After a breakout sophomore year in 2010, however, Kirby saw his carries and role on offense decline in Christian's final year with the team.
When first-year Coach Steve Stoffel Jr. came to SA this season he brought with him a zone-read, spread offense that highlighted a short passing game, and the Dragons threw the ball more in 2012 than they had in the previous three years combined. Nevertheless, by the end of the season it was Kirby who stood out as the team's go-to offensive weapon.
Ethan Clark from Nitro (2-7) is another top-flight performer who will be spending most of November prepping for basketball. After suffering a season-ending knee injury early in the 2011 season, Clark rebounded to lead the Wildcats with 44 catches for 906 yards and four TDs. He led the Kanawha Valley in receiving yardage for much of the season.
Clark got stiff competition for the receiving lead from week to week from Riverside senior Marcus Reed. The Daily Mail's Kanawha Valley Rookie of the Year in basketball in 2010, Reed joined the Warriors (1-8) football program last summer and has forged an impressive pass-catch combo with senior quarterback Trevor Rumberg. Reed has 40 catches for 818 yards and seven TDs, while Rumberg has thrown for 1,513 yards and 11 scores.
As evidenced by Ravenswood senior linebacker Brad Titus, the phenomenon is not restricted to the Charleston area.
The Red Devils (2-7) won their first two games under first-year Coach Mick Price, but after a blowout loss to Wayne in Week 4, the team has yet to re-enter the win column.
Along the way, however, Titus has brought a bright end to a bright career. A key member of Ravenswood's 2010 team that finished as the Class AA runner-up, Titus broke the historic program's career tackles record this season, and has 357 entering the team's season finale Friday at home against Ripley.
In a loss last week at St. Marys, Titus registered 23 tackles, tying Joe Jelich's single-game record at the school.
With 10 tackles against the Vikings, Titus will break the school's season tackles record, which stands at 148. He currently has 138 on the year.
All-State teams, which will be released beginning with Class A on Dec. 11, are commonly filled with playoff performers. Quite often, however, one has to look deeper and pay attention longer in order to appreciate the efforts of the best players everywhere.
The above-named players may or may not find their names among the first team of any All-State list. In fact, the odds are that some of them won't. But as the season nears its end and another year of football is put into the books, they have a right to know their efforts were appreciated. It's what keeps people like me coming back for more year after year.