The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

June 29, 2013

Woodrow looking to the future

BECKLEY — How do you replace one of the most dynamic quarterbacks Woodrow Wilson has ever seen?

That’s the question Flying Eagles head coach John H. Lilly had to answer when he lost Woodrow’s all-time leading passer Andrew Johnson to graduation.

He hopes that solution will be Johnson’s understudy in junior Brett Osborne.

“I think we’re a little offensively ahead that I thought we would be,” Lilly said. “Brent’s further along than I thought he would be. He’s throwing the ball way better than I thought he would be early in the year, coming out of baseball.”

Osborne, like Johnson, is a three-sport athlete who has tasted playoff success, but hasn’t been able get over the hump and bring a trophy home to the “City of Champions.”

The same could be said for Lilly’s last two Flying Eagle football squads, who have bowed out in the first round to eventual champion Martinsburg, losing 49-13 in 2011 and a 39-0 shutout in 2012.

“That’s our motto. ‘One more step,’” Lilly said. “We’re getting in the playoffs and we’re being consistent, but we got to take that one more step to get back to where we were a couple years ago in the early 2000s when we were going deep in the playoffs.”

Lilly added that the return of a patented “Big Beckley” offensive line will likely help his young quarterback navigate through a tough season.

“I think we’ve got a lot bigger. We’re going back to the big Beckley lines we’ve had over the years,” he added. “We have 6-foot-4, 300-pounders coming back. Our offense has been pretty explosive over the last two years. It’s going to be hard to be better. That’s a lofty goal, but I think we have potential to be just as good offensively as we’ve been the last three years.”

Since joining the MSAC over a decade ago, Woodrow has faced its share of challenges, mainly coming from an increase in travel and competition.

“We went undefeated in 2000, but we didn’t play in this conference,” Lilly said of the MSAC. “This is like the SEC in football; each week you’re playing a powerhouse. There’s no room for a letdown. You’ve got to have your ‘A’ game each and every week. That’s something we’ve had to learn and I think we’ve done a good job with it the last two years.”

While the MSAC schedule is demanding for the Flying Eagles, so is their non-conference schedule. In 2013, the Flying Eagles will play longtime rival Greenbrier East, as well as Oak Hill and Hedgesville.

It’s a load the 13-year Woodrow coach would like to see lightened in the coming years.

“Ya know, you’ve got to control your schedule,” Lilly said. “We’re trying to get away from five-hour road trips. We want more local teams on our schedule. When you’re playing Martinsburg and Morgantown, people kind of forget about you. You lose your natural rivals. In the next three years, I’d like to see more local teams.”

While Lilly lamented the long road trips for his squad, he refused to comment on the prospect of the Flying Eagles taking on second year Class AAA Shady Spring, which is only 11 miles from Woodrow. Shady will face a long bus trip of its own this season when it wraps up the season in Musselman.

Lilly previously coached the Tigers before taking over the Woodrow Wilson program from longtime coach Pete Culicerto, who retired in 1999. Conversely, Culicerto’s son Vince is now the head coach at Shady Spring.

“I’ll keep that opinion to myself,” Lilly said. “I think everyone knows the answer to that question. And the reason for that is we’ve got to focus on who we’re playing. You can’t get caught up in the ones you don’t play. Our goal right now is getting ready for Winfield. We’ll worry about that other stuff in March and April.”

The Flying Eagles will open the season on the road Friday, Aug. 30, against the Generals.

— E-mail: jrollins@ and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • Herd lands ‘Other D’Antoni’

    Danny D’Antoni hasn’t been a West Virginia resident in nearly 40 years. That will soon change, and his family could not be happier.
    D’Antoni will be introduced as Marshall’s new head men’s basketball coach at a press conference at 2 p.m. today. Athletic director Mike Hamrick announced the hiring via Twitter Thursday afternoon.

    April 24, 2014

  • 042514 thompson Shady’s Thompson clearing hurdles with ease

    A fall while running hurdles can be a dangerous thing.
    Unless you’re Shady Spring’s Lyndsey Thompson.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • It’s time for spring cleaning inside my crowded cranium

    My head has been filled with more thoughts than a Hallmark store and more nuggets than a McDonald’s freezer in recent days, so I decided it was time to clear them out and get at least some of them in print.
    Here goes.

    April 24, 2014

  • Treadway Memorial wooden bat tournament begins today

    It’s time to break out the sticks in Coal City.
    The Jeff Treadway Memorial Wooden Bat Tournament will be held tonight and Saturday when the host team Independence, welcomes visitors Bluefield, Greenbrier West and James Monroe to Joe Goddard Field.

    April 24, 2014

  • Dan D’Antoni will be next Marshall men's basketball coach

    Dan D’Antoni will be named the new head men’s basketball coach at Marshall, a source with direct knowledge of the hiring confirmed to The Register-Herald on Thursday.

    April 24, 2014

  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gettin’ ready for gobbler season: Step 5 — safety

    My brothers in camo, I could not do this series on preparing for gobbler season without talking to you about the aspects of turkey hunting safety. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I have trouble calling myself an expert on anything. Unfortunately, however, I do have a lot of experience in this area.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042414 woodrow 2 Woodrow hangs on to knock off No. 5 Patriots

    What was supposed to be a pitchers duel turned into anything but Wednesday at Woodrow Wilson High School, but there was not shortage of drama in the Class AAA baseball showdown between No. 8 Woodrow Wilson and No. 5 George Washington.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Herd staffer completes Boston Marathon

    As Travis Epling watched the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings as they were unfolding, he couldn’t help feeling a connection.

    April 23, 2014