This is it.
The last hurrah.
For most of the Logan County football players, Saturday night’s East-West All-Star Classic is the last time they will put on the pads and knock heads out there on the gridiron.
Fourteen county gridders are scheduled to take part in the first-ever all-star clash, set for 8 p.m. at Mingo Central’s Buck Harless Stadium.
It’s definitely the last football game for Man High School’s Cayce Mullins, who will be headed to play collegiate baseball at WVU Tech this fall.
Mullins saved the day for the Man Hillbillies back in early June as Man won 12-10 over Clarksburg Notre Dame to capture the Class A state baseball championship at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park.
“I’ll be going to school soon,” Mullins said. “We’ll have fall ball and we’ll be doing that soon. Winning the state championship was awesome. It was great to finally bring one back to my hometown of Man.”
Had it not been for Mullins, Man might not have won the state baseball title.
With the game tied 7-7 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Notre Dame tried to win it on a wild pitch with a runner at third.
Mullins, the Hillbillies’ catcher, quickly raced behind home plate and grabbed the ball, which bounced perfectly off the wall. He flipped to Man pitcher Mikle Scott Rowe, who was covering at the plate. Rowe tagged out the runner and the game went to extra innings.
Man then plated five runs in the top of the 10th and held on to win 12-10.
Mullins recalled the moment and the lucky bounce.
“It was a perfect bounce off the wall. It couldn’t have been any better,” Mullins said. “Any time you have a park with a cinder-block wall it could have bounced any way. When the ball gets past you there in that park there’s a lot of room. We just got real lucky with that and God was with us right there. If the ball would have taken a kick either way we would have been done there in the bottom of the seventh. It went right to me and I flipped it right to the pitcher. That was it. We took it in extra innings and it went 10. It’s been an eventful summer to say the least so I’m excited to play in this last football game on Saturday night.”
It’s not the end of the line, however, for Logan’s Brynden “Worm” Street, who will be play Division II college football at Glenville State. He rushed for 1,444 yards for Logan in 2013.
“It’s a good way to go out,” Street said of the East-West. “I get to play one more game with my high school coach, Coach Mullins, and I get to play one more time with my Logan teammates whom I have played on teams with since I was little. It’s a special game. Not only that, a lot of players on the East team are players that I grew up with and played against and played with. I’m going to Glenville State and I’ll be reporting soon in a couple of weeks.”
Man’s Tracy Jones said Saturday night’s game will be his last. He helped turn around the football Billies from three straight losing seasons to last year’s 9-2 campaign in which Man won its last nine games and hosted a first-round Class A state football playoff game.
“My eighth-grade year Man went to the state championship,” Jones said. “I came in as a freshman and didn’t get to play that much. We didn’t do very well my sophomore or junior years. Last year, we knew our senior year that we could make something of it. Most of us got together, got in shape and lifted weights. We wanted to make ourselves better and make our team better. We carried it out last year and we were successful.”
Jones said he will be splitting time with the National Guard and also going to school.
“I’m in the National Guard,” he said. “We’re going to basic training soon, myself and a buddy of mine, Joey Buchanon, who played line for us. He leaves next week and I leave next month for Fort Benning, Georgia. We’re going to go to WVU also and I’m going major in criminal justice.”
This might not be it for Man’s Jeremiah Beavers, who said he plans on walking on this fall with the Concord football team.
“I’ll be walking on at Concord,” Beavers said. “We’ll be starting camp soon down there the week after this Saturday. Garin Justice of Gilbert, who played at WVU, is the coach there. He’s a really good coach and I love the staff down there. It’s a nice place to play.”
Logan’s Jody Butcher and Ty Yeager said this will be their final football game.
“This is my last game. I’ll be putting on the pads one more time,” Butcher said.
It’s the same for Logan lineman Jacob Vance, although he said he’s leaving the door open.
“This will be my last game,” Vance said. “But I might go up to Fairmont State and play up there.”
Tyler Workman said he won’t be playing ball in college either so Saturday night should be fun to take part in one more game.
“I probably won’t be playing in college so this will be my last game, so this really means a lot to me,” Workman said. “I want to be able to show my kids someday that I was out here. It’s an achievement.”
Logan’s Josh Rein said this will be his last time on the gridiron.
“I’ll be going to WVU and majoring in civil engineering,” Rein said. “This is it as far as football. I might play some 7-on-7 flag football games.”
Logan’s Clayton Marcum said he plans on going to school this fall.
“I’m wanting to major in psychology and minor in criminal justice,” Marcum said. “I would like to end up getting my PHD in psychology and become a forensic psychologist. I’m starting at Southern and I’ll probably transfer to Marshall or somewhere else. As far as football this is it unless I can walk on somewhere.”
Daniel Hanks, Logan’s kicker/punter, said he plans on getting a job soon.
“This will probably be my last game unless something comes up,” Hanks said. “I’ll be going to school to get my CDL’s to drive big trucks. If that don’t work out I’d like to work for the railroad.”
Logan’s Tyler Vernatter said he plans on attending WVU this fall. As far as football is concerned this is it.
“I won’t be playing football anymore. I’ll be going to West Virginia University and I’ll be majoring in engineering,” Vernatter said.
Chapmanville Regional’s Matt Chapman said he plans on attending school at West Virginia State. This is also his last game.
“I’ll be going to West Virginia State and I’ll be majoring in sports studies,” Chapman said. “I might also eventually go to Marshall and major in physical therapy.”
Man’s Thomas Holt was a late addition to the West roster. He’s said he’s just happy to be on the team and make any contributions he can.
“I’m undecided right now,” Holt said, when asked about his plans. “But this is my last game. I was home on Sunday and they practiced and I got a call from one of my friends and he said, ‘come on down.’ I said, ‘Yeah, sure, I’ll play.”