Ron Gregory

November 19, 2013

We KNEW the Catholics would do it, we just weren’t sure which ones. I can hear public school coaches and fans all over West Virginia moaning about Bishop-Donahue, winners in Single A over local favorite, Man. Donahue is a Catholic school, by the way.

I had predicted that it would be perennial power Wheeling Central that pulled the upset but instead B-D upended the Hillbillies in Logan County. This is territory where Catholics are still erroneously referred to not as “Roman Catholics” but derisively called various other names. instead.

I have long disagreed with those who criticize the Catholic schools, maintaining that part of the “problem” is the bigotry that still invades these hills and hollows. I, for one, am just as impressed (or more so) by Catholics than Protestants but many have been taught not to be. In fact, I would much rather attend a Catholic Mass than a “holy-roller” revival at some Pentecostal enclave.

Isn’t it great that I can even bring the discussion of religion into a sports column? Shows there’s no limit. Next week, the benefits of prostitution to society will appear here.

Anyway, public school administrators, fans and coaches cry that Catholic schools have a “recruiting” advantage over public schools. What poppycock! If anyone believes public schools don’t recruit, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that will really interest you for development.

What Catholic schools actually have as an advantage is that they can still discipline students and student/athletes. Unlike public schools, where the Ben Whites of the world dominate any attempted discipline, a Catholic school is private; a student and his or her parents CHOOSE to go there; and the students are subject to the RULES.

Thus and so, Catholic schools win a disproportionate amount of state championships. No wonder; they are better prepared and better trained. Still, religious bigotry prevails in the public school explanations.

As I have said many times, the public school coach whose team has never made the post-season in 30 years probably needs to find another line of work and quit criticizing Catholics and other private schools.

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Looking at last week’s picks in the high school playoffs, I was accurate on most. Actually, the opening round is probably the easiest to pick, anyway. Class AAA number one Huntingon defeated Lewis County, as I expected, and second-ranked Martinsburg dropped Spring Valley. Third-ranked Capital did, in fact, have their hands full but beat Hurricane. Point Pleasant was all over Logan in Coach Gary Mullins’ finale for the Wildcats.

Wheeling Park, though, handled South Charleston, who I predicted to upset them. I picked University correctly to beat Morgantown and Cabell Midland overpowered Washington. My personal favorite, George Washington had a real battle but overcame Oak Hill in overtime.

Wayne marched all over Philip-Barbour, as I predicted while number two Bridgeport manhandled Roane County. Bluefield, in fact, dispatched Ravenswood while Frankfort was too much for Robert C. Byrd. Summers County took out Ritchie while my least favorite team in the field, Wyoming East, lost after I predicted they would take out Nicholas County.

I picked Keyser to upset Fairmont Senior and Mingo Central to drop Sissonville. It didn’t happen that way.

Another Catholic bunch, Weirton Madonna, dropped Tucker County, as expected, in Single A. St. Marys downed East Hardy but Magnolia of New Martinsville defeated third-ranked Valley (Fayette).

As noted, Wheeling Central gave fourth-ranked Williamstown a whale of a tussle but lost in the end by two. Man fell to Bishop Donahue. Sixth-ranked Moorefield did, in fact, win and Greenbrier West was all over my sentimental favorite, Clarksburg Notre Dame.

Wahama stopped Clay-Battelle to end the pairings.

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Now, for this week, the pickings get more difficult. But nothing scares your fearless sports columnist. Again, as last week, you will be a big winner by just copying these picks and heading to your favorite legal or illegal gambling parlor. If you go to a local cockfighting event and have problems placing your bets, just ask for Delegate Don Perdue.

That was a joke, by the way.

I am sticking with my heart and picking eighth-ranked GW to defeat Huntington High in Triple A. Point Pleasant will, I think, be too much for Wheeling Park. Martinsburg will run all over Cabell Midland with number five University springing the upset over third-ranked Capital.

In AA, number one Wayne is far too much for Sissonville. Frankfort will upset Summers County. Meanwhile, second-ranked Bridgeport drops Fairmont Senior with Bluefield dispatching Nicholas County.

In Single A, did I mentiobn there are a bunch of Catholic schools?

Anyway, Madonna, the top-ranked, will get by Wahama. Bishop Donahue will handle Williamstown. St. Marys, at two, is head and shoulders over Greenbrier Wet and Moorefield will be too much for Magnolia.

There you have it. So why fret? YOU know the results BEFORE the games are played; just like a Mingo County election or circuit court trial.

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Bouncing to another subject (gosh, I can’t believe I would do that), West Virginia University Football Coach Dana Holgorsen called Saturday’s loss to Kansas WVU’s “all-time low.” I beg to differ.

It seems to me the “all-time low” for WVU came when they stabbed Coach Bill Stewart, a native West Virginian, in the back and replaced him with Holgorsen. Everyone knows how classless and shabby that was handled.

Plus, it turns out, Stewart was probably a more successful coach than Holgorsen will ever be. Rants that his powerful offense could score 60 points “against any team in the country” have certainly quieted of late. His team will be the first in 12 years that did not make a bowl game. They were inconsistent at best, the mark of poor coaching.

Still, many WVU fans prefer Holgorsen to the late Stewart because Stewart embarrassed them by the way he talked and acted. Frankly, he talked and behaved like a native West Virginian. Anyone in authority at WVU would be embarrassed by THAT.

Holgorsen’s personal conduct would have gotten most coaches fired years ago. Still, WVU keeps him on board. Classless is about the best word I know.

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WVU is not, of course, the first school to knife a valuable employee/coach. Marshall did it to Rick Huckabay, the best men’s basketball coach the school ever saw, and the University of Charleston did it to Tex Williams, another coachng genius.

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Speaking of coaching geniuses, Scott Football Coach Shane Griffith is still holding the head job at the Madison school.

Rumors that Griffith would step down the past Tuesday proved not to be true, although the coach admits he is considering such a move.

Griffith told me he will make a decision “before the holidays” about his future at the school. After 15 years at the helm, Griffith said there are two major questions he needs to answer: does he have the passion to continue leading the team and is he the right man for the job

Griffith did admit to a “big mistake” in trying to take Scott from its traditional rushing offense to an air game. He said “that won’t happen again if I hang around.”

The coach said he is working on his principal certification. “Clearly, that’s what I want to do sometime. The question is, is ‘sometime’ now?” he said.

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As I said last week, it would be a major loss to high school football if Griffith steps down. Here’s hoping he doesn’t.

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Four members of the Scott soccer team made the all-state selections just announced. Brandon Lafauci, Michael Miller, Nick Paitsel and Nick Raby all made it. Lafauci is a senior; Miller and Patsel are juniors and Raby is a sophomore.

Congratulations to the group. It looks good for a team that has only existed three years now.

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And, finally on November 14, “we are … forever Marshall.”

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Your rumors, story ideas, game scores and comments are always welcome. Use the email listed or call my cell, 304-533-5185.