In celebration of West Virginia's 150th birthday, our sports staff decided to take a look at some of the athletes, coaches and venues that make sports in the Mountain State special.
Sports editor Cam Huffman, sports writers Dan Stillwell and J. Daniel Rollins and sports clerk Rusty Udy all answered five questions about sports among the beautiful West Virginia hills. Here are their answers.
1) What’s the best game you’ve ever seen in West Virginia?
Cam: The 1993 West Virginia University football win over Miami was a game unlike any Mountaineer fans will probably ever see again. For starters, the record 70,222 fans that filled Mountaineer Field that frigid night were electric. And the game lived up to the hype. Robert Walker’s late touchdown gave the Mountaineers a 17-14 victory over the No. 4 Hurricanes, handing them their first Big East loss. The celebration following the victory was unmatched, and WVU went on to post an undefeated regular season.
Dan: I’ve seen so many great games, but I’ll go with Wyoming East’s come-from-behind victory over James Monroe in the 1999 Class AA football semifinals. Ben Thornton had played brilliantly for the Mavericks, and had given them the lead with a couple of minutes to play. Wyoming East quarterback Robert Gunter told coach Kevin Grogg, “No problem, Coach. We’ve got it.” Gunter then engineered a fantastic drive to give the eventual-state champion Warriors the 31-24 win.
JDR: There aren’t many high school basketball games that live on almost 20 years after they happened. The 1994 state tournament game between Woodrow Wilson and DuPont is one of them. I wasn’t there in person, but I’ve watched the game on television and the Internet many times. The game was full of excitement and drama with the Randy Moss and Jason Williams led Panthers knocking off Dave Barksdale’s Flying Eagles.
Rusty: The 1975 “Backyard Brawl” is clearly the best game I have ever seen in West Virginia. The highly ranked Pitt Panthers led by hall of Famer Tony Dorsett and legendary coach Johnny Majors rolled into Morgantown looking for a win in front of a sell-out crowd of rowdy WVU Mountaineer fans. WVU held Tony Dorsett in check and entered the fourth quarter up 14-7. Pitt however tied the score in the middle of the fourth and the game looked destined for a tie. With time running down, quarterback Dan Kendra faked a draw to Artie Owens and hit Randy Swinson at the Pitt 22 yard line with just seconds left in the game. In stepped Warwood native Bill McKenzie to drill a 38 yard field goal and upset the Panthers setting off a mob scene on old Mountaineer field that I will never forget. It truly was a great day to be a Mountaineer.