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The Press Box For Week of Dec. 30

By Staff | Dec 30, 2015

The Local Sports Scene is hopping with excitement. Tyler Consolidated has several fine wrestlers, the girls basketball team is winning, the boys are fun to watch and are getting better with each game.

Paden City’s girls are down this year and are building for the future, Coaches Allen Miller and Jamie Natalie are working hard with them and the girls are learning how to play the game. They are a young and inexperienced group, but they never give up and are willing to learn.

The Wildcat’s boys team is 3-2 as of this writing and has been playing well, recently beating a fine River team by 15. Come out and watch the kids play if you get a chance, they need your support.

The Silver Knights seem to always have a good student cheering section as does Paden City. Both schools had the pep bands playing at recent events. Tyler’s band sounded great at the wrestling tournament and Paden City’s kept things alive at the River Game.

Last week, my column some how got cut short, so I need to add to this one my e-mail in case you want to send me anything such as game stats, pictures or any information concerning local events. The address is eparsons@tylerstarnews.com. I try to make most of the high school games but sometimes it’s not possible so anyone who can send me pictures or game stats they will be appreciated. Freshmen, JV, Middle School and grasshopper leagues can send your information and I will do my best to give you coverage.

I was going over some of the archives the other day when I came across several past athletes who brought a lot of excitement to the area.

Sistersville had one of the states finest basketball teams in1969. They were state ranked most of the year as Senior center Mike Carson averaged around 33 points per game. That just happened to be the same year Bellaire St. Johns had the great Allen Hornyak who averaged 44. Paden City lost in the state championship football game to Monongah 21-12 at Fairmont East-West Stadium.

Monongah was led by Nick Saben (Alabama’s Head Coach) as there quarterback and Kerry Maurbury as the running back. That game produced seven D1 football players.

Maurbury and Charlie Miller of Monongah along with Paden City’s Mike Nelson all signed and played for WVU. The Wildcats Dennis (Dink) Blatt signed and played four years at Syracuse while Norman Trowbridge and Steve Stackhouse signed with Miami, Ohio.

The local area has been rich in D 1 ball players. Paden City’s legendary basketball coach Bob Burton was a 17 year old quarterback for Akron University before transferring to West Liberty. Pine Grove had two legends of their own in former NFL All- pro Norm Wiley and Marshal University great Lou Mott.

Paden City’s Richard (Doctor) Stender played for Vanderbilt University. The Cat’s also had Basketball players Don Brown who played for Virginia Tech and D. Bosley at LSU. Another Wildcat great Fred Sapp, who got a full ride to the Navel Academy and later transferred to West Liberty, where he scored 28 points against former NBA player Truck Robinson who played his college ball at Memphis St.

The Wildcats had baseball pitcher Todd Neff sign with WVU where he played for four years. Larry Sine signed with WVU and was their punter and tailback Allen Pryor a wildcat running back signed with Ball State. Many say Pryor was the best back in a long list of Wildcat greats. All three of the Cat’s backfield in 64 ended up D1 when fullback Jim Haddicks signed to play for Ohio University. The backfield included Pryor, Sine and Haddicks. Paden City’s Steve Fox played tailback for Wake Forest and Marty Healy son of Paden City’s Coach Hen Healy played linebacker for VMI.

Sistersville’s Brian Swisher signed on with Marshall and became one of their all time great receivers. The Tigers also had fullback Joel Wilson go D1 when he signed to play for Morehead St. Dan Grimm the great lineman from the Tigers playoff teams of the 80’s signed with Ohio State and Brown was recruited and played for the Mountaineers.

Most recently Tyler Consolidated’s Volleyball great Cameron Yoho spent four years playing for Marshal’s Thundering Herd.

I am sure I have missed some, so if you know any one I have left out let me know and we’ll recognize them next time. There have been so many great athletes come out of these local schools it would be nearly impossible to name them all. There have been many go on an play D 11 Ball. Several have already signed to play next year.

Between the Sistersville Tigers, Paden City Wildcats, Tyler Red Raiders and the Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights I have counted 18 State Champions since 1960 and about 50 other teams including track, soccer, cross country and volleyball, that have made it to state Those my friends are impressive numbers for Paden City and Tyler County.

I won’t even try to name all the great coaches we have had in these local schools, but what I will say is there have been many. Most of our great athletes and state championship teams wouldn’t have accomplished what they did without them.

I appreciate good coaches and I think we have some of the best in the state right here in our area. I have been impressed with the dedication and hard work of most of our coaches. Although sports are seasonal, coaching is a full time job. It takes time and energy to get to know your kids and to see that they work year round to be better athletes. You will never be successful as a coach if you don’t know your kids and that can’t happen by ignoring them during the off season.

It is impressive to see Bob Jones as the Silver Knights Head Basketball Coach. They are young and inexperienced but if you watch, even in defeat they are learning the game. I think Tyler Consolidated is on the right track. Every team from the Football to Wrestling has quality coaching. The future looks bright for the boys and girls because quality coaching is in place.

Just as coaches step in to fill vacancies as they occur, each year new players have to step in and fill the spots. I say to these players, look at the ones listed above and ask yourselves how did they get there? Just as coaches need to coach year round, you need to practice your sports year round in order to get to the next level. It to takes dedication and hard work, competition is tough and you can’t be a seasonal athlete and expect to win.

The names mentioned above is just a short list of some of the great athletes to come out of our local schools. How do you think they got there. If you were to ask any one of them, they all would tell you practice. One other thing is attitude. As I’ve said before you can’t win them all and if you hang your head and pout when things don’t go your way, you won’t be a winner. One coach used to tell us to get our brain back where it belongs.

As athletes, we were always told to be respectful of the officials and your elders. Shake hands with the opposing coaches and team, but when the game starts, friendships stop. Play to win or don’t play at all, it doesn’t mean you become enemies, it means you are opponents.

Which one of you will step up to be the next great athlete to come out of our area, the next one to lead your team to a state title, or to head to a D 1 school, or to win an individual state event? Which coach will be the next to inspire that great player?

Keep up the good work, it is bound to happen.