Vol. 140, No. 75 • Since 1874 • Wayne, W.Va. • Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

BREAKING UP – The Spring Valley and South Charleston players get mixed up during a pass play last Friday. The Valley will be looking to rebound from its loss to the Black Eagles as Ripley travels to Wolves Den Stadium. WCN photo by Wanda Willoughby

Spring Valley looks to rebound against Ripley

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

HUNTINGTON – The Spring Valley Timberwolves will host the Ripley Vikings this Friday in a Mountain State Athletic Conference matchup.

When a team plays arguably one of the toughest schedules in the state, adversity is sure to be a constant companion.

Adversity in the form of injuries to a T’Wolves team already relying on underclassmen in several key positions proved too much for Spring Valley (2-1) after dropping its first road game to South Charleston, 43-14.

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SQUARE ONE – Tucker Watts (6) runs back a return during Friday’s game.The Wayne Pioneers might have been beaten last Friday, but the loss will serve to make the team better and stronger. WCN staff photo

Wayne to regroup after loss

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

WAYNE – It’s the nature of sports that a team can’t win all the time.

The Wayne Pioneers made a good, LONG run to prove this thought wrong, but after falling to the Point Pleasant Big Blacks, 38-14, last Friday, the loss shows that all good things come to an end.

Of course it isn’t the first time Wayne has lost and in all probability, it won’t be the last. But for top football programs like the Pioneers, losses are few and far between.

The Pioneers lost in Wheeling at the end of last season, dropping the Class AA football championship to Bridgeport, 14-13.

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DOWN BOY! – Wayne’s Cody Stiltner stiffarms a Sissonville defender Friday night. Stiltner rushed for 244 yards in the game. The Pioneers will face stiff competition this week as they face off with familiar foe Point Pleasant. WCN staff photo

Big Blacks lay big hit on Pioneers

By RON FERGUSON
Managing Editor

POINT PLEASANT –The Point Pleasant Big Blacks, behind the running of Cody Mitchell, laid a big whupping on the visiting Wayne Pioneers Friday night at Ohio Valley Stadium, 38-14.

Mitchell led an offensive onslaught that rang up 348 yards and completely dominated Wayne on both sides of the ball to hand the Pioneers their worst loss in years. Mitchell, a 5-11 215-pound junior, had 164 yards and three touchdowns as the Big Blacks wore down the 2-0 Pioneers in the second half to earn the lop-sided victory.

Wayne’s offense could muster only 141 offensive yards, led by Mason Hodge’s 78 on 20 carries.

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DOES ANYONE HEAR FOOTSTEPS? – Spring Valley quarterback Tyler Brown gets off a hurried throw during Friday’s game at South Charleston. The Black Eagles speed coupled with key personnel losses due to injury contributed to the 43-14 loss. Photo by Kerry Carter Photography

Black Eagles hand Wolves first loss of season

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

SOUTH CHARLESTON – The Black Eagles racked up 378 total yards to defeat the visiting No. 6 Spring Valley Timberwolves 43-14 Friday night at No. 3 South Charleston.

Kennedy Award candidate Kentre Grier led South Charleston (3-0) accounting for three scores on the ground and two through the air. Grier rushed for 131 yards on 15 attempts and added 14-of-20 through the air for 133 yards to help SC total 378 total yards on the night.

Spring Valley’s (2-1) defense kept the game close up to halftime holding the Black Eagles to 174 yards going into the locker room. When the Black Eagles stepped onto the field to start the third, Grier reeled off a 50-yard touchdown run to cap off a fast four play drive that only took 1:07 off the clock.

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DOWN BOY! – Wayne’s Cody Stiltner stiffarms a Sissonville defender Friday night. Stiltner rushed for 244 yards in the game. The Pioneers will face stiff competition this week as they face off with familiar foe Point Pleasant. WCN staff photo

Wayne, Pt. Pleasant renew rivalry

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

WAYNE – It’s been a long time coming.

After a three-year hiatus, the AA No. 1 Wayne Pioneers will travel north to face familiar foe, (now) AAA No. 8 Point Pleasant, to renew their football series.

The last time the teams met was in the Class AA championship at Wheeling Island Stadium. Underdog Wayne had lost in the regular season to the Big Blacks, 16-14, but avenged the loss with a 34-7 win for the state title.

Since that time, Point Pleasant moved up to AAA and have had a pair of successful seasons.

“We are looking forward to playing Wayne again,” Big Black Coach David Darst said, “We’ve always had a good, friendly rivalry with Wayne.

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FIGHTING FOR IT – Spring Valley quarterback Tyler Brown fights forward for extra yardage last Friday. Brown will be a focal point during this Friday’s matchup. WCN photo by Wanda Willoughby

Wolves take show on the road against South Charleston

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

HUNTINGTON – Spring Valley takes its show on the road Friday for a Mountain State Athletic Conference showdown against the AAA No. 3 South Charleston Black Eagles.

Things were a little different last year when the two programs met.

The Valley was coming off a 40-6 beating by Huntington and met South Charleston in game where a win was needed to right the Timberwolves’ season.

Spring Valley took a 22-15 lead into the locker room, but a second half surge by the Black Eagles reversed fortunes and South Charleston emerged with a 43-30 win.

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STARTING THINGS RIGHT – The Spring Valley volleyball team started the 2014 campaign off on a winning note by winning the Woodrow Wilson Tournament in Beckley Saturday. The Lady Wolves will open at home Thursday against Capital. Photo submitted

Valley volleyball kicks off season with tourney win

The Spring Valley volleyball team won the Woodrow Wilson Tournament Saturday to kick off the season. This is the second year in a row Spring Valley has won the event.

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ACROBATICS – Spring Valley senior quarterback Tyler Brown shows some fancy footwork to avoid being pulled down by the Huntington defender Friday night. Photo by Kerry Carter Photography

Brown carries Wolves over Huntington

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

HUNTINGTON – Winners win ball games.

The saying might be a bit clichéd, but that is exactly what Spring Valley quarterback Tyler Brown did to lift the No. 10 host Timberwolves to a dramatic 35-34 double-overtime win against No. 4 Huntington High Friday night at the Wolves Den in front of a packed house.

The senior signal caller scored on a four-yard run in the first overtime, before hitting sophomore wide receiver Austin Stambaugh with a 13-yard strike in the second overtime. Brown then called his own number to punch in the two-point conversion for the win. Spring Valley (2-0) head coach Brad Dingess said he would not have had the ball in any other player’s hands.

“Brown is a winner. There is not a doubt in my mind whose number I was going to call,” Dingess said of his decision to go with Brown on the conversion. “I have more confidence in him than any player on that field. You want the ball in a winner’s hands and Brown did it for us tonight.”

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HOT PURSUIT – Spring Valley speedster Mason Brubeck is off to the races with a Highlander player hot on his heels during Friday’s double overtime win at Wolves Den Stadium. Photo by Kerry Carter Photography

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ACROBATICS – Spring Valley senior quarterback Tyler Brown shows some fancy footwork to avoid being pulled down by the Huntington defender Friday night. Photo by Kerry Carter Photography

Big first half seals WMS win

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

WAYNE – Despite visibly running out of gas in the second half, the Wayne Middle Pioneers’ 36 points before intermission was enough to ensure a season-opening 42-32 win against the Huntington Middle Eagles Thursday evening at Pioneer Field.

In an attempt to set the tone early, Huntington recovered the opening kickoff and two plays later, Keshawn Curry zipped through the Pioneer defense for a 36-yard touchdown.

Wayne quickly answered with one of its own.

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GET IN POSITION – The Tolsia Lady Rebels knocked off Huntington St. Joe Thursday evening at Rebel Arena in the volleyball season opener. Tolsia won in straight sets, 25-11, 25-12, and 25-15. The Rebels’ next game is at home against Point Pleasant Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Photo Submitted

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PHOTO FINISH – Kayla Criswell narrowly beat out Krista Miller by a one hundredth of a second to take second place overall female with a time of 23:37. WCN photo by Jessica Ross

Good Samaritan Soles 5K big turnout despite rain

BY JESSICA ROSS
Staff Writer

CEREDO/KENOVA –Monday morning’s blue skies welcomed 217 racers from across the Tri-State and other parts of the U.S., to Ceredo-Kenova to participate in The Good Samaritan Soles 5K.

Tom Knopp, director of The Good Samaritan Center, said the race has been held on Labor Day since its inception.

“There’re no other races in the area, so we looked at it as an open date and a good day to take advantage for something like this and to draw people in,” Knopp said.

Knopp said last year’s attendance was comparable to the number of racers who participated this year.

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DRAPED ALL OVER HIM – Spring Valley’s Mason Brubeck goes up for a catch with a defender hanging on. Brubeck and the other underclassman will face a tough test this Friday when the T’Wolves face Huntington High. WCN photo by Wanda Willoughby

Spring Valley set for the “other” rivalry game

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

HUNTINGTON – There is much that has been said and discussed about the rivalry between Spring Valley and Cabell Midland in football and in other sports. While it always makes for exciting sports, the Timberwolves have another rival that is arguably just as big and is a heck of a lot closer – Huntington High School.

Spring Valley and the Highlanders square off this week at Wolves Den Stadium in the T’Wolves first big showdown of the year.

Huntington has beaten Spring Valley the last two years and in order keep expectations going in the right direction, the T’Wolves could really use a good showing. Spring Valley beat St. Albans, 42-16, to start the season.

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SPIN OUT – Tolsia’s Luke Presley spins out of a tackle last Friday. Presley will be looking to add to his and the Rebels’ offensive output in this week’s game at Mingo Central. WCN staff photo

Rebels and Miners to meet for round three

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

GLENHAYES – The Tolsia Rebels and Mingo Central Miners meet this Friday at James H. (Buck) Harless Stadium close to Red Jacket.

While the game may not be high on many “must watch” list, the importance is still there, at least for Tolsia.

A pair of close games between the schools, with the Miners squeezing out victory both times, were contributors to the Rebels’ mathematical elimination from the post season the last two years.

“Those games were big,” Rebels Coach Mike Smith said, “They’ve beaten us the last two years. “But this is a game that we know we can win. “That’s the attitude we have to take with us.”

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AND HE’S OFF – Wayne’s Cody Stiltner didn’t waste time catching a 68-yard pass from Grant Ferguson that set up the Pioneers’ first touchdown of the evening in the season opener against Tolsia. WCN staff photo

Wayne wins penalty filled game

BY JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

GLENHAYES – A win is a win even if it isn’t pretty.

The Wayne Pioneers hung on to beat county rival Tolsia Friday evening at Wilts Salmons Athletic Field, 40-18.

The game was highlighted by big plays for both teams, but a total of 22 penalties for 227 yards overshadowed much of it.

“Generally wins against Tolsia aren’t pretty,” Wayne Coach Tom Harmon said, “It sure beats the alternative. “Tolsia did some nice things out there, but they got tired like we did and that makes for some sloppy play at times.”

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CUT BACK – Tolsia’s Luke Presley led the Rebels on the ground but also made things happen defensively. The junior returned a fumble 63 yards, setting up the first Rebel touchdown of the game against Wayne. WCN staff photo

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AFTERMATH – The Tolsia Youth League concession stand burnt Wednesday evening. The league lost all of its spare equipment a cooler and all its concessions in the fire. Photo submitted

Fire doesn’t deter Tolsia youth football league

BY JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

FORT GAY – Into every life, a little rain must fall.

For the Tolsia Youth Football League, it has been almost a downfall as the rebuilding process for the league has been an uphill battle filled with adversity.

Wednesday evening, shortly before practice, the concession stand at the edge of the field caught fire due to a fault to a cooler cord.

Before the fire could be brought under control, the inside was gutted. The league lost its concessions and spare equipment stored in the building. “At least no one was hurt,” League President Robbie Conn said, “We got in there and got the fire put out, but it was too late.

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CHAMP – “Dirty” Don Pennington realized a dream Saturday by winning the WV state title. WCN photo by Michael Hupp

Wayne County pugilist wins WV state title

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

HUNTINGTON – For Wayne County native Don Pennington, Saturday night was the culmination of a young professional boxing career.

Pennington defeated Austin “Speedy” Marcum of Logan County to win the West Virginia and Appalachian Boxing Association Southwest Division middle heavyweight championship during Pullman Fight Night 4 at the Pullman Plaza Hotel.

Pennington (6-0-1) and Marcum had fought to a draw during Fight Night 2, but Pennington did not leave it to the judges in the rematch.

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Brock Adkins (9) will be one of the sophomores expected to step up this season for Spring Valley. WCN photo by Wanda Willougby

Answers coming in Timberwolves opener

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

HUNTINGTON – It has been said before that there are numerous questions swirling around the Spring Valley Timberwolves’ football team. Some will be answered this week as the T’Wolves open at home against the Saint Albans Red Dragons.

Although things are in place for Spring Valley to be a bruising and dominant team in Class AAA this year, there is speculation as to whether the combination of experience and youthfulness will prove to be a winning combination.

The T’Wolves shining unit remains the offensive line. Spring Valley has arguably one of the most imposing lines in the state with a pair of big, athletic players in Trevor Stacy and Alex Locklear.

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MAKING THE STOP – Vinson Youth Leaguer Hunter Hayton grabs on and doesn’t let go during Saturday’s youth league match-up with Fairland at Fairland High School. Photo by Larry Butcher, HD Media

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Scrimmages over, time to bring on the real deal

ALLEY OOP! – Wayne’s Cody Stiltner leaps a teammate and Logan defender as Mason Hodge looks on. Despite the wet and muddy field conditions, Stiltner and the Pioneers didn’t have any trouble moving the ball againt their opponents Friday. WCN staff photo

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Meet the Rebels

GUESTS OF HONOR – Tolsia Rebels football players Blake Rose, Jennings Holland, Tyler Stroud, and Luke Presley await being introduced to the crowd Thursday evening as part of the annual Meet the Rebels at Wilts Salmons Athletic Field. Photo submitted

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GIVING IT THEIR ALL – Tolsia Rebel kicker Cody Salmons, seen here last year diving into the endzone, joins fellow senior Tyler Senters in being two players that hope to lead Tolsia to a home playoff game this season. WCN file photo

New partnership aids Tolsia Rebel runners

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

GLENHAYES – It makes sense when you look at it. High school JROTC programs compete on courses in raider competitions that often mirror those for cross-country.

In order to better aid the cross-country team at Tolsia High School, the two have entered into a partnership that will be beneficial for both programs.

“We started working with the JROTC,” Cross-Country Coach Ric Morrone said, “We had a lot of kids on the team who were part of the JROTC and it made sense to have a combined practice. “Sergeant-Major Francis and Chief Brown have been very helpful and cooperative in making sure that this is going well.”

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STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – Long time Spring Valley cross-country Coach Dave Duncan (right) is excited about the turnout for the Timberwolves’ team this season. With 12 runners, 7 boys and 5 girls, the numbers are up compared to the last few years and gives the coach and team ample room to work and improve. Photo courtesy of Spring Valley cross-country

Big numbers for Spring Valley cross-country

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

HUNTINGTON – Long time Coach Dave Duncan is excited about this year’s cross-country season.

The Spring Valley Timberwolves boast a team of 12 this year, seven boys and five girls, a marked improvement over participants in recent years.

“I’m excited about the numbers this year,” Duncan said, “But we still have to work hard and improve in order to be able to compete. “I would have liked to have gotten a few more girls to come out but this time of year has so much competition for athletes in other sports. I’m just happy to have the kids that did decide to run.”

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GIVING IT THEIR ALL – Tolsia Rebel kicker Cody Salmons, seen here last year diving into the endzone, joins fellow senior Tyler Senters in being two players that hope to lead Tolsia to a home playoff game this season. WCN file photo

Rebels are eager for football season start

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

GLENHAYES – After back-to-back 5-5 seasons, the Tolsia Rebels are ready for the 2014 football season.

According to coaches and players, the Rebels have had their best offseason yet during Coach Mike Smith’s tenure and are hoping it will translate into a playoff berth.

Tolsia is dominated by a promising junior class, but the senior as always will look be looked to for leadership on the gridiron.

Key players Cody Salmons and Tyler Senters will see a lot of time this season as part of the offense, defense, and the special teams. The pair were freshmen during the Rebels’ 0-10 season and have a unique perspective on how Tolsia is slowly rising from that low point.

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NEW LOOK – The Wayne cross-country team are all new this year. Coach Jeannette Rutherford believes that despite their inexperience they will do well learning the sport and performing in competitive meets. WCN photo by Jason Perry

Wayne Pioneer cross-country has fresh new look

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

WAYNE – Time moves on, student-athletes graduate and teams often have to rebuild.

After the graduation of Wayne cross-country and track standout Kylie Rutherford, it can be argued that rebuilding is what is facing Coach Jeannette Rutherford this year.

Mason Adkins, Theresa Blankenship, Laura Maynard, Mayla Ray, and Katie Napier are the new face of the Pioneer cross-country team. All are new to the sport and with the exception of Adkins and Napier, who were part of the track team, new to running.

“They are all looking good,” Rutherford said, “They’re all newbies. They haven’t ran a cross-country course in their lives.”season and have a unique perspective on how Tolsia is slowly rising from that low point.

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AT THE LINE – The CK Youth League faced off with Hurricane’s league Saturday in a scrimmage. CK has won eight Turf Bowl titles in five years and after the showing last weekend, there is hope it can add to the total. Photo from CK Youth League Facebook page

Ceredo-Kenova Youth League plans for success

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

CEREDO – It had to go somewhere.

The Ceredo-Kenova Wonders won 11 football championships over the course of four decades and although the high school is no longer in existence, this tradition of excellence appears to have passed to the youth league.

C-K’s youth football league has won eight Turf Bowl championships in five years, a number that 10-year League President Tim Burgess is proud of.

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NO LAYING DOWN ON THE JOB – Vinson’s youth league has stability going for it and League President Josh Hammer hopes that will help translated to a good experience for the participants. Photo from Vinson Youth League Facebook page

Vinson youth football league is an experience

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

HUNTINGTON – The message of the Vinson Youth Football League is clear, winning or losing isn’t important, all that matters is how the game is played.

“Used to be all that mattered was getting the win,” League President Josh Hammer said, “But now, I’m seeing the big picture, what’s important.

“Winning is still an emphasis, but it’s moved down the list.” Hammer has had a lot of time to modify his views on running the league since he has been involved for 13 years, eight as the president.

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GET READY FOR IT – The Wayne Youth Football League has had a good turnout this season. While other leagues struggle for numbers, the support of the community and the high school helps ensure the young Pioneers are prepared. Photo courtesy of Pioneer Lights Photography

Young Wayne Pioneers ready for some football

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

WAYNE – Much has been said about the importance of community support for youth leagues, but if you want to see this in action all you have to do is look at the Wayne Youth Football League.

The league’s numbers, while others have to work hard for every participant, are great. For first year League President Kevin Maynard, that makes things a lot smoother.

“Things have been going really well,” he said, “We’ve kept everything as is for now. There isn’t much need to change up a lot of the way things are run.

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HUDDLE UP – The Crum Youth Football League is having another good year this season. With strong community support, the league continues to thrive in Wayne County’s smallest populated school district. WCN file photo

Support helps CYFL to thrive

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

CRUM – Times are tough economically and financial worries often spill over into local sports, but it hasn’t seemed to have affected the Crum Youth Football League.

Year after year, the youth league attracts a large number of participants in an area without a lot of local businesses and the smallest school population in Wayne County.

“We have 70 football players and 45 cheerleaders this year,” League Commissioner Becca Crum said, “For our area, that’s really good. “We’re really happy to have these numbers because league wide, enrollment is down.”

In addition to being the league commissioner, Crum is also one of a committee that oversees the entire Southern WV Midget Football League of which Crum’s League is a member.

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RACE TO THE FINISH – The Wayne Pioneers were one of three Wayne County High School teams to start practicing Monday in preparation for the new season. The new football season is eagerly awaited by fans. Many questions will be answered as the year progresses with at least two teams expected to make the playoffs . Photo courtesy of Pioneer Lights Photography

Football practice start means football season soon to begin

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

WAYNE – While many were concerned with the start of school in Wayne County Tuesday, sports fans are excited that Monday was the first day of football practice and the season will be hear before you know it.

The start of practice brings with it many unanswered questions. Will this year be the year for the Spring Valley Timberwolves? Will the Wayne Pioneers avenge their loss in the Class AA state title game last year and how will things go with the addition of a pair of AAA teams to their schedule?

And lastly, will the Tolsia Rebels finally make the playoffs after a seven year absence?

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GET READY, CAUSE HERE WE COME – The Spring Valley Timberwolves began their practice Monday afternoon. The T’Wolves are prepared for a deep run this year behind veteran leadership. WCN photo by Michael Hupp

Spring Valley football begins playoff hunt

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

HUNTINGTON – Spring Valley’s football team took to the practice field Monday to open the 2014 campaign amid hopes of another playoff run.

Spring Valley has made the playoffs the past six years under head Coach Brad Dingess and expectations for this season are no different. This year’s Timberwolves squad had 48 players minus freshmen report for the first day. Dingess says he expects that number to increase to possibly 55 to 60 over the course of the next few days.

The Wolves will be young this year with a lot of sophomore skill players mixed in with a big, experienced line. Dingess is hoping that combination of skill and experience will help compensate for the loss of Tyler Robertson after the projected starting tailback/defensive back re-tore his ACL this past spring.

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GET AROUND – This young Bison back evades pursuit Monday evening at the Buffalo Youth League practice. The Buffalo League is excited about the coming season, especially since enrollment is up from last year. WCN photo by Diane Pottorff

Bison set for stampede this season

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

KENOVA – While the older football players started their season Monday, the younger athletes have been hard at work for a week prepping for their year on the gridiron.

The Buffalo Youth Football League is excited for the season to start for a number of reasons, but perhaps most importantly the league enrollment has grown this year.

“I don’t have exact numbers yet,” League President Danny Walker said, “But we have a lot more out compared to last year. “Things are looking a lot better than they did then.”

Walker attributes the increased turnout to a mini-camp that one of his “D” team coaches conducted in June. The camp was able to get parents and kids involved early and it has translated well with more players.

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LAST SECOND – The Tolsia Lady Rebel basketball duo of Krista Maynard (left) and Savannah Winnett signed with the University of Pikeville Thursday evening in Tolsia’s library. Although after the recruiting period, the duo will be welcomed at UPike as they will work to earn a spot on the program’s varsity squad. WCN photo by Jason Perry

Better late than never for Tolsia duo Winnett and Maynard

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

GLENHAYES – Last second heroics were normal for the Tolsia Lady Rebel pair of Krista Maynard and Savannah Winnett. During their time together on the court they were involved in quite a few buzzer beaters and late game runs and picking a college proved to be the same.

Maynard and Winnett signed to continue their college and basketball career with the University of Pikeville Lady Bears Thursday evening in the Tolsia High School Library.

“We were surprised to have gotten the opportunity to sign them at this late stage,” UPike Coach Joanna McNamee said, “They’ll be a good fit, wearing orange and black. “They are great players, but they will have to work hard to earn spots on the varsity. “But with their skills and as long as they work hard, then it shouldn’t be a problem.”

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Misc

RUNNING AROUND – Tolsia quarterback Seth McMillion has had a rough couple of games as a starter. After the open week, can he right the Rebels’ offensive attack in this Friday’s contest with Herbert Hoover? Tolsia has beaten Hoover twice in the last two years. WCN staff photo

Tolsia faces off with Herbert Hoover

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

GLENHAYES – The Tolsia Rebels come back from an open week this Friday to travel to Herbert Hoover in a Cardinal Conference match-up.

For the last two years, Tolsia has beaten the Huskies in exciting come-from-behind victories.

In seasons past, the wins have provided the Rebels with a spark that brought them from winless records to flirtation with the postseason.

This year, Tolsia finds itself in much the same predicament.

The Rebels have gotten off to an 0-2 start with losses at home against Wayne and on the road against Mingo Central.

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Pioneers, Wolves fall in football rankings

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

WAYNE – Two Wayne County schools fell in this week’s West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission ratings, as well as the West Virginia MetroNews power rankings.

The AAA Spring Valley Timberwolves fell from No. 6 to No. 10 in the WVSSAC ratings and to No. 7 in the MetroNews poll after suffering a hefty 43-14 loss last Friday. The Wolves face Ripley at home this Friday.

Friday’s matchup with the visiting Vikings kicks off a five-game stretch against Ripley, Princeton, Riverside, Winfield and Nitro. Those five teams have a combined record of 3-11 including two teams (Riverside and Winfield) who have yet to pick up a win.

The Wayne Pioneers took a punishing 38-14 defeat against AAA No. 6 Point Pleasant on the road last week to drop from No. 1 to No. 3 in the MetroNews poll and fell all the way to No. 15 in the WVSSAC ratings.

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Tigers win; Wonders beat Huntington E.

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

HUNTINGTON – The Vinson Tigers football squad defeated Barboursville Thursday night 24-20 at Si Dean Field in a junior varsity/varsity game.

Vinson’s Trigger Johnson threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Travis Adams with 2:49 left in the game. Adams then took the jet sweep into the endzone for the two-point conversion, giving the Tigers the 24-20 win.

Barboursville took a 14-8 lead into the locker room at halftime – but Kaiden Garret took the ball 47-yards on Vinson’s first play from scrimmage in the second half before stepping out on the three-yard line. Garret then took the hand-off in for the score and ran the two-point conversion to give the Tigers a 16-14 lead.

Barboursville battled back on the next drive as quarterback Drew Elkins hit Chase McFeely with an 11-yard touchdown pass that gave the Pirates their last lead of the evening at 20-16.

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Tigers down Vikings in opener

Staff Report

HUNTINGTON – The Vinson Middle School girls’ volleyball team downed Fort Gay, 2-1, Wednesday evening in a close home opening win.

The Tigers came out fast in the opening set taking an early 6-3 lead, but the Vikings were able to scratch back into the game, tying the set at 8-8 and 10-10 before Vinson widened the gap.

The Tigers took the first set, 25-14.The Vikings jumped out to a 10-4 lead on the strength of well-placed serves and aggressive play during volleys at the net.
But miscues by Fort Gay enabled Vinson to gain impetus and the

Tigers gradually fought back, but were still behind 21-15.

Vinson won a long exchange at the net to make the score 21-16 and it appeared to spark the Tigers.Vinson was able to fight back, making the score 24-21.

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RUMBLING AND STUMBLING – Wayne’s Mason Hodge has amassed impressive numbers on the ground so far this season. Point Pleasant will have to find a way to deal with the bruising running back if it wants to compete with the Pioneers this Friday. WCN staff photo

Despite miscues, Wayne Big Three came through

 

By RON FERGUSON
Managing Editor

Even though Wayne’s Big Three turned the ball over four times Friday night, Grant Ferguson, Mason Hodge and Cody Stiltner made enough big plays in crucial situations to give the Pioneers a hard-fought 20-14 win at Sissonville’s Joe Sawyer Stadium.

“This game was won by people who played Wayne football in years past,” Coach Tom Harmon said after the game. “Some of their spirit showed up in some of our current players – not all of our current players…those guys who played for and expected to win.”

Despite having a subpar night offensively, Ferguson’s pass defense proved a thorn in the Indians’ side.

Ferguson was only 4-10 for 56 yards. He also had an interception on the third play of the game. One pass was a screen to Hodge that went for 22 yards and a touchdown early in the second quarter. In the first period he completed a lateral to Stiltner for a 77-yard score.

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Big win moves Valley up in poll

 

BY MICAHEL HUPP
Staff writer

HUNTINGTON – The Spring Valley Timberwolves’ double-overtime win against Huntington High last Friday forced voters to take notice this week.

The Timberwolves moved up from No. 10 last week to No. 6 in the WV MetroNews AAA Power Rankings. The Wolves also moved up to No. 6 from No. 9 in the Charleston Daily Mail Poll.

Spring Valley plays South Charleston this Friday in another big matchup of undefeated Mountain State Athletic Conference foes. The Black Eagles will come into Friday’s game ranked No. 3 in both polls.

The Cabell Midland Knights moved to No. 5 in the Daily Mail rankings and No. 8 in the MetroNews poll. The Wolves will face Midland later this season.

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HARD TO TACKLE – Wayne’s Mason Hodge steps out of the defender’s grasp on the way to a big first down in the first half of a game at Sissonville Friday night. WCN staff photo

Pioneers fight off Indian ambush

 

By RON FERGUSON
Managing Editor

SISSONVILLE –Wayne turned the ball over four times Friday night, three in the first half, but made key plays when it counted to escape a hot, muggy Joe Sawyer Stadium with a hard-fought 20-14 win over a fired up Sissonville team desperate to avenge its only two losses last year.

The No. 1 Pioneers at times were dominant, at other times dominated, by the No. 5 Indians.

But late in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, different Pioneers stepped into the breach to help the visitors hang on for the win.

“Like I told our kids after the game,” Pioneer Coach Tom Harmon said, “This game was won by people who played Wayne football in years past. Some of their spirit showed up in some of our current players - not all of our current players… those guys who played for and expected to win.”

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Miners bury Rebels with big first half

 

Staff Report

DELBARTON – For the last two years, the games between the Tolsia Rebels and Mingo Central Miners have been close.

Friday night at James H. (Buck) Harless Stadium in Delbarton, the Miners weren’t going to trust to drama as they out scored Tolsia 32-8 in the first half on the way to a 48-8 win.

Mingo Central’s nine-play 60-yard second drive was capped by Chance Lester following fullback Joe Hunt into the endzone for a six-yard touchdown.

The Rebels couldn’t answer.

As was the case for most of the night, Tolsia’s offense couldn’t gain any momentum and punted the ball back on its next drive.

The Miners again rode the legs of Lester, Chase Justice, and Hunt down the field 55 yards before Hunt punched it in and following the point after kick the score was 14-0.

Tolsia appeared to be in the process of mounting a drive as the first quarter wound down before the Mingo Central defense forced a fumble.

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Bears’ early lead ruins Tiger opener

 

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

HUNTINGTON – Score early and score often was the motto for Huntington East Middle School’s football team in the middle school season opener.

A pair of first quarter scoring punt returns and a rushing touchdown by the Bears put the visiting Vinson Tigers in an early 20-0 first-quarter deficit that the visiting squad could not overcome during the eventual 39-6 loss at Bob Sang Stadium Thursday night.

The Bears jumped out to the early lead with a 32-yard punt return from Tyree Harden, then followed up on Vinson’s next offensive possession with another score on a 36-yard punt return from Chianti Longfellow.

Vinson then fumbled the ball on a bad snap that set up a five-yard touchdown run from Bears quarterback Michael Duddy. Harden added the two-point conversion for the 20-0 lead with 1:55 left in the first quarter.

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WATCH OUT – Grant Ferguson will look to continue his hot play this Friday at Sissonville. WCN staff photo

Pioneers and Indians to fight Friday in Cardinal Conference skirmish

 

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

WAYNE – Pioneers and Indians facing off has been a familiar sight since the days of the frontier. It continues into the present day when Wayne goes on the road to visit Cardinal Conference foe Sissonville this Friday.

The last few times these teams have met on the gridiron have been memorable contests particularly when the Pioneers and Indians met in the playoff quarterfinals last year at Pioneer Field in what many dubbed the “Mud Bowl.”

Wayne handily buried Sissonville in an offensive and defensive landslide with a final 48-7 score.

“Sissonville has known defeat only from us for a year now,” Pioneer Coach Tom Harmon said, “I’m sure they’re excited and ready for us.

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Spring Valley’s Tyler Brown (4) looks for running room against St. Albans on Friday at Spring Valley High School. Brown accumulated 260 of his teams 500 total yards of offense and was 10 of 15 for 151 yards through the air and carried 11 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Photo by Kerry Carter

Brown makes statement in opener

 

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

HUNTINGTON – Spring Valley quarterback Tyler Brown accounted for four touchdowns in the Wolves’ 42-16 season opening win against visiting St. Albans Friday night.

The three-year starter lived up to preseason hype, accumulating 260 of his teams 500 total yards of offense on the night. Brown was 10 of 15 for 151 yards through the air and carried 11 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns.

Brown was a calming factor in the huddle for the Wolves who picked up the win despite three turnovers and three personal foul penalties – along with multiple sophomores starting at the skill positions.

“These sophomores stepped up in a really tough situation tonight. I just tried talking them up in the huddle and kept everyone positive,:” the senior signal caller said.

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A CHANGE OF PACE – Former SVHS athlete Amber Stewart has changed a few things since her time at WV Wesleyan and as a heptathlon champ, it has paid off. Photo submitted

Change is good for former SVHS athlete

 

BY JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

BUCKHANNON – A lot can happen in four years of college. Plans made can change often.

Former Spring Valley standout Amber Stewart has made and seen a number of changes since her time as a freshman at West Virginia Wesleyan.

“Right now is a good time to make those changes,” she said, “It’s part of college.”

Starting her junior year, Stewart has changed from running cross country and track to now concentrating on track. She has also gone from majoring in engineering to chemistry.

“I want to go into the medical field,” Stewart said, “I’m not exactly sure what type of medicine, but working toward the first step is important.”

While the athlete still has at least two more years before seeing the evidence of this change, she has already seen the fruits of dropping one sport.

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TAYLOR STACY

Stacy hopes to rebound

 

BY JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

BUCKHANNON – When a student-athlete starts college, the possibilities are endless for the next four years. They don’t think of negatives, only the positives.

Former Spring Valley standout Taylor Stacy was doing well as part of the men’s cross-country and track team at West Virginia Wesleyan. He had gained a spot in the top seven qualifiers for the conference and by his sophomore year was the number two runner on the team.

But then he suffered a stress fracture midway through the season and as he recovered in time for track, was struck by illness and wasn’t able to perform to where he and the team were accustomed.

As a result he was redshirted in track.

“As a freshman I contributed to the team,” Stacy said, “I ended up running a lot faster than any of the coaches anticipated.

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PIVOTAL – Grant Ferguson will be key to Friday’s season opening football game. WCN staff photo

Rebels and Pioneers kick off season

 

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

GLENHAYES – The storied rivalry between the Tolsia Rebels and Wayne Pioneers renews for the 26th time this Friday in both teams’ football season opener at Wilts Salmons Athletic Field.

In its long history, the competition between the teams has produced many great stories for fans and players as well as more than its share of “stranger than fiction” moments.

Starting in 1990, Tolsia won seven of the first eight games in the series.

Since then things have become more and more lopsided as Wayne, under Head Coach Tom Harmon, has tallied a record of 16-9 in the annual matchup.

The last time the Rebels beat the Pioneers was in a 2006 regular season game, 30-19.

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5K race good for your soles – and soul

 

By JESSICA ROSS
Staff Writer

CEREDO/KENOVA – The Good Samaritan Center will host the Good Samaritan Soles 5K Run/Walk 8:30 a.m. September 1 in Ceredo and Kenova.

All the proceeds from the race will go to The Good Samaritan Center.

The 5K will begin at the C-K Little League’s Mitch Stadium. The stadium is located in Ceredo and is between the railroad tracks and Foodfair in the Ceredo Plaza. Racers may park in the Ceredo Plaza parking lot.

The race begins at the stadium and will travel through parts of Ceredo and Kenova. The route is considered fast and flat, and will loop back to end at the stadium where the race began.o end their longtime friendship.

For those who register by Monday, registration is $20. Registration from Tuesday to race day is $25.

Registration forms can be picked up at Ceredo Town Hall, Kenova City Hall, C-K Florist and the C-K Memorial Library.

The forms are also available online at www.gssoles5k.com.

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JUMP BALL – Brock Adkins and the Wheeling Park defender go up for a pass Saturday. Although the defense was tight, Adkins was able to pull in the ball for Spring Valley. WCN photo by Wanda Willoughby

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PUNISHING – Fans and opponents will get a chance for a first look at Spring Valley’s big offensive line as the T’Wolves will scrimmage Wheeling Park and Parkersburg in the next two weeks to tune up before the season starts Friday August 29 at home. WCN file photo

Wolves hit road for summer scrimmages

 

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

HUNTINGTON – The Spring Valley Timberwolves football program may or may not have all the kinks worked out for the season opener against St. Albans later this month.

But one thing is for sure – they will be road tested.

The Wolves will hit the road the next two weekends with a nearly five-hour drive to Wheeling today to face Wheeling Park for the team’s first scrimmage. The navy and white will then head to Charleston to face Parkersburg during August 23’s Mountain State Athletic Conference Grid-o-Rama at University of Charleston Stadium.

So why the early travel?

Head coach Brad Dingess said that longtime scrimmage partner Russell (KY) High School decided to end their longtime friendship.

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Cam Roam

Former gridiron standout takes over Tigers

 

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

HUNTINGTON – A familiar face will walk the sidelines for the Vinson Middle School football team this season.

Former Vinson Middle and Spring Valley signal caller, Cam Roam, is the new head coach of the Tigers football team. Roam returns to coach a program that helped groom him into becoming SVHS’s all-time leading passer.

“I really did not expect to become the head coach. Coach (Brad) Dingess (Spring Valley head football coach) texted me and said the position was open. I always wanted to get back into the game. I made plays up when I was six, so it’s my way of getting back into it,” Roam said.

The former standout graduated in 2011 and said he is bringing a winning attitude to the Tigers’ program. He said he told his players that if they did not expect to win, then they needed to hit the door at the first team meeting.

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Wonders building on basics

 

CEREDO – Teaching the basics in the game of football is the philosophy of the Ceredo-Kenova Youth League.

“We hope to be better at the end of the season than we were at the beginning of the season,” President Tim Burgess said.

For the past five years, a C-K Youth League teams have won eight Turf Bowl championships and Burgess hopes they can bring home another. “It is an uphill challenge to find a team to compete against,” he said. “We have to work to compete for the championship.”

Burgess said the teams are as good as their next opponent and that every competitor is their next game.

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Kenova boxers, gym continue growth together

 

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

KENOVA – Ryan Browning never thought his Elite Sports Academy would be a hub for local boxing when he opened the Kenova gymnasium more than a year ago.

Browning envisioned a gym where he could promote fitness, train local athletes and help people get healthy – but a chance conversation after a boxing match marginally changed that plan.

Elite is now home to “Team Dirty and Nasty” boxing making the gym the official training spot for Wayne County boxers “Dirty” Don Pennington and “Nasty” Nate Butcher.

Both are Spring Valley graduates, friends and former classmates of Browning. According to Browning, it was that friendship that led him to get into the world of boxing.

“I was in the seats watching Don’s second pro fight. Afterwards he asked me to train him. His reasoning was he and I always talked boxing. I love to watch the ‘sweet science,’ watch other boxers styles, then bring that to the guys,” Browning said.

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REMEMBERING DAYS GONE BY – Spring Valley High School science teacher and assistant football coach Greg Page wrote a book recently about the story that connects the 1992 Buffalo High School Class AA football title with Marshall’s first ever national title in the same year. In the book, Page details Wayne County football as well as its history. He also talks about overcoming adversity and dealing with life’s challenges. Photo from Amazon.com

Spring Valley coach writes book

 

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

HUNTINGTON – Wayne County is rich in history and tradition, especially when it comes to athletics and the sport of football.

Whether it is the dynasty at Ceredo-Kenova established by Coach Carl Ward and Coach Dale Craycraft, the state championships won by Vinson High School in the 1950’s, or the Wayne Pioneers of the last decade, Wayne County knows its football.

That is the point that Spring Valley Timberwolves assistant football Coach Greg Page makes in his recently published book THE TALE OF TWO CHAMPIONS.

The book details the 1992 football championship season of Buffalo High School when it defeated Magnolia, 7-3, for its only Class AA title and how it intertwined with Marshall University’s first national championship season.

“I lived a lot of it,” Page said, “But for many details I used the archives at the Wayne County News for a lot of my research.”

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OLDER AND WISER – Tolsia’s Blake Rose started as quarterback for almost his entire sopomore season until an injury sidelined him at the end of last season. Rose believes that this year witll be the year that the Rebels surprise a lot of people. WCN file photo

Rose set to lead Rebels this season

 

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

GLENNHAYES – With three come-from-behind victories as a quarterback, Tolsia’s Blake Rose has shown a knack for drama.

“To get a win, it depends on so many things,” the junior said, “It isn’t just me.
“The line has to block, players have got to catch the ball, there is a lot going on.”

Three years ago, the Rebels posted a 0-10 season and since that time have been trying to find their way back to the program’s former glory. The team has come close, narrowly missing the playoffs for two straight years.

“We were so close,” the junior said, “What hurt us last season was that it took so long for our offense to start clicking. “That can’t happen and expect to win. It was disappointing because we were expected to finish 8-2 or 7-3.”

“But this year, we’ve been working together well and I think we’re going to surprise some people.

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THEY HAVE THE HEART – The Tolsia Youth League is hoping to raise coomunity awareness and support to increase league enrollment. With an almost entirely new set of officers to run things, it appears that things are on the right track for improvement. WCN file photo

Big plans and hopes for the TYFL

 

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

FORT GAY – It’s been a tough few years for the Tolsia Youth Football League in the Fort Gay area, but with an almost completely new governing body, it looks like things might be on the right track for the struggling league.

Small enrollment numbers have caused some problems with the league, but it seems to have been a big issue for the new management from the beginning of this year.

“I don’t know where the rumors started,” League President Robbie Conn said, “But there were rumors going around that we had folded as a league.

“That isn’t true. We never folded. We have always done what we can for athletics for the community, be it football, basketball, and hopefully soon, baseball.”

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GUEST SPEAKER – Cecil Fletcher was the special guest speaker Friday evening at the C-K Sports Weekend banquet. Fletcher was a member of the coaching staff of the ‘94 C-K Wonders. WCN photo by Michael Hupp

C-K banquet honors former coaches

 

BY MICHAEL HUPP
Staff writer

KENOVA – Wonders never cease and for one night a year, we all remember why.

Friends, family and members of the Ceredo-Kenova community attended the 17th Annual Ceredo-Kenova Sports Weekend Celebration Friday night. The banquet kicks off the weekend that culminates with the Eric Sparks Memorial Golf Tournament at the Silo Golf Course in Lavalette.

As it has since the beginning, the proceeds of the banquet and the golf tournament go to benefit the Eric Sparks Memorial Scholarship, C-K youth football, C-K Buddy Basketball, C-K Babe Ruth and C-K Little League.

Each year the community honors a guest as well as a featured guest speaker for the Friday night kickoff.

This year’s guest of honor was former C-K athlete and Coach Barry Scragg. Guest speaker was former Marshall University standout football player and assistant coach of the undefeated 1994 C-K Wonder state champion football team.

Bill Cornwell emceed the event and began the evening talking about the 1994 team Fletcher helped coach. Cornwell described the team in one word – dominant.

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BIG EXPECTATIONS – Brooke Heck is one of the seniors who will be leading the SVHS Lady Wolves volleyball team this season. After winning a state title her freshman year, the Wolves have performed well but missed the mark the last two seasons. The seniors hope to change that. WCN file photo

Spring Valley seniors look for redemption

 

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

HUNTINGTON – What’s that old saying about bridesmaids?

Posting spectacular records in the last two seasons only to be eliminated from the second round of the state tournament each time, it looks at first, that the Spring Valley Lady Wolves volleyball team are frequent bridesmaids. But you’d be wrong to make that assumption.

The Wolves won the Class AAA state championship three years ago, but hasn’t made it over the “hump” in subsequent trips to the tournament.

Last year’s regular season record for Spring Valley was 57-3-3 with six victories against Greenbrier East, but the seventh time the two programs met resulted in Greenbrier moving on in the state tournament.

This season’s seniors, Brooke Heck, Macey Porter, and Kassidy Lemons, realize that there is a lot of pressure to succeed on their shoulders.

“I feel the pressure,” Heck said, “Last year we made it to State only to get beaten.

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Ceredo-Kenova sports have storied tradition

 

By RON FERGUSON
Managing Editor

Ceredo-Kenova. Sports.Championships.

Those three words have come to symbolize a community that, a few short years from now, will have only one elementary and one middle school.

No more high school.

No more state championships, unless the Little League program manages another.
Eleven times the Wonders have won a state football title. Two basketball teams have brought home the title, two track titles and one in baseball.

Coaches such as Carl Ward and the late Dale Craycraft, for whom the football stadium now hidden by relocatable classrooms in Kenova is named, are just a few who have led C-K teams. Both men were associated with the football, basketball and track champions.

Barry Scragg and Don Money also were major players in some of the titles. They also played.

This week’s C-K Sports Weekend Celebration will honor Scragg and the last team to win a football title, the 1994 team, along with featured speaker Cecil Fletcher who coached alongside Money (head coach of the ’94 champs) years, both at C-K and following the merger with Buffalo and Vinson, with Money at Spring Valley for several years.

Fletcher, a standout linebacker at Marshall, played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1989-91 and spent more time in the World League of American Football (Europe).

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ON THE MARK – Prichard resident and Spring Valley student Austin Blake (shown last year), is continuing to perform at a high level in the IBO archery competitions he attends. WCN file photo

Local archer aiming high

 

Staff Report

PRICHARD – Prichard resident and Spring Valley student Austin Blake gained recognition last year for his prowess with a bow and arrow.

The archer has shown that another year older and added experience continues to pay off as he has performed well in International Bowhunting Organization events.

Blake moved into the Youth Male Release (YMR) 15-17 year-old division this year and picked up where he left off last year after placing second in the in the IBO’s World Championship as part of the 13-14 year-old grouping.

The teenage bowman kicked off his season in March with a win at the Winter Nationals in Park City, Ky. Blake next competed in the Spring Nationals in Pipestem, W.Va., but took sixth place, the first time he ever finished below fifth.

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HONORED – Educator and coach, Barry Scragg, will be the special honored guest at this year’s C-K Sports Weekend banquet. WCN file photo

Coaching is a ‘Wonder’ful job to have

 

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

KENOVA – If a person does a job they enjoy, then it isn’t really work. That has been the case for Coach Barry Scragg throughout his 44-year career.

Scragg will be recognized at next weekend’s Ceredo-Kenova Sports Weekend banquet Friday evening as the special honored guest. The honor puts him in illustrious company as legendary coaches Carl Ward and Dale Craycraft are among those that have been honored in the past.

“I am thrilled to have been asked,” Scragg said, “It’s humbling and an honor to be asked to do this.

“I never thought for a second that I would ever be considered.”

As far as whether the long-time coach and educator thinks he is deserving of being mentioned in the same conversation with the iconic coaches of C-K’s glory days, Scragg is deferential.

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Fletcher coming home to C-K for honor

 

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

KENOVA – It has been talked about and many hold it as common knowledge that there is something special about the Ceredo-Kenova community.

Cecil Fletcher has experienced it and knows there is truth in the belief.

Fletcher was a standout football player for the Marshall Thundering Herd in the 1980s and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame two years ago. The recognition would be a great honor for anyone, but what makes Fletcher special, at least in Wayne County is his ties to the C-K Wonders.

Fletcher was a member of the coaching staff of the 1994 Class A state football champion Wonders and coached for a time at Spring Valley High School. He will be this year’s guest speaker at the annual C-K Sports Weekend.

“I was a little shocked to be asked,” Fletcher said, “I had known about it and had been approached before about speaking at the event but always down played it because I’m not a very good public speaker.

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WASTING NO TIME – A large electronic billboard in Cleveland welcomes back NBA basketball star LeBron James Friday an hour after he announced he would return to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years with the Miami Heat. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

The prodigal son has returned - big deal

 

By JASON PERRY
Sports Writer

NOTE: The following is the opinion of the writer. Under no circumstances does it reflect the thoughts or beliefs held by the Wayne County News.

WAYNE – So, by now every sports fan in the country, and very probably the world, has heard the big news – Lebron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And if you’re like me, you couldn’t care less.

The internet and news outlets are abuzz with comments, tweets, memes, and commentary on what has been dubbed “the reverse decision.”

James announced his decision on national television in 2010 to leave Ohio, announcing to the world that he would be “taking my talents to South Beach.”

Now, four years and two championships later, “King” James is coming back much to the excitement of the Cavalier front office and more than a few bandwagon riders.

Is this a change in heart? Is Lebron trying to rectify his mistake? That would be what he probably wants fans to think. In an interview with Sports Illustrated.com Friday, he talked about realizing how important Northeast Ohio is to him and that it is bigger than basketball. It just took him four years to understand this.

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