Ron’s Ramblings

Ron Gregory

October 15, 2013

Pardon me for pointing it out again, but the sledding to a Class AA state football playoff berth just got miles tougher and much higher for the Scott Skyhawks.

While it is understandable that the Hawks could lose to a powerhouse like Wayne, the unacceptable part of the 2013 season came earlier. In particular, the second half collapse in game one at Herbert Hoover just made the season ten times more difficult. And, as we have seen in subsequent games, Scott has the talent to defeat the Huskies. They just simply quit for a period in the second half.

The intangibles of athletics are amazing to watch. The best coaches and players often lose games. I have no doubt Scott is well-coached and the players want to win. I also believe they have plenty of talent to simply run over the likes of Hoover. And run over them they did for about a half. Then, as I said at the time, it appeared they had forgotten the object of the game by the second half.

What causes a superior team to lose to an inferior one? Lots of things but it is often difficult to put a finger on the exact cause at the time.

Perhaps Scott was depending too much on its air game, after seasons of relying on grinding yards out on the ground. Many, including the coaching staff, said it did not appear the Skyhawks were playing “Scott football.” Maybe so.

But the insertion of Bo Jeffrey and the added emphasis on running the ball appeared to help turn the team around. Not so Friday evening at Wayne.

I will say it again: Wayne is one of the best high school teams in the state. The Pioneers can regularly play with anybody in any class. For heaven’s sake, they could beat several state college teams on any given day.

So, it is no shame to lose 55-10 to Wayne. None whatsoever.

The agony is losses like the one to Hoover that may well prevent the Hawks from making another Class AA playoff appearance. And that would be a real shame because this team is good enough to be playing for a championship.

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All is not completely lost – yet. But we are teetering on the edge. One more loss and I believe the playoffs are a unrealized dream in 2013. So, the Hawks must put on their best game face and play as well as they are capable. Nothing less will get this job done.

Tolsia should surely be a win this Friday evening at Scott Field. Fans need to turn out and cheer this team on, as they battle for their playoff lives. A victory here should boost the squad toward the remaining two games, both on the road.

I think the Hawks are superior to both Robert C. Byrd and Logan. I know my esteemed friend, Raamie Barker, does not. He thinks I am barking up the wrong tree in predicting a Hawk win at Logan. I don’t think so but we will surely see.

Actually, I fear the Byrd game more because of the travel distance. That just isn’t an easy shot to Clarksburg as I know because of my regular visits to the World’s Best Woman. And my trip is shorter than the one from Madison. Tack on another 35 or 40 minutes for the Skyhawks.

Unlike when Lincoln County used to make long road trips and I suggested the players were ready to jump from the bus for having to put up with the coaches, I’m sure the Scott trip will be more pleasant. Still, that is a long way to go to play a football game. And it will take some very supportive fans to make that journey in October.

Assuming the Hawks win those two, then, the showdown with Logan will really be a showdown with everything on the line.

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Meanwhile, Van, as I expected, can claim the Boone County Class A title with their decisive win over Sherman at Van Friday evening.

When the pre-season scrimmages were held at Madison a few weeks ago, I said the Bulldogs were better than I anticipated. They are looking quite well with four games left, in fact.

Of Tug Valley, Clay-Battelle, South Gallia (Ohio) and Man, I think it would be rose-colored wishing to think the Dogs will come out better than 2-2. That would give them a break-even season, though, which would be a tribute to the improved play going on in that part of Boone County.

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I remain convinced that George Washington is the best team in the state, although some of the point totals they give up make one wonder if the defense understands the object of their work.

Head Coach Stevie Edwards routinely does a great job with this team and the addition of his father as an assistant just puts the icing on the cake.

GW likely should have won more state titles than they have but, again, that strange bounce of the ball has cost them at times.

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West Virginia University fans were thrilled the past weekend that their squad had a better-than-even chance of defeating “bye.” Now, it is back to reality for the Mountaineers. My suspicion is that Oklahoma State was not nearly as good as billed, especially in light of the fact that Baylor could have scored 100 points against the vaunted WVU defense without any real problem.

Somebody said they saw members of the Baylor band rushing to the dressing room to change into football uniforms for the second half against WVU.

It might be tough to be the laughing stock of the league if this team wasn’t coached by someone with the ego of a train station.

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It remains obvious, by the way, that the Lincoln County football team just gets better and better. The drubbing they took at the hands of Greenbrier East was another testament that I am exaggerating when I say they are arguably the worst team in the state. As I noted earlier, they may not be quite that but they surely are closer to be the worst than they are to being the best.

That’s a sad commentary for a county that produced some outstanding Class A and AA teams in years past. The old Duval High, under Mike Linsky and Blaine Wilkerson, could play with anybody in the state in any class. Not so the current crop of Panthers.

I still believe the coaching is pathetically weak and has been since the school opened. Someone told me the other day that LCHS needs to “learn how to win again.” That, of course, is a cliché but I wonder when the Panthers EVER knew how to win at football. Not in my recollection, that’s for sure.

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I still occasionally get the inkling that Sherman will, before long, return to some glory days in football. Dropping from Double A to Class A has to be an impetus for the Tide to go farther and do better in the playoffs at season’s end. While there has been some tough sledding of late, I believe the nucleus for wins is present in that part of the county.

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Marshall, meanwhile, actually defeated a Conference USA foe they should have beaten, Florida Atlantic. But not necessarily because of brilliant coaching moves by Doc Holliday. Once again, trailing by two points with the clock running out, Holliday did nothing but center the ball for his kicker. No effort was made to pick up yardage or to score a touchdown. One would think Holliday has the greatest field goal kicker in the game, the confidence he puts in him.

Unfortunately, that confidence has not always been well-served this year. But it was against FAU and the Herd escaped Boca Raton with a one-point victory.

I will have to admit that Holliday trotted off the field and gave interviews like he never had a doubt about that kick. Suffice it to say I had plenty.

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Call me with game results, tidbits and rumors at 304-533-5185. Or you can contact me at the email address listed here.