The boys from the Bluegrass State held a 4-1 all-time series advantage and there was talk about how the West Virginia All-Stars could not compete against their counterparts from across the Tug River.
But my, how things have changed.
Now it’s the exact opposite as West Virginia has won eight out of the last nine contests, including six in a row. The only victory during the span by Kentucky was back in 2003 as the Bluegrass State team won in a 40-36 shootout.
West Virginia now has an 9-5 lead in the all-time series and would like nothing more than to keep the bragging rights on this side of the border.
The 15th-annual Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl, pitting the top graduated high school football stars from eastern Kentucky against those from southern West Virginia, is scheduled to be played on Saturday, July 31 at Matewan High School’s Tiger Stadium.
Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m.
The Hatfield-McCoy Bowl, which was started by Matewan football coach Danny “Yogi” Kinder, began in 1996 and has been held every year since. The forerunner of the game, the Kiwanis Bowl, used to be played at Williamson’s Lefty Hamilton Park and has its origins back in the 1950s.
Kinder, who still serves as the Hatfield-McCoy Bowl Game Director, reorganized the all-star grid game and moved it to Matewan.
The game allows senior football players one last chance to play with and against their high school rivals and pick up scholarships along the way.
The Senior Bowl has been sponsored each year by Massey Energy.
“I am honored to bring you the 15th-annual event here in our historic hometown of Matewan,” said Kinder in a statement. “This rivarly between the West Virginia and Kentucky All-Stars will give many of our athletes the opportunity to compete for scholarships, make lasting friends and take home some great memories. As always, without the continued support of our special friends at Massey Energy and you, our devoted fans, this event would not be possible. To each of you I extend my appreciation. It is my hope and desire that each participant enjoys themselves as much as I enjoy this great game of football. Good luck to all.”
Here’s a look back at the first 14 years of the bowl game:
2009: West Virginia 30, Kentucky 12
Led by 14 Logan County players, the West Virginia All-Stars beat Kentucky 30-12 to win the Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl for the sixth year in a row.
West Virginia led Kentucky 21-6 at the half and never looked back.
The Mountain State team expanded the lead to 27-6 at the 9:55 mark of the third quarter as Matewan High School’s Roger Slone ran in from 19 yards out.
Josh Wilson of Logan High School then booted a 23-yard field goal at the 2:45 mark to make it a 30-6 ballgame.
Kentucky’s Dennis Dillon scored a late fourth quarter TD to set the final score.
West Virginia quarterback Josh Sammons of Matewan scored on a 1-yard TD plunge to make it 7-0.
Then, following an interception by Chapmanville Regional High School’s Zach Belcher, West Virginia made it 14-0 on Slone’s 13-yard TD run. Chapmanville tailback David Wiley also helped set up the score with a 22-yard run.
Sammons hit Matewan teammate Max Whitt on a 51-yard TD strike to up the lead to 21-6.
John Fry, an assistant coach at Matewan,was the West Virginia All-Stars coach. Jesse Peck of Phelps High School (Ky.) was the head coach of the Kentucky team.
Slone was named as the West Virginia Offensive MVP. Logan’s Sammy Pansera was the Defensive MVP.
Tug Valley High School’s Katelynn Colegrove was named at halftime as the Massey Energy Hatfield-McCoy Bowl Queen.
2008: West Virginia 20, Kentucky 12
The West Virginia All-Stars jumped out to a 20-12 lead at halftime and ended up beating Kentucky by the same score to win its fifth straight Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl.
West Virginia looked like it would win by a wider margin but had a touchdown called back in the second half and were unable to score on three different red zone chances. The game was marred by numerous penalties and turnovers.
Kentucky, coached by Butch Joplin, only dressed 19 players for the game – 11 short of the maximum of 30 which are allowed.
West Virginia, coached by Matewan assistant John Fry, was led by Offensive MVP Chris Johnson of Tolsia High School, who caught two touchdown passes of 44 and 9 yards on gadget plays from Wayne running back Rodney Endicott.
Williamson’s James Endicott was West Virginia’s Defensive MVP.
Pikeville High School quarterback Tim Honaker and Jimbo Stanley of Belfry, were Kentucky’s MVP’s.
West Virginia outgained Kentucky 270-178 in total yards.
Chapmanville Regional High School’s Matt Collins had a 10-yard sack during the game.
Kirsten Stratton of Phelps (Ky.) High School was named as the H-M Bowl Queen at halftime.
2007: West Virginia 22, Kentucky 14
The West Virginia All-Stars continued its winning ways with a 22-14 victory over Kentucky in the 2007 Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl.
Gilbert High School’s Jeremy Brown passed for 113 yards and fired two first half touchdowns while Matewan’s Paul McCoy returned a punt 69 yards for another score.
West Virginia was coached by Matewan assistant Tim Dixon, while Kentucky’s head mentor was Butch Joplin.
Belfry High School’s Corey Chapman rushed for 128 yards for Kentucky.
Brown was the Offensive MVP for West Virginia, while Wayne’s Todd Mays was the Defensive MVP.
Chapman and Sheldon Clark High School’s Danny Hinkle were the MVP’s for the Kentucky All-Stars.
Matewan’s Katie Adkins was crowned as the H-M Bowl Queen.
2006: West Virginia 32, Kentucky 19
Led by skilled position players from Logan County, the West Virginia All-Stars exploded for a 32-19 win over Kentucky in the 2006 Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl.
Man High School’s Andrew McDonald, West Virginia’s Offensive MVP, ran all over the field as he rushed for 205 yards on just 12 carries and scored three touchdowns.
McDonald had led Man to an 8-4 record and playoff victory the previous fall.
Red Jacket community neighbors Melvin Cunningham and Butch Joplin coached the West Virginia and Kentucky all-star teams, respectively.
Kentucky was held to just 97 yards rushing on 26 carries for the game.
Kentucky, however, completed eight passes for 224 yards.
Logan High School’s Cornelius Godfrey was the Defensive MVP for West Virginia.
Steve Thacker of East Ridge (Ky.) High School and Prestonsburg (Ky.) High School’s David Shafer were the MVP’s for the Kentucky All-Stars.
Logan’s Anitra Kelly was the Hatfield-McCoy Bowl Queen.
2005: West Virginia 7,
The West Virginia All-Stars tied the Hatfield-McCoy Bowl series 5-5 with a 7-6 win over Kentucky in the 2005 game.
Man High School’s Justin Fekete opened up the scoring for West Virginia with a 7-yard touchdown run. He then booted the extra point to make it 7-0.
Kentucky got on the board when Joe Blackburn of Prestonsburg scored on a 60-yard touchdown run. The PAT was no good and that’s the way the score stayed.
The MVP’s for the game were Josh Holt and Fekete for West Virginia and Blackburn and Pikeville’s Josh Sullivan for Kentucky.
West Virginia’s coach was Gordon Carter of Gilbert, while Kentucky was led by Greg Varney of Belfry.
Burch High School’s Kayla Brown was crowned as the H-M Bowl Queen at halftime.
2004: West Virginia 8,
An 8-0 victory by the West Virginia All-Stars in the 2004 Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl closed the series gap to 5-4 in favor of Kentucky.
Tom Posey from Mason County, Ky., coached the Bluegrass State team, while Matewan assistant Terry Joe Harrison led the West Virginia All-Stars.
MVP’s for West Virginia were Terrence Pruitt from Matewan and Brandon Browning of Logan.
Kentucky’s MVP’s were Tyler Bostic of Belfry and Andre Turner of Mason County.
Ashley Tussey from Belfry was named queen.
2003: Kentucky 40,
West Virginia 36
In the highest scoring Hatfield-McCoy Bowl game to date it was Kentucky which won a 40-36 shootout in 2003.
West Virginia was led by head coach George Barker of Logan, while Butch Joplin coached Kentucky.
The game had a number of standout performers.
West Virginia was led by Scott’s Will Hatfield, Williamson’s G. Gregory, Matewan’s Todd Adkins and Iaeger’s Nathan Newberry.
Kentucky was led by Pikeville’s Paul Sullivan, Prestonsburg’s Joey Willis, Pike Central’s Justin McCurry, Paintsville’s Ryan Jarrell and Sheldon Clark’s Xavier Manning and Anthony Potter.
Gregory and Hatfield were named co-MVP’s on offense for West Virginia. Andrew Linville was the Defensive MVP.
For Kentucky, Sullivan and Ryan Brown were the MVPs.
Jennifer Redman of Logan High School was named as the Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl Queem.
2002: West Virginia 14, Kentucky 12
The West Virginia All-Stars rallied from a 6-0 deficit to beat Kentucky, 14-12, in the 2002 Hatfield-Bowl Senior Bowl.
Iaeger’s Eddie Bailey scored on a 1-yard TD run for West Virginia. Ryan Bailey, also of Iaeger, was named as the bowl game MVP. He dashed in for a 75-yard touchdown on an interception return.
West Virginia cut the all-time series margin to 4-3 with the win.
Burch’s Belinda Blankenship was crowned as the bowl’s queen.
2001: West Virginia 14, Kentucky 6
Defense was again king in the 2001 Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl as West Virginia scored a 14-6 victory over the Kentucky All-Stars, cutting the series margin to 4-2.
The victory snapped a three-game winning streak by Kentucky.
Gilbert’s Gordon Carter coached the West Virginia All-Stars, while Paul May of Belfry led the Bluegrass State squad.
Matewan’s F.D. Horton received Offensive MVP honors for West Virginia. Horton’s cousin, Curtis Childress of Belfry, was the Offensive MVP for Kentucky.
Pikeville’s Mark Jacobson and Gilbert’s Brandon Mounts were the defensive MVP’s.
Belfry’s Tia Fletcher was crowned as the bowl queen at halftime.
2000: Kentucky 6,
West Virginia 0
It was an offensive struggle in the 2000 Hatfield-McCoy Bowl as Kentucky outlasted West Virginia and the elements to score a 6-0 victory.
A torrential downpour and thunderstorm left the field a muddy mess but Kentucky was able to score a touchdown as Shelby Valley High School running back Dusty Hall, an unlikely hero in the bowl, scored the only points of the game.
Kentucky jumped to a 4-1 all-time series lead with the win.
Paul May coached Kentucky, while Matewan assistant coach Danny Perkins led the West Virginia squad.
Phelps High School’s Devin Stiltner was named as the H-M Bowl Queen.
1999: Kentucky 18,
West Virginia 12 (OT)
Kentucky needed overtime to beat the West Virginia All-Stars, 18-12, in the 1999 version of the Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl.
The victory gave Kentucky a 3-1 all-time series lead.
Tied 12-12 after regulation, Kentucky scored on its first overtime possession with a pass from Sheldon Clark’s Harley Hammond to Belfry’s Matt Little.
West Virginia was dropped back to the 12-yard line on its OT possession and failed to score.
Matewan coach Danny “Yogi” Kinder led the West Virginia team, while David Clusky of Phelps was the Kentucky head coach.
Man High School’s Tim Boykins was named as the Offensive MVP and Man classmate Chad Lusk was given the defensive honors. For Kentucky, John Ortega of Prestonsburg, took home the offensive honors while Joey Stepp of Sheldon Clark was the Defensive MVP. Stepp would later start on the offensive line at Marshall University.
Belfry’s Bobbi Taylor was crowned queen at halftime.
1998: Kentucky 22,
West Virginia 19
Kentucky retook a 2-1 series lead in the Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl with a 22-19 victory over Coach Tony Clusky’s West Virginia team.
West Virginia trailed throughout the contest but Williamson High School’s Jason Brown connected on a 3-yard TD pass to Chris Southers to pull the Hatfields to within three points at 22-19 with only 1:27 left in the contest.
Kentucky coach Paul May’s squad then fumbled on its next possession to give West Virginia one last shot. Brown, though, threw an interception with just 11 seconds remaining in the game.
Kentucky quarterback B.J. Daniels of Johnson Central High School in Paintsville, was named as the bowl MVP. Gilbert’s Daniel Carter was the Star of Stars for West Virginia.
South Floyd (Ky.) High School running back Katrin Mays rushed for 81 yards to lead the Bluegrass State team, including a 68-yard jaunt.
Williamson’s Christina Anderson was crowned at halftime as the H-M Bowl Queen.
1997: West Virginia 11, Kentucky 0
The West Virginia All-Stars tied the series 1-1 with an 11-0 victory over Kentucky in the second-ever Hatfield-McCoy Bowl in 1997.
Burch coach Doug Ward led the victorious West Virginia All-Star team, while Sheldon Clark’s Jim Matney was the head mentor for Kentucky.
The game’s lone touchdown came on a 68-yard fumble recovery by Tug Valley High School’s Roger Davis. West Virginia also scored on the two-point conversion and later booted a field goal to account for the 11 points.
Tolsia’s Jim Pertee was named as the West Virginia Star of Stars, while Pikeville running back Brent Coleman picked up the honors for the Kentucky All-Stars.
Logan High School’s Michael “Kool-Aid” Owens, a future star in the Marshall University secondary in the late 1990s and early 2000s, played for the West Virginia All-Stars in the game.
Pikeville’s Stacy Rose was named as the bowl queen.
1996: Kentucky 7,
West Virginia 0
In the inaugural Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl game in 1996, Kentucky beat its neighbor West Virginia, 7-0, at Matewan High School.
Belfry High School’s Adam Eastwood scored on a 2-yard touchdown run for the only points of the game.
Former Pikeville High School head coach Hillard Howard was the mentor of the winning Kentucky team.
Gilbert coach Gordon Carter led the West Virginia All-Stars.
Matewan’s Jennifer Whitt was crowned as the first Hatfield-McCoy Bowl Queen during halftime festivities.