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New coaches at West Virginia, Kansas look to start off right in Big 12

LAWRENCE, Kan. — One new coach will have a landmark victory by the time Saturday is over.

Neal Brown is seeking his first-ever Big 12 victory, while Les Miles is trying to pick up his first Big 12 win in 15 years when West Virginia visits Kansas for a 4:30 p.m. EST kick.

Both coaches are also in pursuit of their first winning streaks at their new schools. West Virginia is coming off a 44-27 win over North Carolina State, while Kansas took down Boston College 48-24 last week.

The Jayhawks are by far the bigger strangers to this position. Kansas has not logged consecutive wins against Power 5 opponents since beating Missouri and Minnesota to close out the 2008 season.

“I bet it’s a really good atmosphere,” Brown said. “They’re excited about Coach Miles, and I think they’ll be excited about that win over Boston College.”

Miles, aka “The Mad Hatter,” resurfaced at Kansas after spending two years in the coaching wilderness.He was fired by LSU four weeks into the 2016 season after a loss at Auburn in which LSU ran out of time before snapping the ball on the would-be game-winning touchdown. He coached 11 seasons at LSU after spending 2001-04 at Oklahoma State.

Miles was roundly criticized for running a Bo Schembechler-inspired offense in the modern era, and sure enough Kansas is another of his run-first teams behind running backs Pooka Williams and Khalil Herbert. But the Jayhawks also used tempo and showed formational creativity at Boston College in the wake of a 12-7 loss to Coastal Carolina.

“Last week looked a lot different than first two games,” Brown said. “It was a mix of spread and what Coach Miles has done at previous stops.”

West Virginia similarly altered its offense in Week 3 after ranking 129th nationally in rushing offense through two games. The Mountaineers used motion, tempo and other previously unseen wrinkles to keep N.C. State’s defense on its heels.

“Neal Brown is doing a great job in his first year,” Miles said. “You can tell on offense, defense and special teams that they’re improving. I think that they’re certainly a team on the rise.”

THREE KEYS

Make Carter Stanley win: Williams and Hebert are both capable of breaking the 200-yard mark, having done so already over the course of their careers. Williams had 252 yards against Oklahoma last year, and Herbert went off for 291 against West Virginia in 2017.

Not-so-mighty Coastal Carolina limited Stanley to 107 yards and picked him off twice in Week 2. If Stanley is the reason the Jayhawks offense succeeds, you can only tip your cap.

Ball security: Yes, it always matters. But with thunderstorms and heavy winds forecast, an extra premium will need to be placed on everything from snaps to handoffs to read-option plays.

Sam James: James made his impact as a wide receiver perfectly clear last week, finishing with nine catches for 155 yards. But look for him to potentially be a game-changer in the return game against Kansas. The Jayhawks can’t seem to kick touchbacks — 10 of their kickoffs have been returned for an average of 22.6 yards. The elements are there for James to break one.

PREDICTION

West Virginia 34, Kansas 19: One of the toughest things for any rebuilding program is turning winning into a habit. It won’t be a bit surprising if Kansas had a poor week of practice after its biggest win in 11 years.

Granted, the possibility of a letdown also exists for WVU. But the Jayhawks are deservedly treating their win over Boston College as a major accomplishment, while the Mountaineers seem to see their win over N.C. State as the first step in a larger picture.

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Photo gallery: Cabell Midland stays perfect with 20-16 win over Hurricane

ONA, W.Va. — Photos from Cabell Midland’s 20-16 win over Hurricane.

(Photos courtesy of John Hagley Photography)

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Roundup: Wheeling Central wins with late score; Cabell Midland edges Hurricane

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A closer look at action around the state in Week 4.

Wheeling Central outlasts Shadyside, Ohio

Curtis McGhee threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Creighton with 35 seconds remaining to lift Class A No. 10 Wheeling Central to a 31-27 win over Shadyside, Ohio.

The Tigers (2-2) had gone ahead 27-24 with 1:34 remaining on the fourth touchdown run of the night by Wyatt Reiman, combined with a successful 2-point conversion.

But the Maroon Knights (3-1) had an answer with the late heroics and then made a defensive stand to seal the verdict.

Wheeling Central led 18-7 at halftime, but fell behind, 19-18, early in the fourth quarter.

Jordan Waterhouse’s 55-yard run set up McGhee’s 3-yard TD run with 10:17 to play that gave Central a 24-19 lead at the time.

Rebels roll past St. Marys

Class A No. 6 Ritchie County had its way with No. 1 St. Marys as the Rebels rolled to a 32-2 victory to improve to 3-0.

After St. Marys (2-1) built the early 2-0 lead, Garrett Owens rushed for a touchdown to put the Rebels on top for good.

Ethan Haught then threw a TD pass to Gus Morrison to give the Rebels a two possession lead.

Owens and Tre Moss had second-half rushing touchdowns in the win, while Ritchie’s defense continued with its dominant effort.

Mingo Central hands Sissonville first loss

The Miners (3-1) outscored the Class AA No. 7 Indians, 20-7, after halftime to pull away for a 33-14 win.

Drew Hatfield caught eight passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns in the win, while Mingo Central quarterback Daylin Goad threw for 312 yards.

Parker Shamblin finished with 258 passing yards and two touchdowns for Sissonville, which fell to 3-1.

Keyser dominates in another lopsided win

The Class AA No. 3 Golden Tornado improved to 4-0 with a 49-0 win over No. 12 Weir.

One week after the Red Riders (2-2) won a thriller over Frankfort in overtime, they ran into one of the state’s most dominant units and it proved to be too much.

Keyser shutout its opponent for a third straight week and has allowed a mere seven points this season.

The Golden Tornado led, 28-0, at the half.

Cabell Midland edges Hurricane

Jakob Caudill capped a late 98-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run, sending Class AAA No. 1 Cabell Midland to a come-from-behind 20-16 win over Hurricane.

Caudill reached the end zone with 2:44 to play and the Knights (4-0) hung on from there.

Hurricane (1-3) had broken a 13-all tie with a 22-yard field goal from Cole Bumgarner at the 8:04 mark of the fourth quarter.

The Redskins took a 13-7 lead into the fourth quarter, but Palmer Reggio returned a block punt 40 yards for a TD to pull Cabell Midland even.

Musselman no match for Tuscarora (Va.)

The Class AAA No. 2 Applemen were soundly beaten, 35-0, in an out-of-state matchup.

Tuscarora, Va. (3-1) produced the game’s first points on a touchdown pass and doubled its advantage on Ethan Gick’s 3-yard TD run for a 14-0 halftime lead.

Gick fired an 18-yard TD pass to Ryan Upp in the third quarter, and the Huskies’ defense continued to stifle the Applemen (3-1) throughout the night.

Landers sharp in Capital’s win over Parkersburg

Quarterback Evan Landers completed all but three of his 21 passing attempts for nearly 200 yards to key Class AAA No. 7 Capital to a 35-13 win over No. 7 Parkersburg.

Landers threw touchdown passes of 51 and 39 yards to K.J. Taylor and 14 yards to Chance Knox. 

The Cougars (3-1) got big plays on the ground as well, with Shawn James reaching the end zone on an 85-yard run and Tay Calloway scoring on a 68-yard run in the second half.

Bryson Singer had both Parkersburg (2-2) touchdowns and finished with 126 rushing yards and 117 passing yards in the loss.

Spring Valley stops South Charleston

One week after suffering a loss to Cabell Midland, Class AAA No. 11 Spring Valley responded with a 33-6 win over No. 15 South Charleston.

Cole Diamond rushed for two first-half touchdowns for the Timberwolves (3-1), while David Livingston fired TD passes of 50 and 41 yards to Corbin Page.

Romeo Dunham accounted for a second-half rushing touchdown for the Black Eagles (1-3), but they never got any closer than 26-6.

Nate Ellis’ 28-yard touchdown pass to Zane Porter concluded the scoring in the contest.

Still perfect

Class AAA: Cabell Midland (4-0), Martinsburg (4-0), Parkersburg South (4-0)

Class AA: Fairmont Senior (4-0), Keyser (4-0), Oak Glen (4-0), Wyoming East (3-0), Man (4-0), Poca (4-0), Liberty Raleigh (3-0)

Class A: Pendleton County (3-0), Ritchie County (3-0), Doddridge County (3-0), Tygarts Valley (3-0)

MetroNews Chick-fil-A Game of the Week broadcast

We have a battle of unbeaten teams Thursday, September 26 as Ritchie County visits Doddridge County. Check out the broadcast in live HD video from Cline Stansberry Stadium at wvmetronews.com.

CareSource ‘MetroNews Top Plays’

Got ‘Top Plays’?… We would like to see them. Send videos of the best plays of the week to us using the hashtag #MNTopPlay. The best play of the week will win $100.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for the Week 4 scoreboard

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Wheeling Park’s speed, size too much for University
Wheeling Park tailback Rapheal Bradley applies a stiff-arm to University’s Sage Clawges.

 

WHEELING, W.Va. — Playing with a purpose on both sides of the ball, Class AAA No. 7 Wheeling Park had its way with No. 5 University in the Patriots’ 42-6 win Friday at Wheeling Island Stadium.

“They have more experience than us, more size than us, more speed than us and flat out more talent than us,” Hawks’ coach John Kelley said. “They have a great football team and I really believe they’ll be here in December. If not, they’ll be right there in the semifinals. This is one of the best teams they’ve had since their (2015) state championship team.”

Wheeling Park (3-1) took complete control of the contest in the opening quarter.

After a dropped pass on fourth down prevented the Patriots from scoring on their opening series, Wheeling Park poured it on UHS.

Alex Dunlevy’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Carson Namack got Park on the scoreboard 5:08 into the action, and the advantage grew to 7-0 following the first of six point-after kicks by Andrew Glass.

Dunlevy connected with Shaheed Jackson for a 33-yard touchdown pass on the Patriots’ next series, giving them two offensive touchdowns in a span of 2 minutes for a 14-0 lead.

Both early touchdown passes were short throws with a bulk of the yardage after the catch.

“We want to make defenses have to defend the whole field both horizontally and vertically,” Park coach Chris Daugherty said. “We try to make sure that all gets done early and then from that point, we try to pick what they give us. Tonight, to their credit, they took some things away, but they gave up some things to do it.”

The Patriots needed only 1:42 to go on top 21-0, as University (2-2) quarterback Joseph McBee had his pass intercepted by Hunter Nixon, who returned it 37 yards to the end zone with 3:10 to play in the first quarter.

“They just killed us on the offensive and defensive lines,” Kelley said. “I think he lost his confidence when he threw the pick six and went downhill after that.” 

UHS got into Wheeling Park territory on its next series, but McBee’s pass fell incomplete on fourth-and-6. 

The Hawks did manage to block a 27-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter to keep the deficit at 21, but Tim McCabe sacked McBee on a fourth down play in Patriots’ territory to get Park the ball back.

On the first play from scrimmage of the Patriots’ ensuing series, Dunlevy tossed his third and final touchdown of the night — this one covering 65 yards to Steven Mitchell for a 28-0 lead.

“Dunlevy makes the whole thing go and he’s smart,” Daugherty said. “We put a lot on his table. He makes checks at the line, he’s reading almost everything we do. He has to read the backside of the defense and signal that. He does so much for us. Without him, I don’t know that we could get it all done.”

Although Dunlevy was intercepted by Jaeden Hammack in the end zone later in the half, the Patriots continued to add to their lead.

Rapheal Bradley finished off an eight play, 70-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run 28 seconds before halftime to send the Patriots into the break with a 35-0 lead.

Mitchell’s 1-yard TD run on Park’s opening possession of the second half stretched the lead to 42-0, before UHS scored on a 26-yard run by Eliki Barner at the 2:25 mark of the third quarter.

Wheeling Park won its second straight since a 36-33 loss to St. Clairsville, Ohio, in Week 2. The Patriots have now scored 140 points in their three wins.

“They don’t care who gets the ball and right now, they’re all capable of making a play,” Daugherty said of his skill position players. “That’s hard on a high school defense.”

Things don’t get any easier for UHS next week as it’ll welcome defending Class AA champion Fairmont Senior.

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Martinsburg extends win streak to 46 with win over Academy Park

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg scored 31 unanswered points to extend their state-record win streak to 46 games, defeating Academy Park of Sharon Hill, Pa. 45-8. The Knights entered the game with a 4-0 record and they were ranked 9th in Pennsylvania Class 5A by MaxPreps.

“They’re a good football team and the score really does not indicate how close the game was,” said Martinsburg head coach Dave Walker. “We had to fight for everything we got and they’ve got a nice team and they’re going to win a lot of games. So it was a huge win for us.”

Senior quarterback Elijah Banks tossed three touchdown passes and ran for another score. His 12-yard touchdown run gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.

“I see him getting better each week,” Walker said. “He made some really nice throws tonight and he has been playing really well. He is doing what we expected.”

Academy Park slowed the Martinsburg rushing attack in the first half, But junior running back Naieem Kearney found the end zone three times in the second half.

“First half, they had seven guys in the box and just made it difficult to try to run the football,” Walker said. “Once they loosened up, we were able to find a few seams. We feel like we are pretty balanced and we will do whatever we need to do to be successful.”

A Barry Brown 1-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter pulled the Knights within six points at 14-8. But those were the only points the Bulldog defense allowed. Senior Teddy Marshall intercepted three passes for MHS.

“Teddy is a great player on both sides of the ball,” Walker said. “We probably don’t get him the ball on offense. We only have one ball and we’ve got a bunch a great players. Defensively, he has a knack for the ball and he is smart player and knows what he is doing and just keeps making plays for us.”

Jarod Bowie reeled in six passes in the first half, including a 38-yard scoring strike in the first quarter. Malakai Brown also found the end zone on a 27-yard reception in the second quarter to make the score 21-8 at halftime.

The Bulldogs (4-0) will now face eastern panhandle rivals Hedgesville, Washington and Spring Mills over the next week before visiting their final out-of-state opponent Salem, Va. on October 18th.

“There’s times we need to have more of a sense of urgency,” Walker said. “Sometimes we are walking around when we shouldn’t be walking around. I worry about complacency a little bit. It is easy to start thinking about how good you are rather than getting better. That being said, they are teenagers. That’s our job as coaches to stay on them. I definitely think there are areas we can improve in.”

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West Virginia at Kansas football: Game time, how to watch, odds

If you’re looking for the West Virginia-Kansas football game, put down the remote control. This one won’t be found via conventional viewing methods.

Saturday’s game is West Virginia’s first foray into Big 12 Now, the Big 12’s new partnership with the ESPN+ online streaming service. The channel is not part of any standard cable package and available only with a $4.99 a month subscription through ESPN.com.

In the long term, conference officials hope to put the league in a better position than peers like the Pac-12 and ACC who have had trouble getting certain cable providers to pick up their networks. In the short term, though, fans will undoubtedly have some headaches adjusting to the new service.

The Big 12 opener between the Mountaineers (2-1) and Jayhawks (2-1) is a surprisingly appealing matchup. Both teams rebounded from disappointing Week 2 performances for emphatic wins in Week 3. Kansas won its first road game over a Power 5 opponent since 2008, bouncing Boston College 48-24. Meanwhile, West Virginia smashed North Carolina State 44-27 after sitting near the bottom of the country in rushing through its first two games.

West Virginia at Kansas

GAME TIME: 4:30 p.m. EST
TV: None
Watch Online: Big 12 Now on ESPN+ (Dave Lamont, Mike Golic Jr., Lericia Harris)
Radio (Morgantown): 104.5-FM, 101.9-FM 1440-AM (Hoppy Kercheval, Brad Howe and Kyle Wiggs). Pregame coverage: 1-4:30 p.m; Postgame coverage: 7:30-10:30 p.m.
Radio (Morgantown): 100.9-FM (Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, Jed Drenning)
Radio (Sattelite): Sirius Ch. 121, XM Ch. 207
Listen Online: WVUSports.com
Mobile:TuneIn
Betting Line: West Virginia opened as a 6-point favorite.

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Chemours announces 57 layoffs at Belle plant

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Chemours chemical company has announced it will shut down a production unit in Belle, laying off 57 employees.

“This was a difficult decision, made following a thorough review and analysis of the line of business,” stated Robin Ollis-Stemple, spokeswoman for Chemours.

The 57 positions being eliminated are in the methylamines and methylamides production section. The company says increased cost to import the raw materials needed for production is the major factor in the closing.

The plant is located at the old DuPont property in Belle. Chemours was founded in July 2015 as a spin-off from DuPont. There are 207 employees at the Belle location.

The 723-acre former DuPont site is situated along the Kanawha River and has manufactured various specialty and agricultural products since 1926.

Other tenants at the Belle site also include Kureha, Optima Chemical Group, and Sentinel Transportation.

Kanawha County commissioners said they were very upset by the Chemours announcement.

“It’s a sad day for Kanawha County and the town of Belle,” Carper said. “I’m heartbroken to hear 57 hard-working chemical operators will lose their jobs.”

Commissioner Ben Salango made reference to employment that has shrunk in chemical manufacturing in the Kanawha Valley over the years.

“The Upper Kanawha Valley has been devastated time and time again by the loss of employment in the labor industry,” he said.

“We will continue to strive to provide economic strength, stability and growth in that area.”

Commissioner Hoppy Shores also expressed concern about the job losses.

“News like this never sits lightly on the hearts of the commission,” Shores stated. “My thoughts are with the 57 employees and their families.”

 

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State issues burning ban effective immediately

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As a result of warm and dry conditions, the state on Friday issued a burning ban effective immediately.

The ban will be in effect until weather conditions improve. Gov. Jim Justice has the authority to rescind the order.

Barry Cook, the director of the state Division of Forestry, said weather over the summer was abnormal for West Virginia.

“The state is about nine and a half inches below average rainfall. Since June, our average temperatures have been 15 to 18 degrees above normal,” he said. “Our relative humidity over that relative period of time has been somewhere in the range of 15 to 18 points below our average relative humidity.”

Cook added the state has not seen conditions like this for 10 years.

“We normally don’t experience this until late in October,” he said.

Fires excluded from restrictions include fires for chemical production, fires for commercial land-clearing efforts, training fires, fires for commercial outdoor cooking and liquid-fueled gas fires such as grills and lanterns.

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Wheeling Suspension Bridge may be closed for the next year

WHEELING, W.Va. — Beginning on Tuesday, the historic Wheeling Suspension Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic and may remain that way for more than a year.

State Secretary of Transportation Byrd White told the Wheeling News-Register on Friday that the bridge could be closed for at least a year, citing safety concerns.

The bridge reopened in August after being closed for six weeks due to damage from an overweight charter bus traveling on it.

State Division of Highways crews installed new lower barriers to keep oversized vehicles off the bridge.The barriers on the bridge are now 7 feet, 6 inches which are controlled by hard constraints and there was a 2-ton, 4,000-pound, weight limit and a law to maintain a 50’ minimum distance between vehicles.

The driver of the Pennsylvania-based Lenzner Tour and Travel/Coach USA bus was cited in the June 29 incident for being an overweight vehicle and failure to maintain a traffic control device after violating the two-ton weight limit.

Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott had previously told MetroNews the sway cables were damaged on the Island side of the bridge in the incident and one or two more overweight buses on the bridge in its condition could lead to a “catastrophic result.”

The bridge, which turns 170 years old this year and connects downtown Wheeling to Wheeling Island, was already scheduled to have a complete rehabilitation by the DOH in 2020 or early 2021. White told the Intelligencer, once the rehab project is finished, the DOH will reevaluate the closure.

For now, pedestrians and bicyclists will be permitted to use the bridge.

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Photo gallery: Fairmont Senior earns 34-15 win at Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The Class AA top-ranked Polar Bears started fast and finished strong to win at No. 2 Bridgeport on Thursday night.

(Photos by Greg Carey)

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