www.charlestondailymail.com Prep Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Wasonga, a former high school football star, found dead http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140715/DM03/140719604 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140715/DM03/140719604 Tue, 15 Jul 2014 14:41:21 -0400

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. - Police in Point Pleasant say former high school football standout Allan Wasonga has been found dead.

Police say in a statement that officers responding to a call found the 21-year-old Wasonga's body Monday in a Point Pleasant apartment. The body was sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy, and Point Pleasant police have started an investigation.

Wasonga was a standout at Point Pleasant High before transferring to Parkersburg High.

As a junior in 2009, Wasonga rushed for 2,300 yards and 28 touchdowns and finished second in the voting for the Kennedy Award, given to the top high school player in West Virginia.

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PREP BASKETBALL: Longtime Charleston Catholic assistant takes place as head coach http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140703/DM03/140709694 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140703/DM03/140709694 Thu, 3 Jul 2014 21:28:51 -0400 By Michael Dailey CHARLESTON, W.Va. - When Charleston Catholic boys basketball coach Bill McClanahan stepped down following the 2013-14 season, it ended a remarkable 13-year run in which the Irish became one of the premier programs in West Virginia.

In those 13 years, the Irish qualified for 10 state tournaments, winning three titles, as McClanahan became the winningest coach in school history.

But McClanahan's departure also opened the door for long-time Irish assistant Matt Morrison, who was named to replace his mentor shortly after the Irish bowed out of the Class A title game in a double-overtime loss to Wheeling Central.

"Coach McClanahan built a heck of a program when he was here," Morrison said. "I'm proud and thankful that I got to be a part of that and I hope to continue his legacy and success.

"Following a legend will be tough, but I feel like I'm prepared because of the things that I learned from him along the way."

Morrison got his first taste of head coaching action as the Irish recently completed the three-week summer instructional period. Morrison liked what he saw, but knows there is still plenty of work to do in an effort to replace five senior departures from last season's team.

"We have a group that will work hard," said Morrison, an Irish assistant since the 2005-06 season. "These guys have been patiently waiting their turn as they worked their way through the program.

"I've got a group of seniors and juniors, and a few underclassmen, that are hungry and anxious to get after it next year. That's the most exciting thing for us. We've all waited for our time and we're looking forward to it.

"They certainly have a lot of pride in the program. Regardless of what people outside of those walls think, we've had a long run and a great history over the last ten to twelve years and we have a proud group of players that are ready to prove their worth."

The on-the-court transition for Morrison has been a fairly smooth, but the former Valley High standout is still settling in as the leader of the program.

"For me it's a smoother transition because of my familiarity with the kids and the program," Morrison said. "However, the biggest thing for me is being the head coach comes with a lot more responsibility.

"That's something I'm still getting used to."

Morrison also used the summer practice period to allow familiarization between his players and a pair of assistant coaches that are new to the program.

Former Riverside girls coach Scott Garretson will assist Morrison, as will former Herbert Hoover and WVU Tech basketball player Ben Shannon.

A third assistant, former Catholic middle school coach Josh Shindel, will also help with the coaching transition.

"He's my school connection," Morrison said of Shindel. "The rest of us aren't teachers, so it's good to have him in the school and he really knows the kids because he had them in middle school the last few years.

"The most important thing about these last three weeks is that I wanted to make sure that my assistant coaches got a chance to come in and get to know the kids and to let the kids get to know the coaches. It's been a great three weeks from that aspect, that's for sure."

The Irish will return only four players with any kind of varsity experience.

Those players, Hayden McCarty, Roger Burdette, Sam McKown and Ben Fairless will be counted on for leadership as the program transitions to Morrison's coaching style.

"Right now we're a work in progress," Morrison said. "As far as what I envision, good defense will always be a big part of our program and just trying to be efficient on offense by taking care of the basketball.

"I don't know what type of style we'll play yet, but I do think we're going to be a little deeper than I thought, based on what I saw these last three weeks. We've got a few numbers, and we have smart, hard working kids."

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PREP FOOTBALL: Capital adds QB coach from Martinsburg http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140702/DM03/140709797 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140702/DM03/140709797 Wed, 2 Jul 2014 22:09:28 -0400 By Tom Bragg Before Capital sophomore quarterback Tyrhee Pratt could take a snap in last season's Class AAA semifinal playoff game at Martinsburg, the Cougars were behind 14-0 and the outcome looked bleak going against the three-time defending state champions.

Capital matched Martinsburg touchdown for touchdown during the game's final three quarters, eventually losing 35-21, but Pratt's play particularly impressed one member of the Bulldogs' coaching staff.

Jarrod Furgason was Martinsburg's quarterbacks coach for the last three of the school's current streak of four Class AAA state championships, and in that time helped mold Brandon Ashenfelter, Cookie Clinton and Malik Watkins into all-state quarterbacks. Furgason has since moved to the Kanawha Valley with his wife, new Charleston Catholic volleyball coach Courtney Furgason, and and has a new protege in Pratt.

"For a sophomore on the road at the three-time defending state champion and being down 14 before he stepped on the field to lead them back," Furgason said. "That showed me a lot."

Now that Furgason had the opportunity this summer to work with Pratt rather than against him, the praise keeps coming.

"As far as rising juniors go, he's as good as I've seen," Furgason said.

That high regard carries some weight coming from Furgason. After his prep playing career at Fairmont Senior ended in the fall of 1992, Furgason became a four-year starting quarterback at Fairmont State. He spent a year as a graduate assistant with the Falcons before returning to the prep ranks in 1998 to become an assistant coach at Fairmont Senior.

While with the Polar Bears, Furgason coached quarterbacks such as Matt VanGilder, 2006 Kennedy Award winner Kyle Allard, current West Virginia University quarterback Logan Moore and Trevor Malnick (who along with Ashenfelter plays at Fairmont State, though neither are still at quarterback) before moving to the Eastern Panhandle and getting his hands on Ashenfelter, Clinton and Watkins.

So it is safe to say Furgason knows quarterback talent when he sees it, and he said he certainly sees it in Capital's Pratt, who has already received a scholarship offer from West Virginia University.

"Tyrhee has the ability to make all the throws," he said. "He maybe isn't as polished as a Logan Moore was, but he's very natural in the pocket. We're working with his footwork a little bit to refine that and make him more efficient."

Capital coach Jon Carpenter had tried to help work with quarterbacks in the past, but said it was difficult to give that job the required time and attention while also working with the rest of the team.

"The best thing about Jarrod for us, he's one of those guys that wants you to throw the football from 7 a.m. to midnight," Carpenter said. "He wants to put the pedal down.

"Quarterback coaches are like gunslingers from the Wild West. They're a different breed. It's nice to have somebody to focus their whole time on one guy or one position. In the past I've tried to do it and it's hard."

Pratt, who threw for 1,881 yards and 16 touchdowns while running for 617 yards with 12 touchdowns last season for the 11-2 Cougars, said working with a quarterbacks coach has been a new experience for him, but one that he so far enjoys.

"It helps me out just having my own coach," he said. "I haven't had one, a quarterbacks coach, and it's kind of different this year but I'm liking it, though.

"It's great. (Furgason) is a good coach. He knows what he's doing and I think I can learn a lot from him."

Capital is off the first week of the high school football season this fall before traveling to play at Riverside to open its season the next week. The Cougars then play at Princeton before opening the home part of their schedule Sept. 19 against Parkersburg at University of Charleston Stadium.

Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at tom.bragg@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.

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PREP BASKETBALL: New coach gets to know Winfield squad http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM03/140709890 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM03/140709890 Tue, 1 Jul 2014 22:53:45 -0400 By Chris Wade While a lot of high schools are using the three-week summer practice period to travel and play as many games as possible, the Winfield basketball program has taken a different approach.

Bryan England, the first-year Generals head coach, is instead spending most of his available time with the team inside the walls at Winfield High School's gym. This has allowed England and his players to get acclimated with each other after England replaced Pat McGinnis, who retired in March after 13 seasons with the program.

"We have cut down our shootouts and camps in half," England said. "We have spent more time in the gym with the kids and the staff. We've been working real hard in the summer.

"It has been really good to get them in there. We have really been focusing on the fundamentals offensively and defensively. We want to do it right and have a more solid foundation."

So far, Winfield has participated in a Rio Grande (Ohio) team camp, played in Boyd County and in the South Charleston shootout last week. On Tuesday, the Generals played in the GW shootout.

"We have been very pleased," England said. "We played three Ohio schools and a West Virginia team. In the first shootout, two coaches told me our team was the hardest working team they had seen.

"That meant a lot. You can't ask for anything more than the players coming out and busting their butts. The other stuff will come around."

England served as an assistant coach for McGinnis the past three seasons. McGinnis compiled a 210-111 record with the Generals, which included four state tournament berths and a state title in 2004.

"I learned a lot from coach (McGinnis)," England said. "He is one of the most intense competitors I've ever seen and has great discipline. It doesn't matter if he playing tiddlywinks, he wants to win.

"I learned how to run a basketball program. I've took what I've learned from my experiences from my playing days, as middle school and assistant coach here, and morphed them all into one."

England, 26, is certainly glad for the opportunity to take over the reigns of the hoops program.

"I was very excited as being a high school coach is something I have wanted to do since I was a teenager," England said. "I set a goal for myself, and to reach it this soon, I feel fortunate."

England has a clear sense of the direction he wants to instill on the Winfield players.

"Any time there is a coaching change, kids are use to one thing," he said. "I am establishing what I want to do and how I want to do things. They are going to have to get to used to that."

"We want to get up and down the court, run and score in transition. Defensively, we want to run multiple sets but we want to focus on being fundamentally sound and solid in half-court man."

Having been around the Winfield program the past three seasons, England believes that to be a huge positive for his first head coaching position.

"It will be easy as far as knowing the kids we have coming back," England said. "I was attracted to the Winfield area and got a teaching job at the school.

"I feel very much a part of the community the past three years. I have really worked hard since I've been at Winfield and tried to do all I could to help Pat as his assistant and as freshman coach as well."

Winfield is coming off a 14-11 season that ended with a loss to eventual state champ Huntington in the Region 4 co-final.

"Bear Bellomy is coming back, and will be a senior, along with Heath Diehl," England said. "They are the only two that has played a lot. We will be relatively inexperienced."

England will rely on Bellomy, one of the top scorers in the area. He was third in scoring amongst the 13 Kanawha Valley teams at 20 points per game, giving England a go-to player.

"Bear is a tremendous shooter and a big kid at 6-foot-three," England said. "He will put the ball in the basket. We will get him in a position to do that. He is going to really to help us this season."

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CRAIG CUNNINGHAM/DAILY MAIL
PREP BASKETBALL: College coaches flock to St. Albans Shootout http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM03/140709891 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140701/DM03/140709891 Tue, 1 Jul 2014 22:53:08 -0400 By Derek Taylor The St. Albans Lady Dragons Shootout showed signs of continued growth during the first day of the two-day event Tuesday in St. Albans.

Along with the followers from 31 schools and 32 teams, the attendees at Tex Williams Gymnasium included more than a handful of college coaches checking out the 36-minute games, each played with a running clock. A total of 39 schools and 42 teams from West Virginia and Ohio were scheduled to play at least one day of the event.

St. Albans coach and event director Scott James said college coaches are attracted to the event because of efficiency.

"I think it does speak to the growth of it, it truly does," St. Albans coach and event director Scott James said Tuesday. "But if you look, you've got 40 teams. Each team has, we'll just limit it to eight girls. That's 320 girls that somebody gets to look at, not just for immediate need but also future need in a two-day setting in one place."

Coaches from Fairmont State, West Liberty, Wheeling Jesuit, California (Pa.) and WVU Tech were spotted courtside Tuesday, with others including West Virginia State expected to attend as well.

James said part of the increase in the number of colleges attending the shootout is due to coaching movement at the college level, but that some programs have had ties to the shootout for years. The event entered its 10th year this summer after beginning as a seven-team shootout in 2005.

"Some of the coaches have spread out. Kyle (Cooper), who used to be at WVU, is now an assistant at West Liberty," James said. "He was at Wheeling last year and that was the first time Wheeling had been down. So, this is the first time West Liberty's been here. Steve McDonald from Fairmont always comes down. Kenny Osborne always comes from Concord. State's always here. UC, I don't know if they're coming or not."

Rio Grande was also scheduled to attend, pushing the number of colleges sending representatives to the shootout to about 10, James said.

"It's a great opportunity to see teams from all over the state," McDonald said. "I'm from Romney, and I believe in recruiting West Virginia first. This is a chance to see a whole bunch of teams with a lot of good players in basically a two-gym setting."

There is more that draws coaches to the shootout than the recruiting equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel, McDonald added.

"That's also the best hospitality room I've seen in all my years," the Falcons coach said with a laugh in regard to the food offered to coaches and game officials. "When you combine that to all the hard work Scott James puts into this, we've been coming here since its first year. We'll come back every year," McDonald said.

Those in attendance Tuesday saw a solid number of teams expected to challenge for 2015 state tournament spots. Defending Class AAA state champion Morgantown, 2013 champ and 2014 runner-up Parkersburg South, Spring Valley, South Charleston, Cabell Midland, Huntington, George Washington and St. Albans all played games, with several of those clubs scheduled to return to action Wednesday. St. Albans uses four gyms - the school's main and auxiliary gyms, the McKinley Middle School gym and the gym at St. Francis Assisi School - to host the event.

There was more than recruiting going on. In one of the more interesting developments of the day, Class AA Tolsia topped Keyser in overtime, a result that gave Rebels coach Ric Morrone cause for optimism following an 8-15 season in 2013-14. Keyser reached the Class AA state tournament semifinals last season.

"We've got a lot of young players, and we've had a really great three weeks," Morrone said, referencing the three-week out-of-season coaching period that comes to a close this weekend.

"We've played a lot of good competition and Keyser's a really good team," Morrone said. "When you can play good teams you can work on some things and determine what you need to do to prepare for the season."

Tolsia and Marrone have taken part in each shootout at St. Albans and were part of the event's original lineup.

"We'll keep coming back until he stops letting us come," Morrone said.

McDonald said there was something unique about the shootout as well.

"We all go all over the country to see kids play, but rarely do you see this many West Virginia teams. It's such a fantastic opportunity for us and it's so well run," he said. "The thing I love about it is that Scott James does this and it benefits so many other teams. not just his own program, and that's really neat.

"When you're doing things to help other people in the game of basketball, usually good things start to happen for you, too," McDonald said.

The shootout continues today beginning at 9 a.m.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.

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Bob Wojcieszak/Daily Mail
PREP BASKETBALL: Wait was worth it for new Capital girls coach http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140625/DM03/140629498 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140625/DM03/140629498 Wed, 25 Jun 2014 22:22:31 -0400 By Michael Dailey CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It's been said that good things come to those who wait.

For newly hired Capital girls basketball coach Ahmed Witten, it was more like good things come to those who wait and wait and wait.

After 17 years as an assistant coach in the Cougars' boys basketball program, Witten finally got the chance to run his own program after the late April resignation of then-girls basketball coach B.J. Calabrese.

Calabrese, who took over the program in 2007, stepped down with a 58-86 career mark, including 6-16 last season, after reaching the 2013 state tournament.

After applying for five other head coaching jobs throughout his career as an assistant and interviewing for three, Witten was grateful for the opportunity.

"It was a relief when I found out about it," said Witten, a 1988 Stonewall Jackson graduate. "I've had the itch to be a head coach for a while and I've been patient waiting for my chance.

"This opportunity finally came and I glad I got the chance."

Witten, who is retaining assistant coaches Susie Garrison and Jenny Setter from Calabrese's staff, likes his new team's attitude despite the limited contact he's had with them.

"The girls seem excited, but they don't know what to expect," Witten said. "I think they wanted to do something different. We're going to be a young team, with only two seniors returning, so we'll see how things turn out.

"I'm still learning names and we play our first game next week. We'll get thrown into the fire real quick and then we'll go from there. I think it will be fun."

Capital returns senior guard India Hairston and senior post player Dashia Foster from last season's squad, but more could join the program.

"There are athletes everywhere, but the kids have to be interested," Witten said of the potential prospects on the Cougars' campus. "There are a lot of thing going on in kids' lives and some things just don't interest them. We'll get out there and try to get all the kids that want to be involved, involved.

"We'll talk to soccer kids and volleyball kids and see if they are interested in playing. If they want to play and they don't know how, I'll teach them how to play."

Because of Witten's current unfamiliarity with his players, he isn't sure what style of basketball the Cougars will play, but he hopes to make the experience a positive and lasting one for his players.

"I'll adjust my style to the type of players we have," Witten said. "I have seen them play a couple of games and I have an idea of what I want to do, but for now, we're just working on fundamental drills.

"We just want to try to make the game fun, while the girls are learning to play a little basketball. I don't know what style we'll play until I see what we have to work with a little more.

"High school is supposed to be the best time of your life. You form memories for life there. If athletics is the avenue to use to get these kids to the future and what they want to do in life, then they should use it."

Witten will make his preseason coaching debut on July 1, when Capital plays Morgantown and Parkersburg South at St. Albans High.

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SOFTBALL: Former Charleston Catholic standout to represent her country http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140625/DM03/140629499 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140625/DM03/140629499 Wed, 25 Jun 2014 22:22:29 -0400 By Chris Wade CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Marty Wilcox has had a lot of success over the years with the sport of softball, earning accolades along the way.

The former Charleston Catholic standout just recently, though, earned her greatest recognition.

Wilcox, now a star player at Guilford College (N.C.), was invited to represent her country in a USA Athlete International softball tournament next week in the Czech Republic.

She will leave for Prague on Monday and will represent the United States against other countries including Sweden, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic among others.

Wilcox relishes the chance to represent her hometown of Charleston, the state of West Virginia, and her country.

"I jumped on the opportunity," Wilcox said. "It's every kid's dream from little league, high school, and college to wear a USA jersey. I'm super excited. It's so surreal and it's going to be so much fun. It's a great honor. It all feels like a bit of a dream."

Wilcox is leaving the country for the first time, leaving a bit of uncertainty to the trip.

"I have no idea what to expect but I have heard nothing but good things about Prague," Wilcox said. "I don't know what the competition is going to be like, either.

"It's going to be great competing, though, and will be a cultural experience, too. I'm really excited."

Wilcox will be making the trip along with her father, John, who has been her strongest supporter.

John Wilcox was on the softball staff at Charleston Catholic all four years Marty played and was the head coach for one of the seasons.

"This is a pretty incredible father/daughter experience," Marty Wilcox said. "The softball aspect is great but my dad going with me makes it 10 times better."

Wilcox indicated her dad visits her college regularly, located near Greensboro.

"He comes down once a week," Wilcox said. "He helps me out a lot, and the other girls as well. After all the many years of practicing with me, its like he's still coaching me."

Wilcox is a standout senior shortstop/outfielder that has set multiple school records last season for the Quakers.

She set single-season school records at Guilford last year in home runs (11), triples (four), and runs batted in (51).

"It's really cool and awesome that I was able to do that," said Wilcox, of breaking the records. "There has only been so many girls to make first team all-conference in softball."

Wilcox led the All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference in triples, total bases, and RBI, earning her first team All-Conference and third team All-Region.

Along with fellow teammate Cynthia Hayes, Guilford's and the ODAC career batting leader, Wilcox and her helped guide the team to its most wins ever in a season with 29.

"We led the team to its best-ever finish in the conference (third)," Wilcox said. "She was the school's first All-American, and that is my next goal."

Guilford College has a family history of Wilcox's as Marty plays softball and her brother, Rocco, plays baseball. John was a former baseball standout there as well.

"I'm so happy with my decision to go there," Marty Wilcox said. "It has really worked out for me. Having my brother there and being able to see my dad is really important."

Wilcox is proud of her achievements since graduating at Charleston Catholic, where she also was a first team All-State selection.

"It is a really good feeling to realize how far I have come," Wilcox said. "Not many people can say they could put on a USA jersey. It's an incredible honor."

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MOUNTAIN EAST: Nitro's McDonough to play baseball at W.Va. State http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629598 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629598 Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:52:14 -0400

from staff reports

West Virginia State University announced Tuesday that Nitro High standout Ryan McDonough has signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the Yellow Jackets.

McDonough was used mostly in the outfield this past season but played multiple positions, including pitcher, for the Wildcats during his high school career.

He was a first team Daily Mail All-Kanawha Valley selection this spring after hitting .447 and knocking in 29 runs. Nitro finished with a 24-9 record and advanced to the regional final before falling to eventual state champion Hurricane.

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COLLEGE ATHLETICS: In-state recruits could be swayed by schools that can do more for the student-athlete http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629602 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629602 Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:41:39 -0400 By Derek Taylor Editor's note: This is part three of a five-part series titled "Moving Mountains: How the reformation of intercollegiate athletics could affect West Virginia schools and the amateurism of the student-athlete." This story appeared in the Wednesday, June 25 editions of the Charleston Daily Mail. The series concludes Friday, June 27.

Part 1: Athletic directors, commissioners provide insight into NCAA reform, what lies ahead

Part 2: NCAA reform widens gap between D-I schools, WVU and Marshall

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The NCAA board of directors meeting scheduled for August has the potential to end by introducing a vastly different landscape for college sports than the one its fans have long identified.

With the possibility for greater autonomy for the 65 schools tied to conferences tagged by the NCAA as "high visibility" being realized at this meeting, a different playing field could result insofar as the recruitment of student-athletes still in high school.

Those high visibility conferences ­- Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, Southeastern ­- could potentially gain the ability to offer all student-athletes the cost of attendance as compensation for the services provided to those schools by those athletes. One key element of this plan is that non-scholarship players would also be covered by it, allowing walk-ons to essentially go to one of those schools without an athletic scholarship, participate in the sport and still be compensated to the same degree as one receiving a scholarship.

Schools outside that high visibility designation might not be able to offer the same compensation agreement, as their budgets could prohibit those schools from offering such compensation to every student-athlete.

In the at times cutthroat world of football recruiting few players are willing speak on the record regarding their preference between a scholarship offer at smaller school or a walk-on spot in a power conference. Coaches, too, are often content to focus on what has been established rather than to speculate on what might happen in the coming months.

"Kids are walking on to Marshall and WVU already," South Charleston coach Donnie Mays said. "I don't think it's going to do much, really. I think it's good that the NCAA is recognizing that every kid should be able to eat.

"You give them the same amount of meals. It's sad that a kid that earned a scholarship gets to go out and bust his butt in a two-and-a-half hour practice and then eat, but the walk-on kid gets to do the two-and-a-half-hour practice then he's sitting at home because the school can't feed him," Mays said. "We're talking about food. Everybody needs nourishment."

A problem that makes the potential impact of NCAA changes on high school sports difficult to assess is that there is nothing concrete to use as a template for a future landscape. All that has been decided at this point is that schools are now able to provide unlimited meals to student-athletes. While that is a boon to walk-ons, high school coaches find it hard to believe it will lure future prospects away from accepting scholarship offers at the Division II or FCS (formerly I-AA) levels.

Though he preferred to focus on the reality of now rather than the possibilities of later, Mays tipped his hand at what could become a trend as early as August.

"Rich Rodriguez, when he was at WVU, said one thing that stood out to me and that was, 'We don't treat a scholarship player or a walk-on player any differently, as long as they come out and bust their hump every single day.' I thought that was tremendous," Mays said. "But at the same time, as a high school coach, I want our kids to play where they're going to get money, where they're going to get their books, their room and all that taken care of, because you know as well as I do, student loans are no fun."

The effects could vary by location. If Marshall is unable to offer the same cost-of-attendance stipend to its non-scholarship players, it is unlikely that the Thundering Herd will improve its ability to keep players from nearby schools like Huntington High, Cabell Midland, Hurricane, Spring Valley or Wayne from taking scholarship offers elsewhere. Meanwhile, North Central West Virginia could see a more significant shift in the directions taken by its college prospects after high school.

Morgantown and University high schools, for example, have produced a significant number of football players who ended up at WVU as walk-ons. Some of those players - University graduate Scott Gyorko, for instance - finished their Mountaineer careers by playing key or starting roles for the team. Gyorko was a starting linebacker at WVU in 2003 and 2004, who averaged 87 ½ tackles and 5 ½ tackles for loss in his final two seasons.

But stories like those belonging to Gyorko and Rodriguez - who became a starter after beginning his college career as a WVU walk-on after he graduated from North Marion - are rare. More eventually leave the program and remain in Morgantown as students or transfer to Division II schools to play.

There were eight players from West Virginia on WVU's 2013 roster, including walk-ons. Of them, three - Bridgeport product Wes Tonkery, Morgantown's Tyler Anderson and Fairmont Senior's Logan Moore - came from North Central West Virginia's core counties of Monongalia, Marion and Harrison. The five others were more widely scattered, with one each coming from the Kanawha Valley (Cody Clay of George Washington), the Eastern Panhandle (Justin Arndt of Martinsburg), the Mid-Ohio Valley (Michael Molinari of Parkersburg South), the Beckley area (Houstin Syvertson of Shady Spring) and the Huntington area (Elijah Wellman of Spring Valley).

Of that group only Tonkery, Clay and Wellman are on scholarship.

West Virginia University has almost always carried more players on its football team who hail from its core region than from anywhere else in the state. It's 2014 recruiting class included just one native West Virginian, Morgantown High lineman Amani Brown, and the Mountaineers already have a commitment from Morgantown's Stone Wolfley for their 2015 recruiting class, their only such commitment from an in-state player.

If WVU gains the authority to grant cost of attendance money to even its non-scholarship players, it is not difficult to speculate that representation from that core area will only increase as student-athletes opt to stay closer to home.

Morgantown football coach John Bowers has produced more than a dozen Division I prospects since taking over the Mohigans program in 2002. He said that while WVU will be a natural target destination for many in-state players under such a new template, there is plenty left to consider for each player.

"You also have to factor in playing time. Obviously, that would be the first thing that comes to mind," Bowers said. "A guy might be able to get on the field or start as a sophomore at a lot of D-II schools and maybe not until they're a junior or senior at WVU, if then. There's a lot of decisions to be made before picking a school."

Like Mays, Bowers said that financial incentives also play a significant role in where a player decides to go to school.

"The greatest thing I can do as a high school teacher and coach is to prepare kids for college and help them gain the skills necessary to get through," Bowers said. "If furthering the financial incentive to go to a school like WVU is going to get more kids in schools and stay in school, then I can definitely see it as a benefit."

Bowers also saw the possibility for prospects in his own region to stay close to home if given the opportunity.

"That may creep into the kids' minds," he said. "I can see where that could happen, definitely."

The potential for this phenomenon leads to a possible domino effect. WVU and its peers would not simply open the flood gates into their programs. A Football Bowl Subdivision program can carry no more than 105 players total, with 85 on scholarship. If a greater percentage of players from North Central West Virginia accept offers as invited walk-ons, fewer such positions would be open to players from elsewhere. 
To counteract this possibility, the selection process for invited walk-on offers could presumably become more competitive from WVU's standpoint.

A Twitter survey conducted Sunday presented the question to high school players of what was preferable: to have all expenses paid as a walk-on at WVU or to accept a scholarship to play at a Division II school. The responses showed the allure WVU has with prep athletes in the Mountain State.

"I would take the preferred walk on," Buckhannon-Upshur senior quarterback Dillon Gaudet wrote. "Would love the atmosphere of Morgantown and the fans."

Huntington coach Billy Seals also responded with an opinion that echoed the concerns of his peers.

"As a coach I would go where I could play and get the opportunity to get on the field," Seals wrote. "Hard to get kids to understand that."

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.

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Mel Moraes/For the Daily Mail
PREP TRACK: Poca's Buckley named Gatorade athlete of the year http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629605 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629605 Tue, 24 Jun 2014 22:41:03 -0400

By NICK BROCKMAN

FOR THE DAILY MAIL

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Excellence hardly eludes Poca senior Christian Buckley, a two-time double-winner at the West Virginia high school track and field state championships, though the Dot thrower recently added an honor seldom awarded to a non-runner.

Buckley, named the Gatorade West Virginia Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year, holds the attention of competitors and fans when he throws, whether the shot put or discus, and for his accomplishments, he was tabbed with the esteemed distinction. On the girls side, University graduate and West Virginia commit Amelia "Millie" Paladino claimed the award after sweeping the AAA distance running events with three meet records.

"It feels like a huge honor," Buckley said. "I'm blessed with awards like that. It's nice for a thrower to get it. I know a lot of runners have gotten it in the past, so it's nice to shine a light on the throwing events and be sort of an ambassador for the throwers."

For the second year in a row, Buckley won titles in the shot and discus at the Class AA state meet. As a junior, Buckley set a meet record in the shot with a throw of 59 feet, 7 and one-half inches, which ranked as the nation's 74th-best performance among prep competitors in 2014 at the time of his selection, according to a release provided by Gatorade.

During the regular season, Buckley dominated his competition en route to his second consecutive undefeated season, and he continued to display his excellence at the state meet. After Buckley, the next longest toss at the state championships in the shot was 11 feet shorter than Buckley's. In the discus, Buckley surpassed his closest competitor by nearly 25 feet.

Buckley, listed at 6-foot-3, 235 pounds, posted similar dominance as a sophomore at the state meet, yet increased his title-winning throws by 8 and 15 feet respectively as a junior. Competitors fail to match not just the distance of his throws, but his work ethic, Dots coach John Bonecutter said.

"Christian is an extremely hard-working young man," Bonecutter said. "He is self-motivated, self-disciplined and very competitive. His level of dedication is unmatched. He is hungry for success and focused on what it takes to get to the top. He is a beast!"

While the high school season finished in May, Buckley continues to toil in the summer, competing with the hopes to once again reach the USATF National Junior Olympics Track & Field Championships in Houston, Texas. Buckley was previously named a two-time All-American in the discus.

Buckley benefits from retaining the Dots' throwing coach, his father Dana Buckley, at his disposal during the summer.

"I can say 'Hey, Dad, I want to throw some,' and he's willing to go out there and watch me," Christian Buckley said. "Like I said, I'm just blessed with that kind of setup. He can give me pointers and watch me at any time during the day and spot me in the weight room, whatever I need."

As Dana Buckley guides his son to greater heights, Christian Buckley makes the most of his improvement through reviewing tape and honing his technique.

"He constantly studies film," Dana Buckley said. "He's one of those that he just works at it to the nth degree. Every detail, he breaks down each throw that we record. A lot of it is just body position, timing and then he goes back and works on that one specific thing."

In addition to his athletic performance, Gatorade selected Christian Buckley for his academic prowess, as the honor is annually given to the athlete who combines athletic excellence with classroom achievement and exemplary character.

"He was very humbled by the award," Dana Buckley said. "Really, that was not one of the goals heading into the season, but it definitely capped the season for him."

Christian Buckley said he was flattered by the honor as he continues to push himself to greater achievements and hopes others take an interest in an event often overlooked.

"I'm blessed they looked at me," he said. "It's just nice. A lot of people tend to - I wouldn't say to ignore the throws, but maybe push them over to the side a little bit, and it's nice to shine a spotlight on it and make others take notice, and hopefully make other people interested in the sport."

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BOB WOJCIESZAK/DAILY MAIL
Fulford leaves Huntington Prep for Missouri http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629738 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140624/DM03/140629738 Tue, 24 Jun 2014 00:01:00 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Rob Fulford is headed to college.

The University of Missouri announced Monday the hiring of Fulford as an assistant coach with the Tigers' men's basketball program. Fulford spent the past five seasons at Huntington Prep, where he compiled a 138-17 record as the boys basketball head coach.

Fulford joins the staff of first-year coach Kim Anderson, who took over the Missouri program in late April.

"I want to thank Coach Anderson, (Missouri athletic director) Mike Alden and University administration for this incredible opportunity," Fulford said in a press release. "I wasn't looking to leave Huntington Prep, but after speaking with Coach Anderson and seeing his vision for the program, this opportunity was too good to pass up."

Fulford began his coaching career as an assistant at Mountain State University in Beckley. He founded the Huntington Prep basketball program in 2009.

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PREP FOOTBALL: Stewart lays foundation as Poca's new coach http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140623/DM03/140629748 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140623/DM03/140629748 Mon, 23 Jun 2014 19:34:54 -0400

By NICK BROCKMAN

FOR THE DAILY MAIL

As step one in the process of following a football institution like Poca's Bob Lemley, first-year coach Ted Stewart plans to use his summer practice period to build a foundation in fundamentals and commitment.

Stewart, who formerly coached two seasons as a defensive assistant at Hurricane, took reign of Poca's program in April following the Jan. 9 resignation of 24-year coach Lemley, who directed the Dots to four Class AA state titles and a runner-up finish.

"Someone like Bob who has been there a long time and won some state titles and had some success, (the most important thing) is just trying to get the kids out and trying to get them to know me," Stewart said of his initial goals. "You don't really try to change things, just bringing pride in the community and try to get that team the success it once had."

While Lemley led Poca to the playoffs in 11 seasons, the Dots struggled in recent years, including a 1-9 mark last season. Poca last won a playoff game in 2006.

Among the top goals for Stewart will be to develop both numbers and effort. This summer, as Poca has participated in 7-on-7 camps at Hurricane, Marshall and Chapmanville, the team has consistently maintained 26 players in camp.

"I'm trying to get these kids to taste a little bit of success and realize being committed to the game of football," Stewart said. "I want them to be accountable for what they're doing.

"That's the most important thing, but I want to give them the opportunity to be successful not only in the game of football but life and challenges, that they want to be committed and show up."

While Stewart evaluates his players and designs schemes both offensively and defensively, the looks on each side of the ball continue to develop, but Stewart said he wants first and foremost to instill toughness.

"I want people to know that when they play Poca that they are aggressive and they are fundamental," he said. "Those are the two building blocks, and I want the kids to have fun."

"If we can be aggressive and we can swarm to the ball in every game, we have a chance in every game. Those fundamentals and being aggressive, that's the game of football right there. It is a physical sport. If you can be aggressive and fundamental, I think you have a chance every game, and if I can get the kids to buy into the system."

That system defensively figures to present a 4-2-5 look, though it can adapt to a 4-4 front.

After coaching at Hurricane and before that University, both in defensive assistant roles, Stewart brings years of experience to the Dots defense.

A 1999 graduate of Clay-Battelle, Stewart finished his high school career as a running back and helped coach the position at University. He also has experience coaching offense at the junior varsity level.

The summer practice period will give Stewart a glimpse into the team's offensive capabilities. The Dots averaged 20 points per game in 2013 and count starting quarterback Justin Stewart among returners.

"I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel, but we're learning what we can and cannot do, and that's the one thing about the summer session," Stewart said. "The linemen are getting stronger, the kids are getting stronger, they're learning, and in the few days that we've had practice, they've had a little bit of success. We only have one 7-on-7 scheduled for (this) week, so we'll have five good days of practice and maybe we'll get a little bit better feeling for what we can and cannot do."

Systems and schemes play a role as the Dots adjust to a new playbook this summer, but most importantly, Stewart said he hopes the Poca players learn Stewart's expectations and develop a desire to commit to the program.

"I hope the kids can learn how I coach," he said. "I can be intense at times. I hope they come away learning and continue to learn and being optimistic and hopefully, the same 26 kids that are here in June are the same 26 kids that come out in August, that they're buying into the system, that when August comes around they want to put pads on, they want to hit, they want to be aggressive, they want to be better. Those are my goals."

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PREP FOOTBALL: Defense, special teams highlight South's win over North in All-Star Classic http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140622/DM03/140629860 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140622/DM03/140629860 Sun, 22 Jun 2014 00:43:09 -0400 By Michael Dailey There was a lot of offensive firepower on the field in Saturday night's North-South All-Star Football Classic.

But it was aggressive and opportunistic defensive and special teams efforts that stole the show for the South Cardinals in a 46-26 win over the North Bears at UC Stadium.

The South returned two fumbles for touchdowns, returned a punt for score and turned one of its two interceptions into another touchdown in cruising to its fifth straight win in the annual matchup.

The South trailed 14-13 at the half, but broke the game open with a 26-0 scoring advantage in the third quarter.

The Cardinals received the second half kickoff and promptly went 62 yards in six plays to take a 19-14 lead just 2:30 into the half on a 19-yard TD pass from former Nicholas County quarterback Tyler Sagraves to former Winfield receiver Chris Turner.

After receiving the ensuing kickoff, the North drove from its own 20-yard line to South 25, before former Wahama standout Kane Roush made the game's biggest momentum changing play.

Roush, who was named the South's MVP, forced and recovered a fumble before galloping 75 yards for a score and a 26-14 South advantage.

"I didn't know that I had caused the fumble on that hit," Roush said. "I hit him, I looked up and the sideline was like ball, ball, ball, ball, ball. I turned around and (former South Charleston standout) Khance Johnson fumbled the ball out of his hands into the open field.

"Earlier this week we worked on the scoop and score drill and it actually took place tonight."

Roush had earlier stopped a Bears drive at the South 5-yard line when he intercepted an Aaron Roberts pass late in the first half.

"It was a good night for South football, that's all I can say," said Roush, who will play collegiately for the University of Charleston. "We just came out in the second half firing on all cylinders.

"Everybody here is a great player and they knew what we had to do as soon as we hit that second half and we did it."

But Roush wasn't the only defensive play making plays for the Cardinals.

Former Woodrow Wilson standout Chase Hancock intercepted another Roberts pass later in the third quarter, leading to a 1-yard TD pass from Isaiah Kinder (Greenbrier East) to Nick Tubbs (Huntington) and a 32-14 South lead.

The scoring grab was Tubbs' second of the evening from Kinder, with the two also hooking up on a 52-yard TD in the first quarter.

Kinder led the South with 129 passing yards on 8 of 11 attempts, while Tubbs led all receivers with eight catches for 137 yards.

The South's special teams joined the second half scoring parade on the North's next possession when Malik Boatwright (Greenbrier West) picked up a rolling punt and scampered 58 yards for a score and a 39-14 Cardinals advantage.

"We felt like we were playing pretty well early on," South coach Lewis McClung said. "We dropped a couple of balls and had a blown coverage defensively, but we really felt like we were playing pretty well and things just weren't going our way.

"We just told the kids to keep plugging and the momentum would swing behind us. Kane Roush had that big play with the fumble return and they kind of seemed like the dyke broke on them a little bit after that play.

"We got some breaks in the second half. They turned the ball over and it got the ball rolling for us a little bit."

The North started the scoring in the first quarter when Zach Phillips (Wheeling Park) connected with Anthony Bonamico (Bridgeport) from 21 yards out and a 7-0 lead.

Phillips, who earned North MVP honors, led all passers with 218 yards and three scores in connecting on 19 of 27 attempts.

Former Capital standout James Walton notched the South's first special teams score when he recovered a fumbled punt snap and returned it 10 yards for a second quarter score.

"I was going to try to block it," said Walton of the bad punt snap. "Once I saw it go over his head my eyes just got big. I saw him miss it and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is my chance.'

"I just picked it up and I was just so excited. It was wish and a dream, but I didn't think it was going to happen."

Jalen Jones (Oak Hill) led the South with 32 rushing yards on three attempts, including a 26-yard TD run to close out the Cardinals' scoring.

Phillips connected with Kendall Smith (Washington) for a 26-yard TD with 1:07 to play, before Chase Banker grabbed a 19-yard TD pass from Roberts with just one second left.

It was Banker's second score of the evening, following a 15-yard TD pass from Phillips that gave the North its halftime lead.

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PREP BASKETBALL: Elmore caps career with MVP performance in North-South Classic http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140620/DM03/140629892 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140620/DM03/140629892 Fri, 20 Jun 2014 23:19:08 -0400 By Chris Wade George Washington's Jon Elmore had already had a standout senior season, leading the Patriots to the state tournament and earning statewide Player of the Year honors.

The GW graduate and Virginia Military Institute recruit added one more accolade Friday night by being named the Most Valuable Player in the North/South All-Star Basketball Classic.

Elmore scored a game-high 25 points for the South in its 104-88 victory over the North at the South Charleston Community Center. He added six rebounds and three blocks.

"This was awesome and a great way to cap off my senior season," Elmore said. "I couldn't ask for anything more. This is one to really remember. We had so much talent and the coaches were great. I had a great time."

Elmore said the final season was his best.

"It was awesome," Elmore said. "You could add the first three years together and those combined wouldn't be as good as my senior year. This is a great way to finish and go out on top."

After a back and forth beginning that saw the North lead 13-11 in the first of the two 20-minute halves, Elmore sparked a huge 37-12 run that got the South off to the races.

Elmore drained three 3-pointers in the stretch. He had 11 points in the half to help lead the South. Huntington graduate Aric Nicks added seven rebounds by the break.

Nicks finished with 13 points and eight rebounds while Anthony Billings, a South Charleston graduate, had a huge game on his home court with 10 points and 14 rebounds.

"It was really fun," Billings said. "I'm not really worried about offense. I just like to get a lot of rebounds. I told them I was going to come out and grab a lot."

While most of the players will continue playing basketball in college, for some, it was the end of their high school careers, just like it was for the four coaches in the game.

Washington's Don Bullett and Tucker County's Tom Gutshall finished their coaching careers for the North, as did Charleston Catholic's Bill McClanahan and Winfield's Pat McGinnis of the South.

All four coaches were recognized at halftime at center court for their contributions to the game. McClanahan is the all-time leader in wins in Catholic school history and Gutshall has over 500 career victories.

"It's absolutely unbelievable to have the opportunity to be around this much talent," McClanahan said. "To be around an assembly of talent for this all-star game is pretty special. It was fun to sit there and watch all that talent."

"This was great," McGinnis said. "You have so much talent. You can just sit back, relax and watch them play. There wasn't a whole lot of coaching going on that is for sure. To have someone like Jon Elmore on your team, it's a lot of fun and a good way to go out."

Both coaches had fond memories of their time coaching at both Catholic and Winfield, and have long lasting memories to take with them.

"I loved my teams and players at Charleston Catholic," McClanahan said. "They gave me nothing but great memories and success. To get a chance to coach Nick (George) and Garret (McCarty) one more time was incredible."

"First and foremost, the group we had in 2004 that was state champions, the only one ever at Winfield high school, we are real proud of that," McGinnis said. "It's been a really great 13 years for me coaching."

For the North, Jerome Jones led the way with 23 points and eight rebounds, David Park had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Wade Martin earned MVP honors for his team with 18 points and five boards.

The North made a clean sweep in the pre-game skills event, winning the free throw, 3-point and dunk contests. In the free-throw contest, Park knocked off Billings in the final round to win the event for the North. The 3-point contest saw Notre Dame's Cal Cistaro win the event, besting McCarty in the final round.

In the dunk contest, Park was once again in the final round, but was knocked off by teammate Cody McClung from Nicholas County.

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PREP FOOTBALL: Teams look to improve at 7-on-7 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140620/DM03/140629958 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140620/DM03/140629958 Fri, 20 Jun 2014 06:55:23 -0400 By Tom Bragg HUNTINGTON - For prep football teams, summer is the time when your team comes together and coaches find out what they have, what they do not and what they need going into the fall.

Some, like South Charleston, have a solid foundation of returning starters to build upon while others, like Hurricane, are essentially breaking in an entire new team.

There were 15 teams participating in the Marshall 7-on-7 football camp Thursday at the YMCA Kennedy Center in Huntington, but perhaps none are facing a rebuilding project quite like Hurricane.

The Redskins return just four of 22 starters from last season's Class AAA playoff qualifier, but coach Jeremy Taylor said his team still has some talent on the roster, naming Brandon Ford along with transfers Connor Watts and Ethan Highlander and lineman Matt Spradling as players who will be key members of the Redskins.

"We lost nine of 11 on offense and nine of 11 on defense, so we've got a lot of rebuilding to do," he said. "It's a good thing to be in Hurricane and Putnam County where people want to move to. People want education, to play and have a great place to live."

Also new to the Redskins this season is assistant coach Scott Tinsley. The former WVU Tech and Nitro High head coach joined the Hurricane staff this offseason and has brought his wide-open brand of football to Putnam County.

"They are super excited (to play for Tinsley)," Taylor said. "They'd stay here 12 hours a day and I think (Tinsley) would stay here 12 hours too. He's doing an excellent job with him and the whole staff is really. They've bought into what Scott's doing. We always thought we ran a version of his offense but in the end we always ran a middle school version of his offense. It is some complicated stuff. The kids really pick up on it."

For South Charleston, Thursday's camp was the second in as many days for the Black Eagles and coach Donnie Mays and not the last by a long shot. The Black Eagles will travel to Morgantown on Friday for a two-day camp at West Virginia University before going to Virginia for another at James Madison University next week.

"Our kids are exhausted today and it's hot," Mays said. "We went down to Concord and played like nine games so we didn't play a lot of our varsity today in this tournament. We got a lot of younger kids reps and when we did finally get put our varsity in they were just getting started. Little quick exit here from Marshall but we did well last night at Concord and went 9-0. We played some really good competition out of Virginia and we're heading to Morgantown tomorrow to face some talent from Florida. Miramar is going to be there so it's going to be good."

The Black Eagles return standouts in quarterback Kentre Grier and running back/linebacker A.D. Cunningham, who has committed to play in college for Charlotte, as well as playmakers Fred Crozier and B.J. Moore. A new addition for SC this season will be 6-foot-5 senior receiver Jacob Miller. Mays said he scouted him while Miller was a member of the Black Eagles' basketball team and saw that he could run, jump and defend, prompting an invitation to the gridiron.

"We have a good little skill group," Mays said.

George Washington joined Hurricane and South Charleston as Kanawha Valley teams at Thursday's event that will also be in Morgantown.

The Patriots and veteran coach Steve Edwards Jr. were knocked out of the competition at Marshall on Thursday by Hurricane, and, like the Redskins, they will be breaking in a mostly new group at many skill positions.

"We're working in a new quarterback, new running backs, new everything," Edwards said. "The thing for us, we've got a lot of guys getting opportunities."

Edwards said junior Kaleb Mackey has been getting reps at quarterback with sophomore Colten Rollyson, Darnell Brooks and senior Luther Thoney also showing signs of life at other skill positions and that the class of freshmen have also been a pleasant surprise.

"I'm getting some good freshmen kids in here and they have a chance to do some things," Edwards said. "You know, it's a great opportunity and we keep telling the kids they only get so many opportunities doing these types of things with competition. You can practice all you want but to get a competitive edge and get used to competing and get angry and get those juices flowing, that's what it's all about."

GW was also one of the teams at Concord on Wednesday, and, like South Charleston, will be at JMU's camp a day before participating in another at Cabell Midland.

"It's great," Edwards said. "For guys that aren't taking this opportunity in the summertime and getting their linemen out and taking advantage of the opportunities to compete, I don't know what else I'd be doing. I would think I was doing wrong if I wasn't doing this. It's great, especially for us with our experience level. We're getting a lot of games, a lot of competition. Everybody is and I think it's fantastic."

Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at tom.bragg@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.

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NORTH-SOUTH SOFTBALL: Wayne's Rowe steals the show http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140619/DM03/140619077 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140619/DM03/140619077 Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:36:27 -0400 By Derek Taylor BUFFALO - The lasting impression of Wayne All-State pitcher Jessie Rowe won't be her losing decision in a 1-0 Region 4 championship loss to eventual Class AA softball state champion Herbert Hoover after all.

In fact, Rowe essentially stole the show Thursday at Buffalo High School, getting a pair of wins for the South while also managing to save her own game in Game 2 of the three-game series that the South won 2-1.

"I was excited to get to play and wear my jersey one last time," Rowe said. "It was good just to be out. I didn't want to end the season..."

Rowe stopped short of referring to the recent past, and quickly redirected her train of thought.

"It was good to be able to play again with Emily (Fry)," Rowe said. "I've played ball with her a long time now."

Fry, an All-State outfielder for the Pioneers, also fared well in the series and finished her day by going 3 for 6 with a double, a stolen base and two runs scored.

Magnolia All-State pitcher Mallory Chapman dominated Game 1 with seven strikeouts in four innings of work that helped the North stake itself to a four-run lead in what became a 5-2 win. When the players retook the field for Game 2, however, Rowe and the South batting order came alive.

"A bunch of us hit in the home run derby, and they were just kind of floating them in there," Madi Marshall of St. Albans said of the South's early problems adjusting to Chapman's speed.

"We just had to get our bats opened up. That's definitely what it was," Marshall said.

The South got out to a 2-0 lead after one inning and took advantage of three North errors in the third to post Rowe a six-run cushion before she gave way to relief pitcher Amber Hughes of Nitro to start the fifth. Rowe's own two-run single highlighted the four-run inning, but the cushion began to wither in the seventh.

Hughes gave up a leadoff single to St. Marys' Alyssa Fetty before striking out East Fairmont's Tori Postlewait. A walk to John Marshall's Sissy George followed, then Chapman came to the plate and hit the day's only home run, a shot to right-center field that cut the South's lead to 7-4. North Marion's Amanda Sigley then doubled in Chapman to cut the lead to two, and South coach Annette Olenchick of South Charleston called on Rowe to return to the circle.

Three batters later, the teams had tied at one win apiece.

In the finale, West and Rowe combined to hold the North to three hits in a five-inning contest won by the South 3-0. Kelsey Bird of Valley (Fayette) went 3 for 3 in the deciding game, and Herbert Hoover third baseman McKenzie Edmonds was 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI.

Edmonds also made two critical defensive plays in the second inning to get West out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam unscathed.

Marshall started all three games, and did so at different positions. She started Game 1 at second base, Game 2 at third and Game 3 at shortstop, and she pitched three innings of the opener in relief of Brooke West.

"You've just got to kind of roll with the punches and do what you've got to do," said Marshall, who started at started at four different positions in her four-year career as a starter at St. Albans.

"When you're needed, you're needed. Duty calls," Marshall said.

Rowe and Marshall agreed that the prevalence of travel ball throughout Southern West Virginia helped the team come together quickly.

"We know from playing travel ball against each other and with each other for all these years what everybody is capable of," Rowe said. "I think that helped us today."

Marshall elaborated on that thought considerably.

"We've been networked for so long. All you have to do is look position by position, and there's a lot of us who can play anywhere," Marshall said. "We're all, basically, utility players. We all get along well because we played with each other and against each other since we were 6, so it's just easy to match up attitudes.

"And it's the South. We're all kind of close, and face it, that's where most of the state championship teams come from," she said.

Marshall was the South's Most Valuable Player in Game 1, with Rowe picking up the honor in Game 2 and Bird in Game 3. Chapman was the North's MVP in Game 1, with Ritchie County catcher Abby Burgess being honored in Game 2 and George in Game 3.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.

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NORTH-SOUTH BASKETBALL: North-South players, coaches ready for finale http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140619/DM03/140619078 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140619/DM03/140619078 Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:29:47 -0400 By Tom Bragg The annual North-South all-star basketball game serves as a send-off of sorts each summer for seniors from around the Mountain State, but this year's game will do that and then some.

There are four coaches (two for each team) listed on the North and South rosters - Washington's Don Bullett and Tucker County's Tom Gutshall for the North, Charleston Catholic's Bill McClanahan and Winfield's Pat McGinnis for the South. All of them have announced their intentions to retire.

So while the college experience awaits many of the players in Friday's contest at the South Charleston Community Center, rounds of golf and honey-do lists are likely about to be the norm for the outgoing coaches.

"I've really started to slip into this retirement mode," McClanahan said. "I'm playing golf two or three times a week. Slipped in some fishing and some chores around the house. The pace is comfortable and the stress level is reducing every day. I'm looking forward to that continuing."

Before that can happen, however, there is the matter of the game.

The North roster features four players - Ravenswood's Jacob Martin, Tucker County's Ian Nicholas, Preston's Jimmy Galusky and Lewis County's Jonnie Riley - who averaged more than 20 points per game last season. In addition, Notre Dame's Cal Cistro (18.8 ppg), Wheeling Central's David Park (17.9 ppg) and Roane County's Jacob Neal (19.6 ppg) are capable scorers.

The South counters with George Washington's Jon Elmore, last season's state player of the year, Woodrow Wilson's Donte' Nabors, Greenbrier East's Rondale Watson, Class AAA state champion Huntington's Aric Nicks and Capital's Carrington Morris, among others.

"We're going to have to make sure we don't get caught up in totally being spectators," McClanahan said. "That's an assembly of talent you don't want to get in the way of especially in an all-star game. It's going to be a wonderful opportunity."

For McClanahan and McGinnis, each will get a final chance to coach some of their own. Charleston Catholic's Garrett McCarty and Nick George, along with Winfield's Zach Fisher and Taylor Hearn, will give the veteran coaches some familiarity when the teams take the court.

"I get Nick and Garrett and I've been with them for all four years," McClanahan said. "It's been a great time. I've enjoyed watching them grow and develop as players and young men. I have a special bond with them. It's going to be a wonderful time to be around them once more."

The bonds he built with players are not the only ones McClanahan said he was looking forward to sharing one final time.

"I am looking forward to sitting beside Pat," McClanahan said of McGinnis. "He knows a lot about the game and been very successful. We get along as people. Having him there to lean over and laugh about things and talk about things.

"Coach Gutshall and I have really become very good friends. As we slip here into this period of time, I'm not going to say getting older, I start to value and appreciate my friends a little more and I consider Tom one of those."

McGinnis' Winfield team was eliminated in the Class AAA regional round of the playoffs while McClanahan's Irish squad fell in the Class A state championship game, prompting McGinnis to joke about another chance for each of them to go out on top.

"What better guy to go out with than (McClanahan)," he said. "He's been so successful with his program. I was saying to him it gives us a chance to win our last game. It's always fun coaching those kind of athletes and for a change we'll have someone like Jon Elmore on our team instead of going against us."

The skills competition portion of the event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. with the game set to tip at 7:30. All tickets are $5.

Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at tom.bragg@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.

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NORTH-SOUTH FOOTBALL: New father Tubbs pushes himself http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140619/DM03/140619079 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140619/DM03/140619079 Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:27:49 -0400 By Derek Taylor There is no player in Saturday's North-South All-Star Football Classic who spent more time in the athletic spotlight during his senior year than Nick Tubbs.

The Huntington High School product was an All-State selection in football and won the Mountain State Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year award in 2013, helping lead the Highlanders to their first Class AAA state championship game appearance. Little more than three months later, Tubbs finished a third-team All-State season in basketball by helping Huntington win the Class AAA state title, the school's fourth since 2005 and first since the O.J. Mayo and Patrick Patterson-led team of 2007.

When Tubbs (6-foot, 170 pounds) lines up representing the South Cardinals for kickoff at 7 p.m. on Saturday night at University of Charleston Stadium, he will be putting the finishing touches on an impressive prep career while simulultaneously writing the earliest chapters of an adult life.

Tubbs became a father with the birth of his son, Carter Grey Tubbs, on May 1, less than six full weeks following the Highlanders' 55-54 win over Hurricane in the boys basketball state title game. Born to Tubbs' girlfriend, Chelsey Miles, Carter Tubbs has given his father a new worldview, the former Highlander said.

"Becoming a father is not easy. I'll tell you that," Tubbs said Tuesday at the North-South Media Day luncheon at West Virginia State University. "It made me go harder and made me push myself even more, because I know that I've got somebody to look out for now.

"I'm not the only one getting looked out for now. I've got to do the looking out."

Tubbs, the youngest of five children, was known to let his emotions override his talent on occasion throughout his prep career in both sports. He said that he believes that he had life comparably easy growing up, and that when he did not get his way he had difficulty accepting reality. Tubbs missed the MSAC basketball third-place game in February after being ejected from a game against Parkersburg earlier that week.

"I was always the youngest, the baby out of all of them," Tubbs said. "Now I've got one of my own, so I'm driven now to be what I want to be and make sure he can too."

Greenbrier West football coach Lewis McClung will lead the South on Saturday, with Bill Haddox of East Fairmont coaching the North. McClung said Tubbs' attitude and work ethic have been impressive through game preparations this week.

"He might be the best receiver we have," McClung said of Tubbs, who lined up at wingback, tailback, wide receiver and quarterback at various times for the Highlanders in 2013, and was listed on the All-State team as a defensive back after playing safety all season. He spent some time this week working out his punting leg for the South.

"He's not very vocal," McClung said. "He comes in and works hard, very workmanlike, and goes about his business."

In 14 games last fall Tubbs accounted for 1,697 yards of total offense (978 rushing) and scored 18 total touchdowns. He intercepted two passes and finished the season with 31 total tackles.

Tubbs said he is in the process of working out a walk-on agreement to play football at Marshall this fall. He credited his high school coaches Billy Seals (football) and Ron Hess (basketball) for helping him make the transition in preparing for fatherhood and adulthood.

"You realize that real life is about to hit you when you graduate high school," Tubbs said. "You've got to have change. You can't just be that snotty-nosed kid that you were when you first got into high school. You've got to realize that life is going to hit you."

Before life hits Tubbs and the more than 70 recent graduates who make up the North and South squads, they'll have one more chance to hit each other on Saturday night.

Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at derek.taylor@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.

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PREP FOOTBALL: North stars have strong pedigrees http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140618/DM03/140619152 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140618/DM03/140619152 Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:06:41 -0400 By Tom Bragg

INSTITUTE, W.Va. - Athletics can bond a father and son, and for two players in Saturday's North-South All-Star Classic that bond runs deep.

Fairmont Senior lineman Vincent Delligatti and North Marion running back/linebacker Ryan Elliott will take the field as members of the North Bears this weekend, putting an end to two standout prep careers across multiple sports. Both were standouts for the Polar Bears and Huskies on the football field, but the bond between father and son was on full display in February at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington.

Elliott and Delligatti each claimed Class AA/A individual state wrestling championships this year - Elliott at 120-pounds and Delligatti at 220 - and each of them had their dad literally in their corner.

Delligatti's father Mark is the longtime head coach of the Fairmont Senior wrestling team and a North-South football selection as well as a former state wrestling champion himself, claiming the 167-pound Class AAA title in 1980 for the Polar Bears. Elliott's father, Rusty, is a former head football coach and athletic director at Fairmont State and now serves as an assistant with the North Marion wrestling program.

For the Delligattis, comparing achievements has become is competitive, but good-natured.

"He (won a state wrestling title) and I did it," the younger Delligatti said. "I'm not saying there's anything different between triple-A, double-A or single-A, but I won a state title in double-A and he won his in triple-A and he has to say, 'You got your minor league state title.' I told him that every year I was in high school the best wrestler in the state was in double-A. It's just something we always did but it's fun."

Elliott was nearly lost for words when asked what it was like to win a state championship with his father on the mat.

"It was awesome," he said. "It was just a really good time."

As good as the pair was on the mat, their football exploits cannot be overlooked. Delligatti was a first-team Class AA All-State pick as a defensive lineman for a Polar Bears team that qualified for the state playoffs while Elliott ran for 848 yards and five touchdowns on 163 carries for coach Daran Hays and the Huskies.

This year's North team coach was in the unique position of having to coach against the pair during each season of their high school careers. East Fairmont's Billy Haddox had four years of Elliott and Delligatti on the rosters of the Bees' Marion County rivals. He said each of them being the son of a coach is clear in practice.

"All the kids are athletes but they pick up on things so quick," Haddox said. "When you talk to them they know what you're talking about. They have a good handle on what's going on."

Both players said making it here and representing their part of the state is a honor.

"It's good to know I was one of the people chosen to come down here," Elliott said. "All these guys are great athletes and it's good to know that I'm one of them."

In addition to being honored, Delligatti, who said he plans to coach middle school wrestling next year, said a spot on the North-South roster checked off another item on a list of goals he set for himself long ago.

"It was something that I always worked for," he said. "I set goals my freshman year - first-team All-State, a state championship and North-South game. I accomplished those and after this I just gotta start the real world."

Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at tom.bragg@dailymailwv.com ro 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.

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DEREK TAYLOR: North-South game not always about the stars http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140617/DM03/140619275 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140617/DM03/140619275 Tue, 17 Jun 2014 22:45:51 -0400 It's a fair chance that if you live outside of St. Albans, you are probably a football coach if you've heard of Dougie Brown.

After all, the backs and receivers of 2-8 high school football teams don't get much attention, much less the linemen that block for them. But there Brown was on Tuesday, sitting amid 36 other players representing the South Cardinals at the North-South media luncheon at West Virginia State University.

When he was called out of the rank and file for an interview, his teammates applauded his sudden and somewhat unexpected star status. Brown himself responded in moderate disbelief that a member of the media wanted to speak with him.

Losing does that to a person, even a talented one.

"This means a lot, just to be able to play in this game after going through all that with the season we had," said Brown, a 6-foot-4, 330-pound hulking mass of a man who will start at left tackle for the South at 7 p.m. on Saturday at University of Charleston Stadium.

"It's great to be recognized. It's really an honor," Brown said.

The Red Dragons were 8-32 during Brown's four-year career, and have finished each of the last four seasons with just two wins. A future business major, Brown said Saturday will the final time he puts on football pads.

"This is my last game," Brown said. "I'm going to WVU in the fall so this is it."

A significant portion of high school football stars don't go on to play at the college level, even those selected to play in all-star events like the North-South Classic. The days when the North-South game was used as any kind of college recruiting tool have long since passed, but that's not to say there is less value to the event as a milestone for many young men on their journey to dropping the "young" from that term.

North coach Bill Haddox of East Fairmont showed his grasp of that concept in his remarks Tuesday. Gone was the chest-thumping, if-you're-not-here-you're-not-that-good bravado that was the hallmark of the 2013 North-South media day and in its place from Haddox was a hopeful look to the future.

"The best way to describe it is 'fantastic,'" Haddox said when asked about progress of game preparation. He then, in Haddox's well-documented way of talking off the cuff, assessed the personalities of those who make up the North squad.

"My best way to say to you and to the media and to anybody that lives in the United States (is) if you have any doubt how our country is going to be, you do not have to worry," Haddox said. "These young men, I just hope they're going to lead our country because if they are, we're in good hands."

Football players don't lead a country, any country. Haddox knows that, and so does Brown. Put proven youth leaders in a dormitory and on a practice field with each other for a week, however, and you can watch men emerge with new work habits and even skills learned from their peers.

That is the value of the North-South Football Classic.

"First of all, they're pretty good athletes," said Haddox, who coached the Bees to the 2007 Class AAA playoff semifinals before losing to St. Albans in the last winning season the Dragons enjoyed.

"But they're gentlemen. They make me feel good about our country," Haddox said.

So while the 2014 North-South All-Star Classic will include Hunt Award winner James Walton of Capital, Huff Award winner Geremy Paige of Wheeling Park and a total of 27 first-team All-State selections from 2013, there is far more to the experience of playing in the game than trying to win a football game at the end of the third week of June.

"It's fun, too. That's the important thing," Haddox said.

Brown agreed.

"It's been great. It's nice being able to meet a lot of people and play my last game in the North-South game, it's a fun time," he said.

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