Prep football: Junior could play in last game at Roane
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. - Friday night's Class AA first round playoff game between No. 12 seed Roane County and No. 5 seed Bluefield will serve as a farewell of sorts for Raiders quarterback Hunter Bradley.
The junior, who has thrown for 1,024 yards and is second on the team with 735 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, will soon leave the Spencer-based school and enroll at Wahama, Raiders Coach Paul Burdette said Sunday.
Bradley is a 6-foot-3, 165-pound junior who is also a standout in basketball. Burdette said the pending divorce of his parents will take the quarterback to Mason County at the end of the Raiders' playoff run.
"He's been the heart and soul of what we've done," said Burdette, who is in his second year of coaching the Raiders (6-4).
In Burdette's first season, Roane County landed its first home playoff game behind the strength of All-State quarterback Dylan Cottrell. Burdette said Bradley's development was a surprise of sorts.
"Obviously, when you lose Dylan you're losing a huge weapon and a dual-threat quarterback. We thought coming in that Hunter was a better passer, but we didn't know about the running part," Burdette said.
"He's been a big deal for us, and a great leader too, especially for being a junior."
Burdette said Bradley's mother still lives in the Spencer area, and that the possibility remains that he will be back in a Roane County uniform in 2013. For now, however, the team leader appears on his way out.
"We just want what's best for him and for him to be happy," Burdette said. "We don't know what that's going to be."
The Raiders visit Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield at 7:30 p.m. Friday to take on a Beavers (8-2) team that rolled through the regular season before taking a 45-14 loss at top-seeded Wayne in the last week of the regular season.
* * *BRUCE CAREY said his first Robert C. Byrd team will get to see how well the Clarksburg community has rallied around its success when the Eagles play host to Braxton County on Saturday night.
"We haven't played a home game in a month," Carey said. "Our last three games of the regular season were on the road, so it's hard to say right now how excited people in town are about the team."
Carey retired from coaching following the 2009 season in order to recover from a spinal aneurysm he suffered the previous winter while coach at Bridgeport. He returned to the profession - he still teaches driver's education in Harrison County - this year. The Eagles (9-1) earned the No. 4 seed for the Class AA playoffs in their first year in the division.
The last home game for Byrd was a 34-6 win over East Fairmont on Oct. 5.
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A RASH of injuries in 2011 helped pave the way for Keyser's success in 2012. The Golden Tornado (9-1) are the No. 2 seed, and play host to 15th-seeded Mingo Central (5-5) on Friday.
"We started out with a lot of seniors last year but then had a bunch of injuries so it gave a lot of younger kids more playing time than we expected," Keyser Coach and former West Virginia University guard Sean Biser said.
Keyser was 7-5 in 2011 and lost to state champion Wayne in the quarterfinals 38-8.
"Really I don't know if we're on schedule or ahead of schedule. We only have a few seniors on the team, but we're playing really well."
The Golden Tornado operates in the wing-T offense, but it's the team defense that has stood out, led by junior linebacker Danny Fife (5-9, 220).
"He's been starting since his freshman year. We were playing Wayne (in a regular season game) and we had some seniors in there that weren't getting the job done," Biser said. "We put Danny in and he's not come out since. He's a good ballplayer. He doesn't look like very much but he's a heck of a player."
* * *BRIDGEPORT'S FIRST foray into the Class AA playoffs since moving to Class AAA in 2004 is marked by some trepidation from second-year Coach Josh Nicewarner.
"If we figure out who we are we should be all right, but I've never been part of a team at Bridgeport that was so up one week and not the next," said Nicewarner, whose team reached the Class AAA playoff semifinals in 2011 before falling to George Washington.
In 2012, the Indians returned All-State running back Brett Hathaway to the fold but were forced to rebuild the bulk of their offensive and defensive lines. Hathaway, a senior, missed some time to injury in the regular season and has rushed for 910 yards and nine touchdowns.
The team took an uncharacteristic 25-0 loss at No. 2 seed Keyser in its final regular-season game on Oct. 26. The Indians (7-2) were scheduled to play Preston last week, but the snow resulting from Hurricane Sandy caused the cancellation of that game.
"We need to play," Nicewarner said. "We need to get back onto the field in a bad way."
The Indians have the No. 3 seed, and play host to No. 14 seed River View (6-4) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
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WYOMING EAST (7-3) visits No. 7 Scott (7-3) on Friday in the Warriors' first playoff appearance since 2008 (See story, page 1B).
The school's cross-county rival, Westside, missed out on a playoff spot when the Renegades (5-5) lost at No. 14 seed River View last weekend in their regular-season finale.
Westside opened in 2003, and the schools have combined for eight playoff appearances since. Coincidentally, they have never reached the playoffs in the same season.