NEWTOWN – Uniting together is a good thing.
Football players from Logan, Chapmanville and Man high schools get to do that once a year in the annual Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl.
Seven players from county schools have been picked to play in this year’s annual border clash between the West Virginia and Kentucky all-stars which is scheduled to be played on Saturday night at Mingo Central’s Buck Harless Stadium in Newtown.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. at the 5,000-seat facility.
This year marks the 18th-annual event for the Senior Bowl, which was played the first 16 years at Matewan and moved on to Mingo Central’s FieldTurf.
Five Logan High School players – Brant Williams, Chris Marcum, Khaleel Reynolds, Teddy Nelson and Brian Craft – are set to play in Saturday night’s game.
Austin Watts from Chapmanville Regional High School and Man High School’s Marcus Murrell are also on the West Virginia roster.
Wearing the Blue and Gold of West Virginia, the Logan County seven will be teammates for the first and only time.
For once there will be no Logan-Man, Man-Chapmanville or Logan-Chapmanville battle. This time, the county players will be united with one goal in mind.
Reynolds said he’s excited to join forces with the players from Man and Chapmanville and with the gridders from the surrounding counties and beyond.
“This is a nice game. It’s a big game and it’s as big as the North-South game,” Reynolds said. “We’ll make good friends. If we would all combine all three county schools we’d be a whole lot better. That would be a team.”
Murrell said he’s excited to join forces.
Often times in all-star games – whether it be in high school or the collegiate level – players will trade helmet decals as a show of unity and teamwork.
Last year, Logan’s Joe Street famously wore a Chapmanville block “C” on his helmet and smashed the Kentucky defense for 70 yards rushing and a bowl-record four touchdowns in leading West Virginia to a 37-12 blowout over the Kentucky All-Stars.
Players were already trading decals on Monday during the first day of practice. A Mingo Central Miners’ M and pick axe logo found its way on Murrell’s lid.
“It’s a very great honor and I’m really excited to play one last game,” Murrell said. “I’m going to make the most out of it. It’s great to be out here and play on the same team with some new people. It’s different to play with your rivals. It’s cool because we know each other off the field. I think that it’s going to be a good experience. The most important thing is getting the win on Saturday.”
Marcum, who quarterbacked the Logan Wildcats the last two years to records of 8-3 and 7-3, including a Class AAA playoff home game in 2011, said he’s looking forward to playing alongside old rivals.
“It’s going to be unusual and different. I’ve played against these guys since I was 8-years-old,” Marcum said. “It will be something to play with them finally.”
With West Virginia’s collection of talent, Marcum said this is the best team he’s ever played with.
“Without a doubt, this is probably the best team that I’m going to play on,” he said. “I’m really excited. This is a statebound team if we would have been able to play together the whole year. It would have been nice.”
Williams said the team will come together fine.
“We’re going to try and play our hardest,” he said. “It’s exciting to see how it’s going to go and how we will bond together after being county rivals.”
Craft, who will most likely handle all of West Virginia’s kicking chores, said he’s excited about Saturday night’s game.
“It feels great to be a part of this and getting to suit up again and to have fun with some new people and my teammates and my county rivals which is something new,” Craft said. “It’s definitely going to be different because we’re going to be interacting with some new players – our county rivals that we have never played with before. I can’t wait to play Kentucky.”
Nelson said he’s also thrilled to play with this collection of all-stars.
“It’s been a really good experience and I cant wait to get out there and play with them,” he said.
Nelson played along Logan’s offensive and defensive lines but was used on occasion in Coach Gary Mullins’ short yardage “Jumbo Formation” as a lead blocker. Mullins, though, surprised everyone in last year’s road game at Winfield when the 300-pound Nelson got the carry in a two-point conversion and smashed his way into the end zone for a score.
Nelson smiled when asked about the carry.
“That was the first and only time I got to carry the ball in a game,” he said. “I will always remember that.”
Watts, an inside linebacker and long snapper, said he’s also honored to be picked for the Hatfield-McCoy Bowl.
“It’s exciting to be here,” Watts said. “We look strong and I think that it’s going to be a physical game.
This will not be the last game for Reynolds. He’s headed to play football at West Virginia State.
“I’m going to go play college ball at (West Virginia) State and then transfer to Marshall,” Reynolds said. “I got a scholarship and I want to go study business marketing.”
Craft is also going to play at State.
“I’m going to West Virginia State,” he said. “I’m going as a punter.”
This will most likely be the gridiron swansong for Marcum.
“I’m undecided now but I’ll be going to work,” Marcum said. “I didn’t get any scholarship offers, so this will be the last football game. I’m glad that I got one more but it stinks that it’s my last one.”
Williams said he plans on staying home and attending Southern.
“I haven’t decided yet but I think that I’m going to go to Southern to finish my education and to get a degree,” he said.
Murrell said he plans on going to school at Concord University.
Nelson also plans on going to Southern.
The weather is iffy for Saturday night’s game with a 40 percent chance of PM rain in the Newtown area. A high of 87 is expected with a low temperature of 67.
At 2,250 feet above sea level, it’s often five degrees cooler on the mountain top at Buck Harless Stadium as opposed to in town at either Delbarton or Matewan.
West Virginia Hatfield-McCoy
Senior Bowl Roster
1 Brandon Spurlock Wayne
2 Davon Tyson Capital
3 Joe Jackson Mingo Central
4 Khaleel Reynolds Logan
6 Joe May Mingo Central
10 Andrew Johnson Woodrow Wilson
11 Joseph Hall Mingo Central
12 Trevond Reese South Charleston
15 Chris Marcum Logan
20 James Egnor Wayne
21 Brian Craft Logan
22 Trevon Johnson George Washington
23 Brant Williams Logan
31 Austin Watts Chapmanville
32 Aaron Muncy Tug Valley
45 Israel Reynolds Mingo Central
50 Garth Simpkins Mingo Central
51 Dominic Orcutt South Charleston
52 John Thornsbury Westside
56 Gage Gould Cabell Midland
60 Marcus Murrell Man
62 Isaac Parsley Tug Valley
66 Quentin Yates Mingo Central
72 Teddy Nelson Logan
83 Brandon Thomas River View
85 Austin Pyles Wayne