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South Charleston, Fairmont Senior, St. Marys Named Football State Champions after COVID-19 Cancellations

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South Charleston coach Donnie Mays and the Black Eagles won the program's fifth football state championship. (Tom Bragg/WVSN)

The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission declared state champions in all three classes in a press release Saturday evening following COVID-map forfeits canceling next week’s scheduled Super Six state championship games.

South Charleston (Class AAA), Fairmont Senior (Class AA) and St. Marys (Class A) were the lone teams remaining in the bracket following Saturday’s map update, and those three were officially named the 2020 state champions in Saturday evening’s press release.

“You go back to 10 years ago,” South Charleston coach Donnie Mays told WVSN following Saturday’s announcement. “That’s the first thing that crossed my mind.”

Mays is referring to the controversial end to the 2010 season when South Charleston beat Hurricane in a Class AAA quarterfinal game that was marred by a nasty brawl. The Black Eagles went on to beat Brooke the following week in the semifinals, but were forced out of the title game with the Bruins moving on as a result of suspensions stemming from the fight with Hurricane.

“Brooke is the only team in state history in state history to lose the semifinal game and lose the state championship in the same year, now South Charleston is the only team to win the semifinal and the state championship on the same day without playing a game,” Mays said. “That’s the weird part about it, but if we focus on the body of work we did this year and how good our kids were on the field, we have a great sense of that we accomplished is really good stuff. We broke school records in scoring, we have multiple kids with Division I scholarship offers this year, and without those opportunities on the field this year — just the six times — we probably don’t get those D-I offers let alone all the kids who got Division II offers and further down.”

Saturday’s announcement gives South Charleston its fifth football state championship in program history, joining Black Eagle title teams from 1945, 1994, 2008 and 2009.

Mays said it was certainly not the way he or anyone in his program wanted to win SC’s fifth state championship, but he won’t be apologizing to anyone for how they got it.

“Listen, we wanted to play the games. I’m not apologizing for anything,” Mays said. “We had Spring Valley on our schedule, we had Martinsburg on our schedule. Over the years we’ve played Johnson Central from Kentucky for four-straight years and we took on Spring Valley head to head when they were the best team in the Mountain State Athletic Conference and we took our butt-whippins and we didn’t dodge anybody — and we didn’t dodge anybody this year. It just happens that the map ruled out the opportunities to play those games.”

For Fairmont Senior, it is the third football state championship in program history (1946, 2018) and for St. Marys Saturday’s announcement landed the Blue Devils a second title in program history to go along with the 2016 Class A championship.

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Tom has spent the last decade as a sports journalist based in West Virginia, most recently as the WVU beat writer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and with previous stops at the Charleston Daily Mail, the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and the Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky. He was born and raised in Cross Lanes, West Virginia -- where he currently resides -- and is a 2010 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University.

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