CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Most who reside outside of North Central West Virginia don't know the name Josiah Nuse.
It's understandable. After all, Nuse is a running back at Preston High School. The Knights last qualified for the Class AAA playoffs in 2008, and only reached the postseason one other time in school history - a 1995 first-round loss to Brooke.
Preston isn't going to make a playoff showing this season, either. The Knights dropped to 3-5 last week with a 28-6 home loss to University (8-1) in which the hosts trailed just 7-0 at halftime.
Nuse is a name worth remembering, however. The 5-foot-7, 152-pound junior has come out of nowhere - which is somewhere near Terra Alta, I believe - this season to rush for 1,020 yards on just 91 carries, an average of 11.2 yards per carry. He's also scored 16 touchdowns, which is good enough to put him in a tie for the No. 5 slot among Class AAA scoring leaders, with 106 points.
Point Pleasant's Chase Walton also has 106 points, as the Big Blacks' senior leader broke his school's record for career touchdowns last week in a rout of Shady Spring.
Walton will have his opportunity to impress a statewide audience once the playoffs begin Nov. 15. The Big Blacks are 8-0 and will almost assuredly host at least one playoff game.
Nuse and others like him, however, begin offseason training in about 11 days.
This season, for the first time that saw a finished product presented for public consumption, the staff at the Daily Mail has compiled a list of statewide statistical leaders for use with the new Charleston Newspapers website wvhuddle.com. There has not been a week where 100 percent of the state's 117 football-playing schools have submitted their statistics, but we have typically been near the 80 percent threshold.
Contrasted to maxpreps.com, that's a solid number. About 15 schools - 12.8 percent of the state's teams - update their statistics on MaxPreps - self-titled as "America's source for high school sports" each week. That number is about 33 percent higher in the first weeks of the season, but as teams' fortunes begin to take a turn for the worse, so too does teams' attention to things like updating a web site with their stats.
Today isn't about business competition or what it means to our bottom line, however. It's about Nuse and players like him.
For instance, Greenbrier East hasn't reached the playoffs since 1998, and while the Spartans are 5-4 they need a win over Oak Hill (6-2) and some help to get into this year's field. Yet, running back Dalton Cline - another junior - is currently third on the Class AAA rushing list with 1,181 yards.