On tap Friday: It's Mineral County vs. Hancock County
By Chapin Jewell
Tonight, the Frankfort Falcons of Mineral County welcome the Weir Red Riders of Hancock County to Falcon Stadium in Short Gap. Also tonight, the Keyser Golden Tornado of Mineral County travel to Oak Glen of Hancock County to take on the Bears.
Keyser and Weir can wave at each other somewhere on Interstate 79 or 68 while in route to their respective contests.
There is brief but dramatic history between Frankfort and Weir and none between Keyser and Oak Glen. Frankfort and Weir have met once, one year ago in Weirton, where Frankfort fell to the Red Riders 28-27 in overtime. Keyser and Oak Glen have never met on the gridiron.
Frankfort opened the season by dispatching Hampshire on the new turf at Rannells Field by a shutout score of 46-0. In the victory, Frankfort outgained Hampshire in total yards 475-151, with 381 yards coming on the ground and 94 through the air. Jansen Moreland and Peyton Clark each scored two touchdowns apiece to lead the Falcons on the night.
Weir, by contrast, opened the season with a sound 46-8 defeat at the hands of John Marshall. Weir, described as being a very young team, found themselves behind 35-0 at halftime to the Monarchs. John Marshall sophomore Dalton Flowers rushed for 292 yards and three touchdowns against the Red Riders defense.
Despite the restricted crowd, there is sure to be electricity in the air at Falcon Stadium tonight with the debut of the Falcon Marching Band, the cheerleaders, and the crowning of Miss Falcon. Plus there’s Frankfort’s desire to pay Weir back for the loss last year.
“Up there last year, I don’t like making excuses, but we got hosed out of that game. I want that one real bad, I’ve wanted it for a year. That was the most horrible bus ride, other than the night coming back from Wayne, that was a horrible bus ride coming home because I thought that, the kids won the game, and I feel like they had it taken from them,” Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman stated after the Hampshire game last week.
According to Whiteman, “It’s going to be neat to be back at Falcon Stadium for the first time this year, and hopefully the band and cheerleaders will be there and can do some things and it will make for a nice environment.”
Under the leadership of Kevin Whiteman, Frankfort is 8-2 all-time in home opening games.
Keyser opened the season with a 61-33 road victory at Berkeley Springs. While the point tally is the second most points Keyser has ever given up to Berkeley Springs, it’s also the second most points the Golden Tornado has ever scored against Berkeley Springs.
Keyser amassed nearly 700 total offensive yards with over 600 coming on the ground. Drae Allen and Zion Powell alone accounted for over 360 of those yards on the ground. Quarterback Gavin Root also passed for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
Oak Glen opened the season by traveling to Point Pleasant and smashing the Big Blacks by a score of 36-13. The Golden Bears scored all 36 points in the first half and led Point Pleasant 36-0 at the break. The Golden Bears rushed for 214 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 159 yards and another touchdown.
Oak Glen was a state semi-finalist a season ago who went 12-1 and lost to eventual state champion Bridgeport. They return the bulk of that talented lineup on both sides of the ball. In Oak Glen, Keyser will face a formidable opponent.
“First of all, they’re a pretty darn good team. They’ve got two brothers in the backfield that are really good, the one had three or four touchdowns last week so he’s good with the ball in his hands. They are very senior laden, they have a four year starter at quarterback, so we’re going to have our work cut out with them,” Keyser coach Derek Stephen stated.
According to Stephen, “Our week has been pretty good. Monday was pretty good, Tuesday we had a bit of a lull, but today we were back good again. So, I think we’re trending in the right direction right now. The biggest things we’re going to have to do is move the football, possess it as much as possible, and put up some points, because I think they’re going to score some.”
“We’re going to know exactly where we are, that’s for darn sure. Right now on paper, they’re one of the best in class AA. So we’re going to know after the game where we stand, whether we’re going to be there or still have a lot of work to do,” Stephen explained.
In the battle of Mineral County versus Hancock County, here’s to hoping for two Mineral County wins.