If high school football is to continue its season this year West Virginia, coaches and administrators are going to have be creative and flexible in their scheduling.
If you need a blueprint, look at the opening week of football this season for Cabell Midland.
The Knights began last week with the knowledge that their scheduled Week 1 opponent, Riverside, would not be allowed to play due to the state’s COVID-19 metric shutting down all games involving schools from Kanawha County (among several others). On Thursday, WVSN reported that Midland would fill that open spot on its schedule with a scrimmage at Class AA power Fairmont Senior on Friday afternoon.
When Friday afternoon came, the Knights had made the trip north to East-West Stadium but their scheduled scrimmage against the Polar Bears wasn’t going to be a normal scrimmage. Monongalia County turned red on the state COVID-19 map Friday, which wiped out University High’s game at Parkersburg South. With about five hours notice, Cabell Midland took University’s place on South’s schedule, loaded up its varsity team that was present in Fairmont and shipped them off to Wood County. The Knights junior varsity squad stayed behind go ahead with the scrimmage against Fairmont Senior.
Got all that? It’s OK if you don’t, there were a lot of moving parts that came together to get the Knights a game at Parkersburg South at the last minute.
Still, with no time to prepare for South — a team coming off a Class AAA state semifinal appearance in 2019 — it would have been forgivable if Midland did not play its best game Friday. The trouble with that line of thinking, however, is that it goes both ways. Yes, Parkersburg South was a very good team last season, but so were the Knights and Cabell Midland has a lot of important pieces back from last season’s Class AAA state runner-up squad. Midland didn’t have time to prepare for South, but South didn’t have time to prepare for Midland and the Knights made the Patriots pay for that. South kept it close for quarter before Cabell Midland pulled away for an eventual 69-34 win at Erickson All-Sports Facility in Parkersburg.
Senior Jakob Caudill, pictured above accepting an award as last season’s team-MVP in the state title game, punished South with 196 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries. It is way too early to start naming Player of the Year contenders, but if Cabell Midland is as good as it appears to be this season and Caudill continues putting up those numbers for the Knights he will certainly be a name that is talked about late in the season.
WEEK 1 NOTES
- Poca was as good as expected in its 34-6 win at three-time defending Class A state champion Wheeling Central on Saturday. 2019 Kennedy Award winner Ethan Payne, a Marshall commit, accounted for four touchdowns as the Dots collected five turnovers against the Maroon Knights in the win.
- New Spring Valley quarterback Jack Roy was one of WVSN’s Players to Watch in 2020, and he put on a show in his debut for the Timberwolves. Roy threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as Spring Valley smashed visiting Parkersburg 42-7. Roy is like Cabell Midland’s Caudill in that if the Timberwolves are as good as advertised and he keeps producing like he did against Parkersburg then we’ll be talking about him when it comes times to start handing out awards.
Every week in this space we will highlight five (not yet mentioned) results from each class that caught our eye:
- Musselman 49, Jefferson 6
- Hurricane 21, Huntington 6
- Ripley 42, Buckhannon-Upshur 0
- Brooke 42, Hedgesville 7
- John Marshall 48, Weir (AA) 6
- Oak Glen 36, Point Pleasant 13
- North Marion 32, Preston (AAA) 0
- Liberty (Harrison) 38, South Harrison (A) 0
- Frankfort 46, Hampshire (AAA) 0
- Independence 71, PikeView 0
- Tug Valley 22, Sherman 0
- Pendleton County 28, Wyoming East (AA) 0
- Ritchie County 26, Magnolia 0
- Tolsia 32, Richwood 0
- Gilmer County 53, Webster County 6