THE PRESS BOX FOR OCT. 3
With football season halfway over, there’s still a good chance the Silver Knights can make the playoffs. Walton’s team is 3-2 and could easily be 4-1. If their defense steps up a little, starts making some tackles they’ve missed, and tightens up in the secondary, they are going to be a tough matchup the rest of the way. There were some big defensive plays on Friday like Rice’s fumble recovery and Huffman’s interception. Plays like those will put you over the top. The Knights have all the offensive tools; defensively, if they can get opposition’s quarterback and ball carrier, it can make them a great team. There is no doubt they are a good football team right now. Last week they were setting in the 22nd spot in the state rankings, but with this past Friday’s win over Webster County, they just might break into the top 16.
Griffin Phillips and Mark Rucker may be the best one-two punch in Class A. In the Knights’ game against Doddridge County, Rucker touched the ball 19 times for nearly 100 yards. The Bulldogs’ Hunter America got all the publicity in that game as he carried the ball 33 times for more than 700 yards. Granted, the Knights had their hands full and let a few tackles get away when they had him wrapped up, but if Rucker had touched the ball 33 times, he may have had a bigger night than America. When you do the math they both averaged nearly 21 yards a touch.
Phillips was much better at the quarterback spot than Doddridge was; however, the Bulldogs won the game and that’s what counts. I think Coach Walton has gotten some things straightened out, and the Knights will be a tough team to beat for the rest of the year. Magnolia and Williamstown look like the biggest threats to end the Knights’ season; if they win the games they’re supposed to and can knock off either of these other two, the Silver Knights should be in the post season.
Paden City got clobbered by Cameron on homecoming night this past week, but there was some positive play from a few players; Matt Saxon, Michael Shreves and Ryan Cross continue to impress.They are still looking for their second win, and I think they will get it before the season’s over. They play hard but are lacking in depth and size. If they can get another win, they will probably end at 2-8 for the third straight year. At the beginning of the season I picked them to go 5-5. I really thought they were capable of it as long as the injury bug stayed away. As has happened in the past, it hit early, and they never recovered.
Coach Croasmun has the same problem year in and year out. Not enough players, which always brings about too much time on the field and not enough rest, plus a higher chance of someone getting hurt. Paden City High School is still a great school. They will make a comeback; I hope to see them win some games and be a contender in the next few years.
One of Paden City’s greatest was honored on Saturday evening at the Wetzel County Museum when he was inducted in to the museum’s Hall of Fame.
Coach Burton is one of a kind. Not only is he a great coach, but he is a great person. I have known him for many years, and it was a pleasure to see him honored during a great event like Saturday’s. A large turnout of supporters, friends and former players gathered to celebrate the occasion. The Wetzel County Museum could not have chosen a better recipient. Congratulations to Coach Burton. As always, he was a very humble person who gives all the credit to everyone else. We all know better though.
It was also great to see and talk to Paden City native Jim Hickman, who made the trip from his home more than 800 miles away in Georgia to speak at the event. A few weeks back I wrote an article on Hickman’s life as a golf pro and the accomplishments he’s achieved. It was great to enjoy words with him once again. Some of the Wildcats’ biggest fans were in attendance, and that was great to see. The surprise of the night was right prior to the beginning; as everyone was seated, in came the Paden City Pep Band – blaring out the Wildcat fight song. Everyone came out of their seats to join in. What a great night! The museum committee is to be commended for organizing such a fantastic event.
The annual New Martinsville RegattaFest could not have had better weather. The same could be said for the Sistersville Marble Fest. Both events drew nice crowds into downtown New Martinsville and Sistersville, respectively, and if you were lucky and made the time to visit both events, you were blessed to see the area’s finest.
As I’m sitting here writing, I can’t help but think of the Mountaineer game on Saturday, in Lubbock, Texas. The Mountaineers put on a great first half show – scoring 35 points, but faltered some in the second half, just to put a little scare into us. I never thought the game was in doubt, even when Tech came back to make it an eight point game. Grier threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns, and the Mountaineers put 42 points on the board against a quality Big 12 team. They are now 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Big 12 play. They entertain Kansas at home this Saturday. Even with the Big 12 win and the 4-0 start, there are still some out there grumbling about what they call a big letdown in the second half against Tech. Goes to show you can’t please everyone, especially in sports.
My friend and colleague, Bruce Crawford, and I have completed our Top 25 Greatest Athletes list from the Wetzel-Tyler newspapers. Remember, we chose the team from the names submitted to us. We know there were some great athletes, whose names we didn’t receive, and we know there will be some disappointment. We asked for names and stats; some people submitted names but no stats, so we did the best we could to find them. The Top 25 did not include an equal amount from each school; it was made up of players from all the schools, but the overall Top 25 was based on what we were given, regardless of schools. We also picked five coaches, which was also not an easy job. The team will be out next week in the county papers.
Paden City’s volleyball team is ranked in the top spot in the OVAC Class A ranking and should be able to make a run for the tournament championship coming up Oct. 13. The semi-finals will be played on Oct. 9.
Tyler Consolidated’s volleyball team continues to play top-notch teams in preparation for the LKC tournament Oct. 20. The Knights probably play the toughest schedule for a Class A team in the state and are getting ready for the sectionals that will soon be upon them.
Stick around, there is still lots of fall sports action left. There is still time to come out and cheer on your favorite team or watch your favorite players. Win or lose, this fall has so far been one of the best high school seasons I’ve seen in a long time. The athletes are trying hard and have shown excellent sportsmanship. My only disappointment, as I’ve expressed before, has been the small crowds. Get out on these nice, cool evenings, and support the kids. Nothing is better than getting out among friends and people and enjoying a good ball game. I saw more people at the farmers market than I did at a sporting event. EPARSONS@TYLERSTARNEWS.COM