This season, the folks at Coalfield Sports are picking five of the most intriguing matchups in the area to be the games of the week before you the fans select THE game of the week.
Each week, Ryan and Brady, the hosts of the SWVASports Podcast will pick the five contests and be joined by a special guest each week.
So far, the records are as follows:
Guest: 24-6 (Eugene Hilton: 3-2, Lloyd Combs: 5-0, Rick Baker 4-1, Casey Goetz 3-2, Anthony Stevens 5-0, Chase Parker 4-1)
Trivia Question picker: 5-0 (Dakota Hamilton 5-0)
WVVA’s Chase Parker finished 4-1 with his lone loss being Giles’ falter to Radford at Salem Stadium. Chase, however, jumps into a tie for second with Rick Baker amongst the guest rankings. Thank you Chase for participating!
This week’s guest picker is WOAY-TV’s Nolan Knight. Nolan is a 2018 graduate of Virginia Tech where he earned a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism with a cognate in sports marketing and a minor in sociology. While at Virginia Tech, Nolan was involved with the Collegiate Times, WUVT and the Virginia Tech IMG Sports Broadcasting internship. Knight broadcast numerous Virginia Tech Olympic sports on ESPN 3 and the ACC Network. Nolan had experience in baseball where in 2017 he served as the voice of the Green Bay Bullfrogs and in the summer of 2016 the voice of the Petersburg Generals. Nolan worked at WVVA in the sports department in the spring of 2018 while awaiting graduation from Virginia Tech. The Suffolk, Virginia native was a three-sport athlete at Lakeland High School.
Last week, we implemented a new segment to the pick em. Last week’s trivia question winner, Dakota Hamilton, went 5-0 as the inaugural trivia question picker. Congrats Dakota!
Out of the correct answers, we select a person at random to let them pick with the experts and the guest picker.
This week the trivia winner is: Buchanan County Sports’ Michael Dotson! Congratulations, Michael!
The five games are: Gate City at Marion, Galax at Fort Chiswell, Abingdon at Virginia High, RiverView at Montcalm and the CoalfieldSports.com Game of the Week, Tazewell at Richlands.
Let’s get to it!
Gate City at Marion:
Brady: I truly think this one will be closer than many expect. I think that Gate City has a nice ceiling if they can eliminate turnovers. Luke Reed is coming off a 100-yard performance over Ridgeview in a game that the Blue Devils knocked on the door in numerous times. However, Marion showed they can overcome adversity last week when they got down against Lebanon before rallying back for a big win. I like Tanner Tate and the gang to win this one. However, if Marion wants to win, they need to put Gate City away early.
Nolan: Marion – Been on the road for two straight weeks coming off of a big win versus Lebanon. Gotta think these players are excited to be back on their home turf versus a Gate City team that’s struggled.
Ryan: If Marion wants any chance at the postseason, they need a win over winless Gate City. The Blue Devils haven’t looked as bad as their record has shown. Sound fundamentals and catching a break here or there would go a long way towards a win. But I still don’t think it’s this week. Scarlet Hurricane win a close one.
Michael: Marion 38, Gate City 12.
Galax at Fort Chiswell:
Brady: Galax is coming off a tough defeat at the hands of a much larger Northside squad. They will travel up I-77 Friday and take on a tough Fort Chiswell team. Denver Brown is one of the most underrated running backs in the area. It will be a battle between him and Galax tailback Blake Brown in this one. I believe that Galax gets back in the win column in a close one.
Nolan: Fort Chiswell – 2-0 this season at home looking to move to 3-0 after getting their first road win of the year last week. Defense wins ball games and this Pioneer’s team plays lights out.
Ryan: This was a game I’ve had circled on my calendar for a while now. The issue is, as I said on the podcast, the Fort is nearing panic button mode. Galax is not. They are exactly who we thought they were. Galax wins easily.
Michael: Galax 32, Fort Chiswell 21
Abingdon at Virginia High:
Brady: This one is a toss up for me. Virginia High has not been able to figure it out thus far on where their bread and butter is on the offensive side of the ball. Gabe Booth and the Falcons have been battle tested early and I think that gives them an advantage to this point. Virginia High will come out with a bad taste in their mouth after getting whipped by Chilhowie. Give me the Falcons here.
Nolan: Abingdon – comes into the matchup hot off of a big 50-21 win against Central which saw the offense produce their most points of the season. Things are clicking in Abingdon. The train keeps rolling.
Ryan: This is a game that it took me a while to decide on who I thought would win. I feel like Virginia High should be the favorite, but until they hand the ball off to their star running back Aaron Rose more, then I have a hard time picking them. Also, who is the Falcons head coach? Garrett Amburgey. The former Bearcats offensive coordinator. That’s enough for me to pick Abingdon.
Michael: Abingdon 24, Virginia High 17.
River View at Montcalm:
Brady: This one is one I would like to be in attendance for. Both of these teams are searching for their first win of 2018. I think that Montcalm will have a shot at home, however, I think Boo Roberts and the Raiders are too much for the Generals. Give me the Raiders in this one. The Generals are iron man to the t. Four games in 14 days, wow.
Nolan: River View- Someone’s going to get their first win this week. I’m thinking the Raiders are that team. They’ve played in some tough games and lost to some good teams. River View gets it done.
Ryan: Someone has to win, right? River View has played much better than a winless team. Generals will struggle to contain Boo Roberts. River View wins.
Michael: Montcalm 16, Riverview 12
COALFIELDSPORTS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK: Tazewell at Richlands:
Brady: This is the game on the docket that means more to me personally than any game all year long. The Bulldogs are improved. This is the best Bulldogs team since 2008. Chancellor Harris, Mike Jones and the gang did whatever they wanted against Hurley a week ago. They will have a lot of momentum in this one. However, Greg Mance hasn’t lost this contest since 2003. I think his team has shown what they are capable of doing. Race Moir will be the best player on the field Friday. This one will be packed out. Get there early. I look for 6,000 to be at Ernie Hicks Stadium Friday. Give me the Blue Tornado in this one.
Nolan: Richlands – A week removed from a big loss to one of the best teams in the state of West Virginia. The Blue Tornado hasn’t lost to Tazewell in awhile and 2018 won’t break that streak.
Ryan: The Backyard Brawl has some renewed vigor. After a string of lopsided losses for the Dogs, they played better last season against the Blues. Tazewell has athletes all over the field, but they are young. Some of these kids weren’t alive the last time the Bulldogs got a win over their biggest rival. Richlands is coming out of “murders row” and look to get back pointed in the right direction. Tazewell is loaded for the next two years, but Richlands wins this one.
Michael: Richlands 49, Tazewell 21
I am a graduate of Richlands High School—class of 2014. In May 2018, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism and History with a minor in war and Society from Virginia Tech.
My passions in life are numerous. We don’t have all day. This is not the place to divulge into Hokie Football, so I will shed some light on one of my other favorites.
I was born and raised in the coalfields of southwest Virginia—Richlands to be exact. I remember the first time I ever went to a high school football game (Richlands-Tazewell ’02). Since then, a passion has grown that is stronger than the current in the Clinch River. As a football player in this region, I was able to witness the passion oozing out of the hills firsthand. It was something that when I began college, people had a hard time believing the spectacle that is high school football in the coalfields. Luckily, I was able to go 42-8 in between the white lines on Fridays and Saturdays from 2010-2013. I look forward to having another platform to tell you my stories, your stories and their stories. Here’s to the good times and hoping I don’t leave you like I did Coach Greg Mance numerous times—by saying, “Gosh Durn It!”
Let’s talk, SWVA sports, Hokies, history or maybe even barbecue.