The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

May 15, 2014

WVSSAC releases 2014 gridiron slate

Shady Spring-Woodrow Wilson matchup won’t happen this season

Residents of Raleigh County hoping to finally see a showdown between its two Class AAA schools on the gridiron will have to wait at least another season.

High school football schedules for the 2014 season were recently updated on the WVSSAC’s website, and, just as in years past, Woodrow Wilson and Shady Spring will not be playing each other in what would arguably be the biggest high school football game in Raleigh County.

Instead, the Flying Eagles will play a 3-game nonconference schedule, in addition to five MSAC opponents.

Woodrow will open the season by welcoming Winfield to Jerome Van Meter Stadium on Aug. 29. It will then go on a three-game road trip, featuring bitter rival Greenbrier East on Sept. 5, Huntington on Sept. 12 and Riverside on Sept. 26.

The Flying Eagles will return home against Cabell Midland on Oct. 3 and will hit the road again a week later, traveling to Parkersburg.

Woodrow will then wrap up the season with three games at home against Capital, Princeton and Oak Hill, before making the 273-mile trek to Hedgesville for the regular season finale on Nov. 7.

For the Tigers, the season opener will be Aug. 29 at home against Princeton, before embarking on a two-game road stretch that includes Logan (Sept. 5) and Greenbrier East (Sept. 11). They will then welcome long-time rival Independence to Shady Spring on Sept. 19 and PikeView on Sept. 26.

Oak Hill will host the Tigers on Oct. 3, as will Wyoming East (Oct. 12) and Point Pleasant (Oct. 24). Shady will then complete its regular season schedule with a pair of home games on Oct. 30 and Nov. 7 against Liberty and Lewis County, respectively.

n The battle between Raleigh County’s two Class AA schools will take place on Oct. 17 on The Battleground at George D. Covey Field in Coal City when Independence and Liberty meet. Last year’s meeting between the two schools was won by the Raiders, 34-18. But if history is any indication, 2014 could be the year the Patriots get their revenge.

Neither team has won back-to-back games in the series since 2005 and 2006. Even more peculiar,  the home team has won every contest since Independence defeated Liberty in Glen Daniel in 2006, 15-12.

In addition to the county rival, Liberty will host nemesis Sherman on Sept. 26, while Independence, which dropped Class A Greenbrier West, will welcome Mount View on Sept. 12.

n If Wyoming East hopes to keep the famed Golden Shovel for a second straight season, it will get its shot on Sept. 5 when it visits the Burial Ground at Clear Fork. The Warriors won the trophy, given to the victor in the annual Wyoming East-Westside rivalry, for the first time in five seasons in 2013, defeating the Renegades 35-6.

n Perhaps no team has remade its schedule more than Class A runner-up Greenbrier West in preparations for the 2014 season.  

Gone are Class AA schools Independence, PikeView and Webster County. In their places are Magnolia (Sept. 13), Bluefield (Oct. 17) and St. Marys (Nov. 8).  The Cavaliers saw St. Marys and Magnolia in the playoffs, defeating them 18-0 and 21-14, respectively, before falling to Madonna 24-14 in the Class A championship game.  West will open the season at home against Class AA playoff team Nicholas County, which they defeated in 2013 6-0 in an early season classic.

n On the other side of Greenbrier County, the Spartans will embark on a difficult four-game road stretch midway through the season. East will travel to Bluefield (Sept. 19), Parry McCluer (Va.) on Sept. 26, University (Oct. 3) and Lincoln County on Oct. 10.  They’ll then close out the season on a three-game home stretch that includes Logan (Oct. 17), Parkersburg South (Oct. 24) and Oak Hill (Nov. 7).

n It was a season to remember for first-year Summers County head coach Nate Tanner, whose Bobcats finished the regular season 9-1 and hosted a playoff game for the first time in school history.

Year No. 2 will present a new set of challenges for the young, former Concord University standout. Gone are weapons Isaiah Brown, T.J. Smith, JaQuan Ayers and Erik Lindsey and it will now be soon-to-be-junior quarterback Matt Ryan’s team. The Bobcats will open the season against rival PikeView on Aug. 29.  Summers will also travel to Wyoming East (Sept. 19), Greenbrier West (Sept. 26) and Independence (Oct. 10.) Gone from the schedule is the 178-mile bus ride to Grafton. In its place,  the Bobcats will host Liberty on Sept. 5.

n Fayette County will see its fair share of football this fall, with the four Class A schools all doing battle. Fayetteville and Valley will play Sept. 5 in Montgomery, while Meadow Bridge will host Midland Trail on Sept. 12.  The next week, Meadow Bridge will travel to Fayetteville.  Meadow Bridge will welcome Valley on Oct. 3, while the Pirates and Patriots will take the field in Fayetteville on Oct. 17. Finally, Valley will welcome Trail on Halloween night.

n Oak Hill will look to move on from both the Jalen Jones and Eddie Souk eras under first-year head coach Jason Blankenship this fall. Luckily for the Red Devils, they’ll have an impressive four game home stretch midway through the season, that includes Buckhannon-Upshur (Sept. 26), Shady Spring (Oct. 3), Point Pleasant (Oct. 10) and Elkins (Oct. 17). They will then travel to Bluefield and Woodrow Wilson on back-to-back Friday nights, before finishing the season hosting Greenbrier East.

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

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