The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
Wheeling is a very busy place this time of year. During the holiday season it owns the Festival of Lights which brings in thousands of tourists every year. It is also the target destination for every high school football team in the Mountain State.
Wheeling Island Stadium plays hosts to the Super Six, which is the last two teams standing in the playoffs locking up for a state championship. It is a venue that Bridgeport has grown to know very well. The Indians were three time defending Class AA Champions and were one win away from another trip to the Island.
The opponent, Fairmont Senior, had been hoping for a rematch with the Tribe following one of their worst outings of the year in their regular season matchup. The Polar Bears received their wish and made the most of their opportunity edging Bridgeport 22-21 in double overtime.
After scoring on a spectacular pass play from 41 yards on a second and 31, Fairmont Senior rode the momentum and elected to go for a two point conversion and the win. When quarterback Jake Abbott narrowly crossed the goal line, the game and an unbelievable run had both come to an end.
Bridgeport fan or not, football fans have to respect what has been accomplished. Josh Nicewarner deserves a great deal of credit for taking this storied program to a new level.
Will North Central West Virginia claim a fourth consecutive crown? The Polar Bears have a tough task at hand when they square off with Mingo Central. I had an up close look at this team, broadcasting their opening round playoff game with Liberty. They have an explosive offense and they head into this title game with something to prove. They feel a bit overlooked around the state and they are playing with a purpose. This squad is highly motivated to send long time Head Coach Yogi Kinder into retirement with a title.
Wheeling was also the site for a homecoming of sorts for former Robert C. Byrd All Starter Brett Ervin. Ervin is the Graduate Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at LeMoyne. The Dolphins were in town to take on West Liberty. Ervin finished his playing career at West Virginia Wesleyan where he played for former WVU star Pat Beilein.
In 2015 Ervin would garner his current position under Beilein at LeMoyne and has started what looks to be a promising coaching career. One of the most difficult parts of transitioning from a player to a coach is the ability to communicate knowledge to players in a way that they can grasp and administer their knowledge. Ervin has that ability and coupled with his love for the game and tireless work ethic, it will propel him to the top of the coaching world.
WVU’s football team made amends for last Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma with a decisive 49-19 road win over Iowa State. It sets up a big matchup with Baylor this Saturday in Touchdown City. A win would close out a 10-2 regular season and would bring a respectable bowl their way.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!