The Voice of West Virginia
(Highlights by Teran Malone)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown has scored at least 55 points in their last three games, including a 69-15 rout of University in the 2020 Mohawk Bowl.
Caden Biser rushed 9 times for 92 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cam Rice added 92 yards on the ground. Deondre Crudup and Davon Eldridge each scored a pair of touchdowns for the Mohigans (3-2).
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — News and notes from around West Virginia in the penultimate week of the regular season.
Black Eagles stay perfect with win at Riverside
Sophomore quarterback Trey Dunn passed for 306 yards and six touchdowns as the Black Eagles rolled at Riverside, 56-8. Dunn also rushed for 61 yards and another score. Anthony Jackson and Shyleik Kinney each reeled in a pair of touchdown grabs. Donavin Davis and Jah’Den Estep also had receiving touchdowns. Mondrell Dean rushed seven times for 53 yards and a score.
South Charleston is 4-0 in the ‘Kanawha Bubble’ and is scheduled to close out the regular season at Woodrow Wilson.
Wheeling Park keeps pace in Class AAA
Wheeling Park collected their seventh consecutive win with a 50-20 triumph over Parkersburg South. Beau Heller tossed five touchdown passes for Park. Sincere Sinclair reeled in two of those touchdown passes for WPHS (7-1).
Devin Gaines had a pair of touchdown runs for Parkersburg South.
Princeton passes test against Greenbrier East
Behind 336 passing yards and five touchdowns from Grant Cochran, the Class AAA No. 11 Tigers handled the 15th-rated Spartans, 56-14.
Ethan Parsons had 119 receiving yards and two TDs, while Josiah Honaker added 116 receiving yards on a pair of catches — both of which were scores.
Princeton (5-2) is unbeaten against Class AAA opponents and they are scheduled to close their regular season against Hedgesville.
Berkeley Springs pulls upset at Ripley
A long road trip proved to be no problem for Berkeley Springs as they defeated Ripley, 27-7. Gavin Barkley passed for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Peyton Thompson rushed for 240 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Indians (3-4). Berkeley Springs has won three in a row. The Vikings fell to 5-3.
Sissonville shakes off St. Albans, improves to 5-0
Sissonville will likely remain the top team in the WVSSAC Class AA ratings after defeating St. Albans, 34-20. The Indians outscored the Red Dragons 17-6 in the second half. Sissonville is scheduled to wrap their regular season at Roane County next week.
Independence collects fifth win
Atticus Goodson scored five touchdowns as Independence (5-2) posted their second consecutive win in dominating fashion, 62-8 over Lincoln County. The Patriots have allowed just 24 points in their five victories. They are scheduled to play a pair of games vs. Westside and Berkeley Springs in the final week of the regular season.
Michael sets mark as the Polar Bears double up Elkins
Gage Michael became the first Fairmont Senior quarterback to eclipse the 3,000-yard rushing mark. He did so in a 40-20 win for the Polar Bears (6-2) versus Elkins. The game was played at Tygarts Valley High School.
Michael rushed for 164 yards while passing for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
Clay stays hot, wins seventh game
Senior quarterback Grant Krajeski passed for 160 yards and a touchdown as Clay County improved to 7-1 with a 24-8 win at Grafton. Elijah Payton also rushed for a score for the Panthers.
Tygarts Valley pulls away from Pocahontas, ‘Battle of the Bulldogs’ next
Joshua Bright passed for 190 yards and a touchdown as Tygarts Valley fought off a strong challenge from Pocahontas County to win 33-14. Caden Boggs also rushed for a touchdown for the Bulldogs.
Tygarts Valley (7-1) is scheduled to conclude their regular season at Doddridge County (5-1).
Bridgeport wins 700th game by handling Huntington
The Class AAA No. 7 Tribe picked up the 700th win in program history, topping Huntington, 42-21.
Cam Cole rushed for two touchdowns and threw a TD to Phil Reed to help the Indians improve to 5-1 and bounce back from their first loss of the season.
Hayden Moore added 86 rushing yards and a TD, while J.T. Muller and J.D. Love each contributed a rushing score as well.
Big Reds notch 3rd straight win
Class AAA No. 9 Parkersburg got another strong performance from quarterback Bryson Singer to lead the way in a 37-20 win over Jefferson.
The victory, which was the Big Reds’ third straight win and allowed them to improve to 6-2, featured an 85-yard touchdown reception from Singer in the third quarter that made it 31-14 PHS.
Singer also added 113 rushing yards and two passing touchdowns, while Xadrian Snodgrass rushed for 134 yards and a pair of TDs.
Jefferson got 122 rushing yards and a TD from Evan Tewell to go with 230 passing yards from Sammy Roberts. Spencer Powell had 140 receiving yards and a score in the loss, which caused the Cougars to fall to 3-5.
Point Pleasant blanks Winfield
Despite finishing with only 154 total yards, Point Pleasant improved to 4-2 with a 10-0 win over Winfield.
The contest was scoreless until 7:52 remaining when Joel Beattie’s 1-yard TD run gave PPHS the lead.
A 39-yard field goal from Hunter Bonecutter made it a two-score game.
Winfield finished with only 172 total yards.
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— Story by Ethan Collins
WEST UNION, W.Va. — Herbert Hoover became the first team to defeat Doddridge County in the regular season in over three years, knocking off the Bulldogs 31-14 at Cline Stansberry Stadium.
Doddridge (5-1) had not played a game in three weeks after an extended pause due to the state’s COVID map. The Bulldogs had seven penalties for 60 yards and four turnovers. The Huskies (4- 2) took advantage of several Doddridge miscues. First year head coach Joey Fields said after the win, “We just want to find a way to win, however it may be. I was really hoping that we could respond better after a win. We knew how good this Bulldog team was coming in.”
The first drive was a perfect example of that. With the Bulldogs marching down the field and in the red zone they attempted a trick play. A halfback pass from Dylan Knight resulted in an interception. That mistake did not result in points for the Huskies. Doddridge was able to get the ball back in opponent territory that resulted in a 10-yard touchdown by Reese Burnside. The second quarter was all Herbert Hoover. The Huskies first got on the board and tied the game with a 26-yard touchdown rush by Hunter Bartley. The Bulldogs fumbled on their next possession and switched momentum to the Huskies as they took the lead 14-7 thanks to a quarterback sneak by Nick Grayam.
The first possession of the second half seemed to start in Doddridge County’s favor forcing Herbert Hoover to go three and out. However on the ensuing punt the Bulldogs muffed it, and gave the ball immediately back to the Huskies. This allowed them to get a 14-point lead after Bartley ran for a 3-yard score and put the Huskies up 21-7. The Bulldogs seemed to bring back some momentum as they put their best drive together and made it a one-score game as quarterback Jarred Jones kept it for the score with under a minute left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter got interesting as Herbert Hoover marched down the field. Bartley looked like he was going to go in for his third score, but the running back was held short by two yards. This play sparked a lot of controversy as it looked initially like Bartley had fumbled the ball into the endzone and the bulldogs recovered. Referees though said that he was down, and fullback Zach Paxton put it back to a two-score game. Doddridge couldn’t move the ball well with time against them and needing a quick score they pass their way into a turnover on downs. The Huskies to chewed the clock and ended up kicking a field goal to make it a three-score game and ceiling the victory.
Coach Fields talked a lot about how confident the team is after that big win saying, “We control our own destiny. These guys have never been to the playoffs. In fact, most games these guys have ever won is four and now were looking at a 4-2 record. These guys have serious fight in them, and I think we’re a better football team than our 4-2 record indicates.”
The Bulldogs rushed for 149 yards and passed for 113. The leading rusher was Burnside who had 10 carries for 49 yards, a fumble, and a touchdown. The leading receiver was Hunter Jenkins who had 4 catches for 65 yards.
The Huskies passed for only 90 yards but rushed for 225 yards. They were led by Bartley who had 23 carries for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. Nick Grayam also played a big factor in the running game, getting 13 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown.
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RACHEL, W.Va. — Facing a four-point deficit at halftime of Friday’s contest at North Marion, Robert C. Byrd was in need of a spark to start the change the momentum of the contest.
The Eagles got one from their defense in the form of a three-and-out to start the third quarter, then continued to ride tailback Jeremiah King, who rushed for 332 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-17 win over the Huskies.
With the victory, the Class AA No. 9 Eagles improved to 6-2, while the No. 8 Huskies fell to 5-3 with their second straight loss. King became the school’s all-time leading rusher and was instrumental in helping Byrd secure a playoff bid and record its most impressive win of the season.
“We’re going to keep feeding that horse and he’s going to take us,” Eagles’ coach Josh Gorrell said. “I just love him.”
After getting a stop to regain possession just 1:03 into the second half, King rushed for 58 yards on RCB’s opening series of the second half and scored from 25 yards to give the Eagles a 17-14 lead at the 8:02 mark of the third quarter.
“We talked about we don’t want to come out and lay an egg right out of the gate and put our defense right back on the field,” Huskies’ coach Daran Hays said. “That hurt.”
The Eagles then turned NMHS over on downs to take over at their 38.
“Defensively, we were outstanding,” Gorrell said. “Austin Scott put together a heck of a gameplan.”
On the ensuing series, Xavier Lopez found Bryson Lucas for a critical 13-yard pass on third-and-10 to keep the drive alive, and it ended 2 minutes into the fourth quarter with King’s 19-yard TD run. Although the point-after try was no good, the Eagles held a nine-point lead.
“(Lucas) is so big and long and catches it so well,” Hays said. “King shouldered the load for them. Big players show up in big games.”
The Huskies moved into the red zone on their next series but ultimately settled for a 27-yard field goal from Malachi Funkhouser, trimming their deficit to six points with 6:22 remaining.
The Eagles sealed the win with a thrilling touchdown drive that began at their 12-yard line. Lopez and Lucas connected for a 33-yard pass on third-and-19, before King broke away from the defense for a 41-yard TD run with 1:15 to play.
“The ability to run the football and really grow up and eat clock put us in position to win,” Gorrell said.
The Huskies built an early 7-0 lead on the strength of Tariq Miller’s 81-yard run, but King capped off a 13 play, 68-yard drive with an 8-yard TD run to pull the Eagles even 8 seconds into the second quarter.
Cameron Clark’s 27-yard field goal gave Byrd its first lead of the game 3:26 before halftime, but Brody Hall tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Garrett Conaway on fourth-and-3 to send North Marion into the break with the 14-10 lead.
RCB will look to wrap up at least one home playoff game when it concludes the regular season next Friday at Lincoln, while the Huskies will face Liberty Harrison looking to avoid a third straight setback.
BELLE, W.Va. — Photo gallery from South Charleston’s 56-8 win at Riverside.
(Photos by Marcus Constantino)
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WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. — Wheeling Central Catholic quarterback Michael Toepfer tossed three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores as the Maroon Knights secured a key win for their playoff hopes, 33-14 over Williamstown. The game was played at West Family Stadium at West Liberty University.
Toepfer scored his two rushing touchdowns in the first half. A 1-yard sneak in the first quarter put Central up 6-0 after the first frame. He found the end zone again in the second, scoring from fourteen yards out on a fourth-and-1 play. That gave the Maroon Knights a 14-0 lead.
“Michael is a gamer,” said Wheeling Central head coach Mike Young. “He steps up and plays hard. He doesn’t have the best practices sometimes and he will be the first one to tell you that. But you have kids that play hard. You have kids that come to play a game. That’s what Michael does. He is a leader to the rest of the kids.”
Williamstown responded with a 20-play scoring drive. Brayden Modesitt hit freshman receiver Louis Goodnow in the end zone from five yards out, cutting the Yellowjacket deficit to 14-7 at the break.
Central however would recover a pair of fumbles and score three touchdowns in the air in the second half. Toepfer connected with Jordan Waterhouse on scoring strikes of 41 and 29 yards in the third quarter, giving WCCHS a 26-7 lead through three quarters.
In the fourth, Toepfer hit Vinnie High on a 7-yard strike to make the score 33-7.
“We were confident we could move the ball but we didn’t know how well we would stop them. They have put a lot of points on the board this year if you look back at their scores. I am just proud of our kids and what they did. Can’t say enough about being shutout last week with no game and to rally. Coach (Chris) Beck did a super job of getting his kids ready.”
Williamstown (5-2) capped the scoring in the final minute when Thomas Billingsley scored on a 9-yard run.
Wheeling Central (5-3) entered the week ranked 20th in the SSAC ratings. The three-time defending state champions, whose losses have come against Poca, Parkersburg and Fort Frye, Oh., can secure a playoff spot with a win at Petersburg next Friday.
“We knew we needed it. And we told them this is a playoff game. The playoffs were starting a bit early this year.”
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice and state Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy released the state’s revenue numbers a day earlier than usual Friday and those numbers showed the state continuing to collect more in tax revenue than previously estimated.
Overall collections for October exceeded estimates by $20.4 million. Four months into the fiscal year the state is running ahead of estimates by $110.8 million. Officials numbers won’t come in until the final day of the month’s collection which is Saturday.
The fiscal year got off to a good head start when the Justice administration reported a revenue surplus of $44 million in July fueled by Justice’s move to push back the due date for state taxes from April 15 to July 15 because of the pandemic.
Hardy said Friday said two key components of the revenue collections, Consumer Sales Tax and Personal Income Tax, are performing better than expected.
“We’ve gone through four months of this fiscal year, in the middle of this pandemic, and still our Consumer Sales Tax, which is very, very important to the state’s revenue, is up 6.1%, 6% for the month of October,” Hardy said.
Personal Income Tax is 17% ahead of last year after four months of the current budget year.
Those two taxes makes up approximately 75 percent of the state’s revenues.
The revenue collections have also benefit from the $3 billion the state has received in federal funding linked to the pandemic including $1.25 billion from the CARES Act and the nearly $1.75 billion in targeted (bucket) grants for various entities.
McHENRY, Md. — The body of a man found dead in a wooded area in Garrett County, Maryland Friday morning has been identified as the man reported missing from West Virginia who was the subject of multiple searches this week.
According to Maryland state police, the body, later identified to be that of Hassan Aino, 22, of Morgantown, was found by a hunter in a wooded area of Lower New Germany Road near I-68 at about 8:30 a.m. The hunter reported he had found a body lying in the woods about a half-mile from the nearest road.
The body will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy to confirm the cause and manner of death.
Authorities said Aino had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. They found a .40 caliber pistol beside the body, as well as a half-empty whisky bottle and a baggie of suspected marijuana. Investigators have confirmed the handgun they found was legally purchased by Aino about one month ago in West Virginia.
The body was located in a heavily wooded area near a swamp. It was estimated to be about one-half mile from where Aino’s car had been found on Oct. 22 near the intersection of Lower New Germany Road and Avilton Lonaconing Road. The body was outside of an area of more than 130 acres that had been searched by dozens of police and civilian search teams that had been looking for Aino earlier this week.
Lawyers for Reta Mays, who is accused in the deaths of eight patients at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center, are trying to gather her mental health records to present possible mitigating circumstances during the sentencing hearing that a federal judge set for Feb. 18-19.
Mays faces consecutive life terms for seven murder counts and another 20 years for a count of assault with attempt to murder. For now, she has been taken to West Virginia’s Northern Regional Jail.
Her defense is working to present mitigating factors in the case. Federal prosecutors might call family members of the victims to the witness stand.
A federal judge set a two-day sentencing hearing for Feb. 18-19 after defense attorneys asked for more time than that and prosecutors asked for an earlier date.
“I certainly understand the government’s interest in reaching finality in this matter with respect to sentencing. I even more understand the interest of the victims’ families,” said U.S. District Judge Thomas Kleeh during a Friday afternoon status hearing.
“My job is to ensure the constitutional rights of Ms. Mays are certainly protected and followed here.”
Kleeh also set a 10:30 a.m. Nov. 18 status conference to ensure both defense and prosecution are on schedule to be ready.
Much of the discussion during a Friday afternoon status hearing in Wheeling focused on gathering records about Mays’ mental health dating back to her 2003 deployment to Iraq, where she was a chemical equipment repairer with the West Virginia National Guard’s 1092nd Engineer Battalion.
Lawyers defending Mays said they were still trying to gather some of those records — particularly from her deployment period — that could be key to her mitigation and wanted a March sentencing date.
Federal prosecutors pushed for a January sentencing date, citing age and ill health of some of the victims’ families. Prosecutors said they have been helping to gather records, including the VA’s files on her mental health treatment from 2005 through 2020.
“What is undisputed is that this defendant has had the same psychiatric provider for 15 years, and they have those records,” said Jarod Douglass, a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia.
Mays, 46, of Harrison County, entered a guilty plea July 14 to seven counts of murder and another count of assault with attempt to murder. Prosecutors said the last charge was because the victim lived for a period of time and Mays’ actions could not be determined to be the exact cause when the veteran died weeks later.
Mays began working at the Louis A Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg in June 2015. She was removed from her job in July 2018.
She worked the night shift, 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. in Ward 3A, which housed fragile patients who were not well enough to be discharged but whose conditions did not require the intensive care unit.
Her job as a nursing assistant required her to measure patients’ vital signs, test blood glucose levels and sit one-on-one with patients who required observation.
Autopsies on exhumed bodies have pointed to insulin injections that weren’t needed. The veterans died of low blood sugar level — severe hypoglycemia — caused by the insulin shots.
She admitted to killing veterans Robert Edge Sr., Robert Kozul, Archie Edgell, George Shaw, a patient identified only as W.A.H., Felix McDermott and Raymond Golden while also administering insulin to “R.R.P.,” another patient who was not diabetic with intent to kill him.
The charges and plea followed a two-year investigation that began after the VA Medical Center reported several suspicious deaths. Mays had access to the veterans’ hospital rooms. She wasn’t supposed to have access to insulin.
Victims’ families and their lawyers were able to watch Friday’s status hearing through teleconferencing.
Mays, who wore an orange jumpsuit, stood and was sworn in but was not called to testify on Friday. So she still has not described the reasons for the killings that she has admitted.
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nine of the state’s 55 counties already have a voter turnout of 30% or more heading into Tuesday’s General Election.
In voting numbers released Friday by the Secretary of State’s Office, Cabell, Greenbrier, Harrison, Jackson, Monongalia, Putnam, Randolph, Upshur and Wood counties are showing the highest turnout. Wood County had a turnout of 39.9% heading into Friday.
Early voting ends Saturday and according to the Secretary of State’s Office, 198,445 early votes had been cast through Thursday along with 128,744 ballots completed and returned as part of the pandemic-related mail-in absentee process.
Putnam County’s turnout topped 35% in Friday’s numbers. Nearly 14,000 of the county’s 39,500 registered voters have already cast ballots by either mail-in absentee or early voting.
Putnam County Clerk Brian Wood said two early voting locations have been busy since the early voting period started last week.
“They’re running like well-oiled machines,” he said. “The groups of people we have working them are top-notched. They are in a rhythm and processing a lot of numbers and processing them fast.”
Eight-five percent of the 5,700 mail-in absentee ballots requested by Putnam County voters have been completed and returned.
Kanawha (35,4580), Monongalia (25,703) and Wood (22,393) counties have had the highest number of total voters.
The 327,189 total votes cast heading into Friday represented a 25.8% statewide turnout.
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