Despite all of the hyped rivalries between the Logan County schools many of the football players at Logan, Man and Chapmanville are good friends.
For the last 18 years there was only one time a year they could join forces and finally play on the same team — the annual Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl.
But now that the Senior Bowl has gone away, Logan County gridders are able to team up in another entity — the East-West All-Star Classic.
This year’s inaugural clash, pitting some of the best graduated seniors the state of West Virginia has to offer, has a scheduled kickoff time of 8 p.m. this Saturday night at Mingo Central High School’s Buck Harless Stadium.
Out of the 32 total players on the West All-Star roster, 14 hail from Logan County. The head coach is Logan’s 11th-year mentor Gary Mullins and he’s brought many of his own players into the West All-Star fold along with a handful from Man and Chapmanville.
The remaining players are from Mingo Central, Scott, Wayne and up Kanawha Valley way from George Washington, St. Albans and Capital high schools.
One of the West’s team leaders is running back/safety Brynden “Worm” Street, a four-year starter for the Logan Wildcats.
Street, who is headed to play college football at Glenville State, said he’s happy to get a chance to play with gridders from across the county.
“If you are on my team you are family,” Street said. “If you are across on the other side I’m playing against you. But off the field there are no hard feelings.”
Jeremiah Beavers, a lineman from Man, said he is also looking forward to it.
“It’s going to be fun,” Beavers said. “It’s nice to be on the same team and on the same sideline. We’ve played against each other for four-plus years. You get to know each other really well but then you get to team up for just one time. That’s very exciting.”
Tyler Workman, who starred in Logan’s secondary, said the Logan-Man and Logan-Chapmanville games were always fun but the old rivalries have been all forgotten as the players come together with the West All-Stars.
“We always talk trash when we are out there on the field and get at each other but we’re all teammates now and everybody’s having a good time,” Workman said.
Man’s Cayce Mullins, who played many positions with the Hillbillies, said many of the county players from different teams have always been friends.
“These were the guys that you grew up playing against,” Mullins said. “And now, I get to play with them. Some of them are my best friends. It’s going to be good to be on the same side of the football.”
Matt Chapman, a former linebacker for the Chapmanville Tigers, agreed. He’s the lone CRHS player on the West roster.
“We’re all friends and it’s good to be on the same team,” Chapman said.
Tyler Vernatter, who played fullback and linebacker for the Wildcat, said it’s good to team up for once.
“Out of football most of us are real good friends,” Vernatter said. “It will be good to play with them. None of us have ever played together.”
Tracy Jones, Man’s top wide receiver last year for the 9-2 Hillbillies, concurred.
“It’s a good experience for us all to be on the same team,” Jones said.
Hypothetically speaking, lineman Jacob Vance of Logan said putting together the Wildcats, Tigers and Hillbillies into one football team would make for one mean grid squad.
“If we were all three together at the same school on one football team that would be a lot to handle. There’s a lot of skill spread across the county and that would be one good team,” he said. “Playing together in this game is always something that I wanted to do. We always had to play against each other.”
Ty Yeager, another lineman from Logan, said Saturday night’s game should be a fun one to watch.
“That’s exciting to be on the same team for one time,” Yeager said. “We are usually against each other but now we get to battle as one. That’s pretty cool.”
Jody Butcher, still another lineman from Logan on the West All-Star team, agreed.
“It should be real fun,” he said.
Logan’s Josh Rein, who led the Wildcat receiving corps last season and also played quarterback, said the team is working well with one another.
“It’s different but we’re learning what they are all about,” Rein said. “We’re working together pretty well.”
Logan’s Clayton Marcum, who helped lead the Wildcat secondary over the last few years said he’s glad CRHS, Logan and Man are able to come together for this.
“It’s not really going to be all that weird. I’m glad that we’ve got some players from Chapmanville and Man,” Marcum said. “It would be weird if we didn’t have them. It’s going to make us play harder.”
Daniel Hanks of Logan, who will handle all of the kicking and punting chores for the West All-Stars, said teamwork will win the day in the first-ever East-West game.
“Our team just needs to get our heads straight. Teamwork is going to win this. It’s hard to form a team in a week and then play in a big game.”
Thomas Holt, a lineman from Man, summed it up best.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting,” he said.