The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
Summer has flown by at a rapid rate. Students found themselves back in the classroom last week…some with more on their minds than class work. High school football opens this week with all six Harrison County teams in action.
Bridgeport gets a leg up on the majority of the Mountain State as they host Lewis County on Thursday evening in a televised affair. The Indians are looking for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Class AA title. The Tribe has plenty of “new names” in their program, but something tells me that they will become widely known as the season progresses. Since this is the only game in town, expect a huge crowd at Wayne Jamison Field to start the season off.
Liberty travels north on I 79 to battle East Fairmont. The Mountaineers turned the corner last year under Head Coach AJ Harman while turning in a 6-4 record. Signal Caller, Seth McKinney returns for his sophomore season. Junior, Broderick Lantz is a top notch running back and Tommy Surock is a quality receiver. Four year starter, Skyler Eastman anchors a physical line.
Lincoln travels to Braxton County to open the campaign. The Cougars are a veteran squad that returns leaders in every category offensively. Juniors, Kobie Carpenter (quarterback), Chase Riley and Anthony Kellar will key an explosive offensive unit. Rob Hawkins and his staff have done an excellent job preparing players for early season success and they are looking to repeat last year’s start.
Notre Dame has the lengthiest road trip of all County teams…they will be traveling to Pendleton County. Head Coach Sam Alvaro has just six seniors on his roster and the numbers aren’t what he would like to have in his program. However, don’t overlook any team coached by Alvaro. He is known as a master motivator and he always gets the most out of his players. Junior, Ryan LaAsmer can develop quickly; this offense can put up big numbers.
Robert C. Byrd will host Fairmont Senior. Josh Gorrell will start his second stint as the Head Coach at One Eagle Way. Standout receiver Tre Junkins has moved to the quarterback position and provides a dual threat at the position. Seniors, Brandon Cook and Gage Jackson will see the majority of carries in the backfield. The key to the passing game is to get reps for the talented but relatively inexperienced receiving corp. Both lines are experienced and will need to play well early on for this team to gain wins.
South Harrison will host rival Doddridge County. The Hawks are coming off of an impressive 2015. Even though veteran mentor Brad Jett lost several top notch players to graduation, he has a quality mix of returning players and talented youngsters. Hardnosed brothers Cam and Brenten Barnette and the fastest cat in Class A, Freddie Canary, lead South Harrison into what should be another run to the playoffs.
The playoffs are what they all play for and in 2016 there is a solid chance that several county teams will find themselves in them.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!