The WVHuddle.com Prep Football Podcast was elevated to another level last week when Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille gave us the opportunity to film and record the 30-ish minute show inside their restaurant.
This week, we took another step by growing our panel to four people with the addition of veteran sportswriter Rick Ryan. Ryan joined three other Gazette-Mail sportswriters: Derek Taylor, Tom Bragg and Ryan Pritt. Bragg, in essence, is the host of the show and is our version of John Stockton — without the short shorts. Bragg distributes to Taylor, our assistant sports editor and coordinator of preps coverage, and Rick Ryan and Ryan Pritt, who provide the bulk of our preps coverage.
Click the video below to play this week’s 35-minute show, and please come visit us at Adelphia every Wednesday afternoon and enjoy the food and downtown atmosphere.
It was a good weekend for Mountain State football products. Former South Charleston and Marshall football star Aaron Dobson caught seven passes for 87 yards in the Patriots’ win against the Buffalo Bills. The seven receptions ties a career high for the third-year NFL player, and the yardage ranks second in his career and most since Nov. 3, 2013.
All of last season, Dobson had three receptions for 38 yards, so he has already surpassed his 2014 production by Week 2. He’s also playing a ton. He saw 70 snaps against the Bills, second-most on the Patriots among wide receivers (Julian Edelman led the way with 75).
Meanwhile, Ryan Switzer keeps doing Ryan Switzer things:
That is Switzer’s first punt return for a touchdown since the 2013 Belk Bowl, when he took an 86-yarder to the house. It is also Switzer’s sixth career punt return for a touchdown, bringing him within two of the all-time Football Bowl Subdivision record of eight. That record is shared by Oklahoma Antonio Perkins and Texas Tech’s Wes Welker.
Switzer also caught a 34-yard touchdown pass, marking the second time in his career he has had a touchdown reception and punt return for a TD in the same game. Also, the 186 punt return yards set a North Carolina program record, breaking a 64-yard-old mark held by Bud Carson.
For the season, Switzer is second nationally in punt return yardage and the only player in the FBS with at least 150 yards receiving and a 150 yards on punt returns.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail is devoted to the cover of high school athletics. We have Derek Taylor, who is the assistant sports editor and is coordinates our preps coverage. We have veteran sportswriter Rick Ryan, who has nearly four decades in the business, and Ryan Pritt as our preps reporters. We also have Tom Bragg, who is in his third year overseeing our prep football website, WVHuddle.com. If you haven’t checked it out, head there now and bookmark it. You’ll not only find coverage of high school football, but rosters, statistics, schedules, standings and more.
In fact, if you click on each team’s roster, go ahead and select a player. You’ll dive into a player bio that includes jersey number, class, height, weight, position and player photo (we call them headshots). It’s neat feature. As a bonus, scroll down to the bottom of the profile and you’ll find all the recent stories that player has been mentioned in. Check it out.
Another aspect of our football coverage that has been elevated this year is the Gazette-Mail Prep Football Podcast. In recent years, this has been an audio-only file. It came in handy, especially when yours truly was headed up I-79 or down I-64 to cover college football and I needed some road trip company. Well, this year we’ve added a video component to the podcast (see below), which means the 30-ish minute show is uploaded to YouTube and available for you to listen to OR watch at your leisure.
This week we added another wrinkle: Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille, located in downtown Charleston at 218 Capitol Street, welcomed us into their restaurant to record the show. This will be a regular occurrence, and we’ll be at Adelphia every Wednesday afternoon (2-ish) to record the audio. If you’re in the area, stop down and grab a free WVHuddle.com T-shirt or football (and, of course, some of Adelphia’s delicious fare).
Until then, hit play on the video below and hear about this week’s biggest storylines around the state on the eve of Week 4 of Friday night football.
For years now, I’ve shared Associated Press top 25 voting responsibilities with Gazette-Mail sports columnist Mitch Vingle (Give him a follow on Twitter: @MitchVingle). One year, he’d do football and I’d do hoops. The next year we’d flip roles.
In 2015, Vingle drew duties as the college football top 25 voter, and we, the Gazette-Mail, hold the only vote in the state of West Virginia. In the preseason poll, Vingle was labeled the “Most Extreme Voter,” according to collegepolltracker.com. The past two weeks, however, Vingle isn’t drawing that same ire. He’s just regular ol’ Vingle.
In Vingle’s latest ballot, which was cast Sunday morning and published in Monday’s Gazette-Mail, he has six rankings that are considered “extreme” by collegepolltracker.com. He has LSU No. 5, which is the highest in the country and eight spots higher than LSU’s actual ranking. He has Ole Miss at No. 8, nine spots higher than actual. He has TCU at No. 9, which is tied for the lowest in the country among the 61 voters. Georgia is 13th on Vingle’s ballot, six spots lower than actual. Florida State is 14th, five spots lower than actual. And Clemson is 16th, six spots lower than actual.
Here is Vingle’s full top 25 poll:
1. Ohio State
6. Michigan State
7. Notre Dame
8. Ole Miss
14. Florida State
15. Georgia Tech
17. Texas A&M
23. West Virginia
That’s me in the middle. Well, that’s me about 30 pounds ago. The smile, however, is the same.
As the sports editor of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, I get to be the creative voice behind the sports department. I wear lots of hats: planning, organizing, editing, writing, etc. It never ends. But I get to wake up and do what I love every day, and somehow I’ve convinced the bean counters here at the Gazette-Mail to send me a check every so often in exchange. It’s a sweetheart deal, I tell you.
They’ve also, perhaps irresponsibly, given me this blog space. This is the start of our journey through sports together. The Mountain State has a splendid blend of offerings as far as that’s concerned: WVU, Marshall, the Mountain East Conference, preps, the West Virginia Power, Greenbrier Classic and more. We’re there for all of it.
This space will act as a catch-all for local sports. The Gazette-Mail sports department has 11 staff members, including myself. We have talented writers and page designers; we have people who have a knack for videos and podcasts and chats; we have people who specialize in gussying up the website each day; we have sportswriters who hold votes in the Associated Press poll and for the Heisman. I don’t want you to miss any of it, so I’m going to put flashing neon bulbs around their work and make certain you see it.
Go ahead and bookmark this page. DO IT. Check back often, comment often. Send me story ideas and tips (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). I’m listening.
Remember, sports are about the games and games are meant to be fun. That’s what we should do here.