By Cam Huffman
Week 1 of the West Virginia high school football season included some big-time performances from some familiar faces and some new names that may find a home in this spot this year.
Here’s a list of our game balls for outstanding performances on the opening night of Friday Night Lights.
Jake Parker (Meadow Bridge) — The state’s leading returning rusher started off his senior year in incredible fashion, rushing for 447 yards and six touchdowns. He still had the energy to record 12 tackles on defense, as well, as the Wildcats knocked off Van 56-20.
Jalen Jones (Oak Hill) — Last year's Register-Herald Offensive Player of the Year wasted no time starting his campaign for back-to-back honors. He rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns and also returned a punt 43 yards for a score in the Red Devils 48-14 trouncing of Elkins.
Isaiah Brown (Summers County) — In a tight 18-12 victory over PikeView, Brown rushed for 145 yards on 16 carries. He also caught two passes for 26 yards as the Bobcats started off the 2013 season on the right foot.
Aaron Griffith (Wyoming East) — Griffith got the job done for the Warriors on the ground and through the air. He rushed for 83 yards on 11 carries and threw for 120 more, completing 9 of 13 passes. A third of his completions ended in the end zone for touchdowns.
Mike Mullens (Westside) — Mullens helped make the Renegades’ season opener one to remember, rushing for 290 yards and six touchdowns on 36 carries. Westside defeated Liberty 44-16 in an important Class AA battle.
Only five game balls are handed out each week, but there are a few others worthy of some recognition.
Larry Cook Jr. — Starting for the injured Justin Cogar, the coach's son made sure the Renegades didn't miss a beat. He threw for 136 yards and rushed for 73 as the offense clicked.
Greenbrier West defense — To open the season with a shutout is always special, but the Cavaliers did it with their backs to the end zone on a number of occasions. Nicholas County had several chances to score, but the West defense turned the Grizzlies away every time. It's a good thing for the Cavs that they did, because a single Nicholas County touchdown would have probably won the game, which West captured 6-0. Marquis Frazier led the way with 15 tackles and six sacks.
Larry Cook, Nate Tanner, Chris Vicars — Three first-year head coaches won their debuts with their new schools Friday night. Cook took Westside to a lopsided win over a strong Class AA opponent in Liberty, Tanner made sure his Summers County Bobcats held on against PikeView and Vicars kept the Independence Patriots focused after falling behind early and led them to a come-from-behind triumph over Midland Trail.
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.