By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
There has been no October football in Charmco, at least on the varsity level.
Greenbrier West, the state’s No. 3-rated Class A team, played five of its first six games at home. The Cavaliers haven’t played on their own field since pounding PikeView 44-0 on Sept. 28.
Since then, West (8-1) has played three straight on the road. And they were not at locales within walking distance, either.
First there was a trip to Dunmore in Pocahontas County. Then it was Upper Glade in Webster County. Last week, the Cavs made their longest trip of all, venturing into Boone County to take on Van.
West won all three games by a combined 126-41. But that’s also a combined 462 miles and 4 1/2 hours on a bus, and not much interstate.
“This Friday is going to seem like we’re playing in our back yard,” coach Lewis McClung said.
The regular season comes to a close Friday for Greenbrier West, still on the road but with a much friendlier commute on Route 60 to Fayetteville.
The last three weeks have been a grind, for sure. But McClung is happy with the way the team has handled it.
“They have reacted fairly well,” McClung said. “I haven’t witnessed any (fatigue). The kids are still getting after it. I haven’t noticed any.”
The Cavs have clinched their perennial postseason berth. The only way they won’t be returning home is if they are upset by winless Fayetteville, which stands at an un-Pirate-like 0-8.
Before the playoffs start, however, West will have a bye week to heal up and, more importantly, get some rest.
“I like (the placement of) the bye week,” McClung said. “I’m not a fan of bye weeks, but if we have to have one, I like it at the end (of the regular season). Some coaches don’t like them, because they think if they are on a roll then it breaks that momentum. But this will give the kids a chance to catch their breath. Everybody has little knicks and bruises, and the bye gives them an opportunity to heal up before the playoffs.”
The Cavs have largely been able to remain healthy, with the exception of sophomore Marquis Frazier. He made some big plays at defensive end early in the season, but has been lost for the year because of injury.
“That was a pretty big loss,” McClung said. “He was doing a good job for a sophomore, so that was a big blow, especially depth-wise.”
Frazier had been rotating with Cory Cox and Aaron Winals.
Despite the Pirates’ struggles, McClung expects a fight from the Fayette County squad.
“Coach (Frank) Spangler has been at it a long time. He will have them prepared and playing hard,” McClung said. “They will give us their best shot. I know their kids will play hard.”
Then it’s back to the bus, one more time, for the Cavaliers.
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