reported just 57 hospitalizations.

The state reported 292 covid patients needing the intensive care unit today, an all-pandemic high.

And the state reported 164 patients needing a ventilator to breathe.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that 82 percent of the available hospital beds in West Virginia are in use. And 86 percent of staffed ICU beds are in use.

Hospitals across the state have reported being inundated with patients during the current surge fueled by the delta variant.

Last week, WVU Medicine posted that nine of its locations are operating at a crisis-level standard of care. “Our ICUs are all full; and our providers are working around the clock to care for their patients.”

Justice indicated “Save Our Care” is meant to provide financial assurance so hospitals may shift resources away from the elective procedures that often shore up the bottom line. Many state healthcare facilities have already curtailed elective procedures.

“We’re moving to assure the safety of institutions that do incredible work,” he said. “We have a real staffing issue. That’s all there is to it.”

Assisted living facilities would also be eligible for financial relief under the initiative. The West Virginia Health Care Association also thanked the governor.

Marty Wright

“The current surge of covid-19 has stretched the staffing and bed availability in our state to the breaking point. Our health care workers have truly been fighting a war against covid-19 for the last 19 months. This latest surge has placed an unprecedented stress on our frontline workers, yet they still strive to provide quality care to all ailing West Virginians,” said Marty Wright, president and chief executive of the association.

“It is imperative that we provide our brave workers some relief and reinforcements, thereby allowing our health care systems to meet the extreme demand that is being placed on them.”

Justice said the money would flow from the federal relief dollars that have come to the state in recent months.

Dr. Clay Marsh

Asked to elaborate on how that would work, covid-19 policy adviser Clay Marsh said “We will work closely with the hospital association and the hospitals and direct what kind of expenses can be reimbursed.

“We talked about issues like staffing, loss of revenue or other expenses — and those will be submitted through the DHHR or through the Governor’s Office for funding. But we will have a more complete overview of that in the upcoming weeks.”

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