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: 8-2 (Eugene Hilton: 3-2, Lloyd Combs: 5-0)
Lloyd Combs went a perfect 5-0 last week in his role as Week Two’s guest picker. He picked Union over Richlands, which separated him from Ryan and Brady.
This week’s guest picker is fourseasonsfootball.com founder, Rick Baker. Rick has served as the public address announcer for Bluefield High School football for 31 seasons. In addition to his work at Bluefield, Rick has compiled all-time results for each school to ever grace the gridiron in Virginia and West Virginia. Rick has also begun research on high school teams in Kentucky and Tennessee. Rick began his project back in 2003. However, it has really taken off in the last 10 years. Rick’s story has been featured in the Roanoke Times, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, the Bristol Herald Courier and the Staunton News Leader.
This week, the five games are: George Wythe at Marion, Graham at Giles, Twin Valley at Honaker, Abingdon at Pulaski and the CoalfieldSports.com Game of the Week, Virginia High at Tennessee High.
Let’s get to it!
George Wythe at Marion:
Brady: This one is a toss up for me. I have been hit or miss with George Wythe the past two seasons. However, their slobber knocker with Fort Chiswell spoke a lot about both squads. I think that the Maroons are better than I once thought. However, Tanner Tate and the Scarlet Hurricanes proved more in a win against Northwood last week. Marion gets the nod from me.
Rick:This is one of the more interesting games this week. Marion is struggling but so is Wythe. Whichever one gets the offense in gear should win but I’m not sure either one will. Marion is at home so I pick them over the Maroons, 14-13.
Ryan: This game got a little more interesting last week when George Wythe upset a Ft. Chiswell team that I was very high on. Marion is still largely unknown at this point, beating a team they should and losing to a team they should. Size is the difference in this matchup. Marion by 7.
Graham at Giles:
Brady: This contest would usually be one for the ages. I think Giles is down and that is something we cannot say much. They got a win last week, however, an athlete like Cam Allen was not on the field. The Spartans struggled with UVa-commit Tiquest Terry from Blacksburg in week one and they will struggle with the Purdue-commit in Allen on Friday. Graham wins this one by three scores.
Rick:This one should get ugly really quick. The Giles defense is on the field way too much as there are no game breakers for the Spartan offense. Graham is getting more balanced in their attack and there will be plenty of first half chances. Subs on the field in the 2nd half. Graham 55, Giles 16
Ryan: It will be hard to top last year’s barnburner. This is the 10th meeting between the two traditional powers, although there are plenty of questions surrounding both teams. Graham still has some issues with their line play, and have been susceptible to give up rushing yards. We all know the single wing will get its fair share of yards. But just how good is Giles? Not good enough to beat Graham.
Twin Valley at Honaker:
Brady: A marquee matchup between two undefeated Black Diamond District foes. This is the first team from Virginia that Twin Valley has played all season. However, this is the first team outside of Russell County has met all season. Both of these teams have a chance to meet their win totals from 2017 in this one. Tylor Keen and Brandon Lester have been sensational for the Panthers early this season. However, so have Trevor Dye, Levi Miller and Dakota Casey. I think that in front of a capacity crowd at Fuller Field, the Tigers will move to 3-0 in a contest that will be much closer than everyone expects.
Rick: Honaker is trying to rebuild to the level that they previously reached. They aren’t there yet but they are still a level or two above Twin Valley. Even with the 2-0 start, the Panthers just don’t have enough weapons. Honaker 34, Twin Valley 14
Ryan: Who would have thought these two teams would be playing their week three matchup as a matchup of undefeated teams? Twin Valley has a two-headed monster of Tylor Keen and Brandon Lester. They’ve been on fire to start this season. But Honaker counters with a one-two punch of their own with Levi Miller and Trevor Dye. Home field is worth 3 points, so give me the Honaker Tigers by 3 in their bounce back campaign.
Abingdon at Pulaski:
Brady: EJ Horton took southwest Virginia by storm with his impressive stat line from last week’s 51-0 Cougar win over William Fleming. The Akers-Horton combination is one of the most lethal in the region. Last season, I believed Kade Akers was one of the best quarterbacks I seen all season long. That is also the case this year. Abingdon cannot start slow like they did against Gate City or it will be a long night for them. Cougars win this one.
Rick:The Cougars lost to a strong Northside team by one point and then crushed a weak Fleming team. Abingdon is 2-0 and hasn’t been tested. The slow started against the Gate City Blue Devils speaks more of Abingdon than the finish. Pulaski County 45, Abingdon 21.
Ryan: This should be a great game. Abingdon is resurgent with Gabe Booth under center and the passing attack is back on Falcon Hill. Pulaski features a D1 commit in E.J. Horton, who has quite the quarterback to sling him the ball. Home field will be the difference, again. Pulaski by 4.
COALFIELDSPORTS.COM GAME OF THE WEEK: Virginia High at Tennessee High:
Brady: Tennessee High has been impressive early. Its 2-1 record has wins over Knoxville Central and Lee High. Daniel Boone may have got them last week, but the Vikings are not going to fall twice in a row, especially to their rival Bearcats. The Stone Castle will be rocking. I think the Vikings outman Virginia High in this one. However, the Vikings will know they have been playing in a Rose bush by night’s end.
Rick: Tennessee High has dominated this series recently and although Virginia is much improved lately, they still aren’t on par with the Vikings. Virginia looks good on offense but I fear the defense will give up too many points. Tennessee 45, Virginia 20.
Ryan: The game of the week this week is quite the rivalry. I’m new to being a resident of Bristol, but I’m learning just how much these two hate each other. The Bearcats have a really good team. And I’m high on Aaron Rose at RB. Tennessee High shocked the world with an upset win in week one. I still think Tennessee is a little too much for the Bearcats. Give me the Vikings
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.