The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

November 15, 2013

Oak Hill looking for playoff wins

Oak Hill found its way into the WVSSAC football playoffs in 2012, its first year back as a Class AAA member. This year, it’s hoping to do some damage.

The 16th-seed Red Devils lost to No. 1 Cabell Midland 52-20 to open last year’s playoffs, so one of the goals this season was to play a more manageable first-round game, possibly at home.

Oak Hill (8-2) wasn’t able to start the postseason on its own field, but it did finish No. 9 in Class AAA and head coach Eddie Souk is confident his team can compete when it travels to face No. 8 George Washington (8-2) tonight at 7:30 p.m.

“We’re happy with where we are,” said Souk. “I think everybody’s goal across the state is to make the playoffs. We’re happy we’re in and that we’re playing close to home.”

The Red Devils started the season as hot as anybody in the state, winning on the road at Elkins and Musselman the first two weeks to jump-start a 5-0 record. A showdown at Point Pleasant ended in disappointment, as Oak Hill lost for the first time, 49-15, and after a win against Lewis County it lost another marquee game against Class AA power Bluefield, falling 51-15.

For much of that middle stretch, Kennedy Award candidate Jalen Jones was banged up with an ankle injury and wasn’t at 100 percent. He returned to form in the final two regular season games, running over and around Woodrow Wilson and Greenbrier East to build momentum heading into the playoffs.

“The thing about Jalen’s injury is that he wasn’t really able to cut,” said Souk of his star back, who finished the regular season with 1,535 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. “That’s the nature of his game. He makes people miss, and he couldn’t do that.

“We could have set him out, but Jalen said he could be just as valuable as a decoy and wanted to play. We got through it, and I think it helped us build some depth.”

Souk said Jones should be close to 100 percent tonight, and he’ll have some help in the backfield, including Jarrell Green, who has rushed for 737 yards and six touchdowns, and K.K. Goodman, who has 644 yards and 14 touchdowns on 122 carries.

“We have some other kids playing well,” said Souk. “We have five backs that can run the ball, and that’s what you need in triple-A.”

If GW is able to stop the run, Souk has a plan for that as well. He said quarterback Deonte Scruggs and receivers Goodman and Joey Re have been working hard on the passing game.

The challenge won’t be easy. Postseason football is nothing new for the Patriots, who have been to the Class AAA playoffs seven straight years and played in the championship game in 2008 and 2011.

Like the Red Devils, GW bases its offense on its ground game. Draven Riffe is the leading back, rushing for 1,522 yards and 19 touchdowns, despite missing three games with an ankle injury. He returned to the lineup just in time for the end of the regular season. In his absence, Jacob Jackson shined, rushing for 958 yards and 11 scores in just three games. For the season, he’s up to 1,221 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“They’re the same type of team that we are,” said Souk. “They like to run the football. They’re a disciplined team on both sides of the ball, and that’s the mark of a good team.”

Souk said stopping the Patriot running game is obviously the key to success, but it’s not as if they’re not capable of throwing the pigskin when necessary. Jon Alexander, who transferred from South Charleston to GW for his senior season, has completed 45 of 86 passes for 904 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also ran for a pair of touchdowns.

Austin Giacoma is the top receiver, catching 17 passes for 422 yards and seven touchdowns, while Jackson is also part of the passing game. Three of his 10 receptions have ended in the end zone.

The Patriots, who averaged more than 43 points per game, lost only to Cabell Midland and Capital. They played a difficult schedule and should be playoff ready.

— E-mail: chuffman and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene's No. 75

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are retiring Hall of Fame defensive end Joe Greene's number No. 75.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers' Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le'Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.

    July 30, 2014

  • Charges dropped against WVU RB Smallwood

    Prosecutors said all charges against 20-year-old Wendell Smallwood, who had been charged with witness tampering in the case, have been dropped.

    July 30, 2014

  • cato Word is out on Marshall's Cato

    Rakeem Cato is easily the face of Marshall football. He also has been mentioned as a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. That status is legitimate.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • bush Bush making Saints look good

    For his first four seasons, Rafael Bush was simply looking to land on a roster — any roster.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice, not temps, heats up for Saints
    The temperatures may have only been in the low 70s Tuesday afternoon at the Saints new practice facility at The Greenbrier, but now a third of the way into the 15 practices, it’s clear that the heat has turned up with playing time and positions on the line.

    July 30, 2014

  • Bowles has a support system
    Colin Bowles, the 14-year-old little brother of Corey, is coming into his own as a successful athlete. The younger Bowles competed last week at the U.S. Junior Amateur in The Woodlands, Texas, making the cut before bowing out in match play. Right there beside Colin, as he has been his entire life, was older brother Corey,

    July 30, 2014

  • Terre Haute hands Miners 2-1 loss in 11 innings

    Ryan Sabo singled home Clayton Smithson in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Rex to the win and put the West Virginia Miners’ postseason hopes in serious jeopardy

    July 30, 2014

  • WVU’s Smallwood waives preliminary hearing

    West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood, arrested on a felony charge of witness intimidation in a first-degree murder case, waived his preliminary hearing Monday, his case now being moved to Superior Court, where more serious crimes are argued, according to The News Journal.

    July 29, 2014

  • Steelers LB Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.

    July 29, 2014

Saints Training Camp