By Bill Nestor
The Gold-Blue Spring Game was a nail-biter this past Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium. The Gold edged the Blue team 22-21 in the simulated scrimmage. There was no real loser and West Virginia University Head Coach Neal Brown was the big winner on a day where his team took center stage in the Mountain State. The fan attendance was impressive as 12,678 people attended. The other big winner was WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital which received a portion of the proceeds from the event.
The most significant position on the field belongs to the signal callers and three of the top four suited up. The newest addition, JT Daniels recently came to Morgantown via the transfer portal and didn’t take part in this year’s festivities. Will Crowder, Garrett Greene, and freshman sensation Nicco Marchiol all played and performed up to expectations.
Crowder threw for 199 yards on 14 of 24 passing. Crowder also tossed a touchdown to receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton. Greene was 5 of 12 for 132 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The highly touted newcomer Marchiol was 10 of 19 for 75 yards in his first opportunity in a Mountaineer jersey. Mountaineer Nation may have had a glimpse of what is yet to come.
Receiver Sam James also hauled in a touchdown pass. He and Ford-Wheaton are the two top targets for WVU quarterbacks after the departure of several top-notch catchers. Another potential target in hometown hero, Preston Fox. Fox, a Morgantown High graduate, redshirted in 2020. Last year, Fox saw action in 5 games and could be a sleeper this year for Brown and company. Fox made the catch of the day just before half-time on a sideline snag for a 39-yard pickup. He also connected with Crowder on a 50-yard play that showed his potential to those in attendance. If Fox can become the third guy then the passing attack could see a high level of success.
New offensive coordinator Graham Harrell loves to go deep and in order to get the job done, he will need a plethora of receivers to get the job done. Opposing teams will focus on Ford-Wheaton and James which will open up the passing lanes for unsung players like Preston Fox to make big plays for what everyone around the program hopes is a big play offense from Harrell. Ironically, Fox was given a scholarship by Brown in the locker room immediately following the scrimmage. His parents were invited in to witness the offer. It put a cap on a great day for fans, players, and coaches alike.
Saturday was also a day of redemption for Lincoln’s softball team. The Cougars avenged an earlier loss to Philip-Barbour with a 1-0 win. Making the victory even sweeter was the fact that Lincoln won the Big 10 conference title in the process.
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead when Alexis Williams and Emily Robey hit back-to-back doubles in the home half of the first inning. Williams scored the winning run and was the only player from either squad to have multiple hits in the affair. She was two for three in the lockup. Delaney Haller went the distance in the circle. Haller scattered five hits while striking out eight Colts in the process.
That will do it for now. Until next week… take care and God Bless!