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Follow along: WVU reaches the midway point of their season at Texas Tech

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Follow along as the Mountaineers (3-1, 2-1) make their longest road trip of the season at Texas Tech (1-3, 0-3).

Your essential pregame links

Wells hopes quarterback switch provides much needed spark to Texas Tech offense

‘Three Guys Before the Game’ — Texas Tech edition (Episode 237)

True to WVU through a coaching change, Nicktroy Fortune thriving in WVU secondary

WVU prepares for another new signal caller in the winds of West Texas

Brown returns to Lubbock Saturday, KSU game draws familiar time slot

Last year in Morgantown

In a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated, Texas Tech defeated the Mountaineers, 38-17 at Milan Puskar Stadium. That was the last time the Red Raiders won a Big 12 contest.

Pregame round of sound

Take a look at the most notable soundbytes from WVU’s pregame media availability:

WVU has dropped some passes. OC & WR coach Gerad Parker keeps it real on how to fix it… pic.twitter.com/hQPLkn0yoW

— Joe Brocato (@joebrowvm) October 23, 2020

Q: What do Roy ‘Tin Cup’ McAvoy & #WVU QB Jarret Doege have in common?

A: No fear of the winds of West Texas. pic.twitter.com/6asdqMJBzZ

— Joe Brocato (@joebrowvm) October 22, 2020

WVU needs just 122 rushing yards Saturday at Texas Tech to match their total team rushing output from 2019 (879 yards in 12 games).

Q: Have the Mountaineers arrived with their rushing attack?

A: Talk to me in mid-November. pic.twitter.com/hmEpuQjP2S

— Joe Brocato (@joebrowvm) October 21, 2020

MetroNews Gameday coverage is underway. Tune in from 2:00-11:30 our your favorite MetroNews affiliate and at wvmetronews.com. Follow along with #DunlapDrawings from former WVU defensive coordinator Steve Dunlap.

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COVID-19 hospitalizations rising in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Health and Human Resources reported confirmations of 320 new cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia and no additional deaths in its Saturday morning report.

Hospitalizations, though, attributed to the coronavirus were at a new pandemic high with 209 people said to be hospitalized.

Out of those patients, 71 were in intensive care.

In all, 4,712 active COVID-19 cases, known cases, had been identified in West Virginia.

By Saturday morning, the state’s daily coronavirus infection rate had climbed to 4.16 percent and the cumulative rate was up as well to 2.88 percent.

The daily County Alert System Map had both Mingo County and Wyoming County in red, defined as “substantial” coronavirus transmission.

The orange counties, signifying “heightened” transmission, were Berkeley, Morgan, Braxton, Jackson, Wayne, Boone and Monroe.

The separate education map, setting school operations and extracurriculars for the next week, was due out at 5 p.m.

CASES PER COUNTY: Barbour (172), Berkeley (1,507), Boone (335), Braxton (59), Brooke (202), Cabell (1,317), Calhoun (33), Clay (58), Doddridge (70), Fayette (752), Gilmer (64), Grant (182), Greenbrier (171), Hampshire (123), Hancock (210), Hardy (103), Harrison (634), Jackson (376), Jefferson (558), Kanawha (3,510), Lewis (74), Lincoln (232), Logan (740), Marion (369), Marshall (279), Mason (172), McDowell (113), Mercer (667), Mineral (207), Mingo (553), Monongalia (2,269), Monroe (220), Morgan (131), Nicholas (183), Ohio (497), Pendleton (74), Pleasants (24), Pocahontas (68), Preston (194), Putnam (835), Raleigh (723), Randolph (408), Ritchie (36), Roane (96), Summers (96), Taylor (165), Tucker (62), Tyler (30), Upshur (238), Wayne (551), Webster (25), Wetzel (136), Wirt (41), Wood (528), Wyoming (240).

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Wells hopes quarterback switch provides needed spark to Texas Tech offense

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Texas Tech is 2-10 in Big 12 games since Matt Wells became the Red Raiders’ head coach last season. One of those two victories came against West Virginia in a 38-17 triumph in Morgantown last November.

In that game, Leddie Brown was West Virginia’s leading rusher but was held to sixteen yards on six carries. Wells says Brown’s noticeable improvements as a junior have a lot to do with what surrounds him.

“He is really patient,” Wells said. “They do a lot of zone schemes with him. He is a powerful back. He is kind of patient, patient, patient, and then when he hits it, he goes. The O-Line has gotten better as the year has gone on for them. But he has played well and he had a great game against Kansas on Saturday. He is one of the better backs in the league.”

Neal Brown described Darius Stills’ diving interception off a tipped pass in the Kansas game as an ‘effort play’. Wells used the same phrase to describe the 285-pound lineman’s work.

“What a pick he made Saturday. That is called ‘breaking the stack’ when those O-Linemen and D-Linemen break when the ball is thrown. That was a tremendous effort play.”

West Virginia’s enters today’s matchup with the nation’s top-ranked defense, allowing 240.3 yards per game.

“There’s a lot of carryover. They play with tremendous effort. It seems to me that maybe they have simplified it some. They’ve got some experienced players and then you add in a guy like Tony Fields, who is a high-end talent as a graduate transfer from Arizona. That is a great addition to that defense.”

Jarret Doege made his debut as a Mountaineer against Texas Tech last year. In a relief role and against many of Texas Tech’s backup players, Doege completed 11-of-17 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown pass with five seconds remaining.

“He has a lot of game time under his belt. He is steady. He is stingy with the ball. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is good. He is accurate and can throw it on the move. When he scrambles out, he has the ability to hurt you.”

West Virginia will be facing a new Tech starting quarterback for the third consecutive season. Last year’s starting signal caller Jett Duffey transferred in the offseason. 2018 starter Alan Bowman has been replaced in the lineup by first-time starter Henry Colombi. Colombi played for Wells at Utah State before transferring to Lubbock.

Texas Tech Red Raiders quarterback Henry Colombi (3) drops back to pass against the Iowa State Cyclones (Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports)

“When you have played at times not as explosive as we need to play on offense, we had just played good or okay at quarterback. I felt the change to Henry gives us a better opportunity to maybe right now at this time play better on offense. That’s how we evaluated it. Alan, it is not his fault. He is not the one to blame.

“I don’t want that to be the narrative. That’s not. It is a matter that Henry, we he has gotten in, has played well and he has moved us. We need to continue to stay aggressive at the quarterback position.”

Six weeks removed from their only victory of the season, a 35-33 win over Houston Baptist, Wells guarded against wholesale changes during the bye week in schemes or personnel.

“Sometimes there’s good things to a pattern. I am also a believer in that, what you do and you do it well even if people know that you are doing it. You need to stay doing that and maybe find a little different way to do it. I don’t think having a bye week, having all this time I think sometimes can be a detriment coming up with a lot of new stuff. So you have to guard against that as coaches.”

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National Guard surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 tests administered

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia National Guard this week surpassed 50,000 administered coronavirus tests since its response began in March.

According to the National Guard, 418 members are on duty and more than 2,300 missions related to the pandemic are complete.

The National Guard’s efforts include distributing 19.3 million pieces of personal protective equipment, training 945 businesses and long-term care facilities about best coronavirus practices, and producing more than 220,000 pieces of protective equipment.

The National Guard will be assisting with testing in Berkeley, Boone, Braxton, Monongalia, Monroe and Wyoming counties this weekend as well as helping with cleaning efforts.

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Health fraud settlement totals $1.2 million

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Michigan lab company will pay $1.2 million to settle claims of fraud involving Medicare, the United Mine Workers of America 1992 Benefit Plan, the 1993 Benefit Plan and the Combined Benefit Fund.

The case against Great Lakes Medical Laboratory involved the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of West Virginia, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.

The allegations centered on alleged billing fraud between Jan. 2016 and May 2017.

Great Lakes Medical Laboratory was a routine testing site for urine and blood samples from West Virginia.

Federal investigators said they determined that at least 21,732 testing claims submitted for reimbursement had already been included in bills submitted for other lab services.

In some cases, reimbursements were sought for services that had not been ordered through or were not performed by referring physicians.

The settlement amount was double what officials said was the actual loss of more than $600,000.

Under the terms of the settlement, Great Lakes Medical Laboratory has signed onto a three-year Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.

As part of it, the company is required to maintain compliance and risk assessment programs and hire an Independent Review Organization to monitor Medicare and UMWA Funds claims.

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Herd ready for FAU on homecoming

By Bill Cornwell 

HUNTINGTON – First place in Conference USA’s East Division is on the line as FAU visits Marshall this week. The Owls enter the game 1-0 in league play, while the Herd boasts a 2-0 conference record and 4-0 overall record.

Here’s what to watch for Saturday at The Joan:

Slowing down the Owls “Jet”
When Lane Kiffin left FAU late last year for the head coaching job at Ole Miss, you might have thought the Owls high-tempo offensive approach might change. It didn’t. Even under new coach Willie Taggart’s leadership, FAU likes to push the pace offensively, often running plays 15 seconds apart. That pace is meant to wear down defenses. It will be up to Marshall’s national-leading defense to not fall into the Owls trap, plus the ability to switch out defensive personnel will be crucial in order to keep fresh legs on the field. Marshall’s defense strength is its sideline-to-sideline speed and preserving that advantage on the Owls will be crucial. Also important for Marshall’s defense is not allowing FAU quarterback Nick Tronti to use his running skills by escaping the pocket and continuing drives.

Rusty birds?
It’ll be exactly three weeks between games when the Owls hit the Joan C. Edwards turf on Saturday. That much time between games might concern coaches that FAU might struggle against a fired-up MU squad which has picked up road wins over the last two weeks. Taggart seems to be confident that his team will be ready for a fast start, saying of the Owls “They are excited to be back, but I think that they all understand that they have to work themselves back into football shape and conditioning. I think they could all tell that they lost a little conditioning being out, but more importantly, they are all excited about being healthy and being able to get back out there to practice and prepare for a game. “

Wells spreading the wealth
When Marshall receivers Willie Johnson and Talik Keaton went down with minor injuries in the Louisiana Tech win, the Herd showed the depth of its receiving corps through the work of backups Corey Gammage and Artie Henry. The pair, which each battled injuries in 2019, had a touchdown catch apiece. Gammage had 5 catches in the Tech win for 65 yards, while Henry caught three Grant Wells throws for 72  yards. Similar numbers for the pair on Saturday would mean good things for Herd fans on Homecoming Saturday. Look for Wells to also incorporate youngster Shadeed Ahmed into his passing radar. Speedster Jaron Woodyard (Nebraska Graduate Transfer) has been quiet since the season opener against Eastern Kentucky and is due for more action.

 

Notes….Marshall has receiving the opening kickoff in all four games this season…MU’s national defensive numbers continue to impress, as the Herd is third nationally in scoring defense (9.5 points per game), third in rushing defense (68.5 yards per game) and 5th in total defense (272.8 yards per game). The Herd has also force seven turnovers in its four games….FAU has won eight straight games, the last loss coming to Marshall in Boca Raton, Fla. last October 18th, a game which featured MU’s Brenden Knox running for 220 yards and two touchdowns, including the winning score of 17 yards with 36 seconds left…Marshall’s offensive line picked up some future depth this week, as former Huntington High Class AAA All-State player Billy Ross announced he was transferring from North Carolina to Marshall, while Spring Valley Senior Lineman Bryce Biggs posted on social media that he had verbally committed to play for the Herd. 

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Roundup: Greenbrier West now owns state’s longest win streak

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Taking a look around West Virginia for news and notes from games in the eighth week of the high school football season.

Greenbrier West defeats Sherman, sets up showdown with Midland Trail

With a 41-14 win over Sherman (4-3), Greenbrier West improved to 8-0 and the Cavaliers now own the state’s longest winning streak. GWHS is off to an 8-0 start for the eighth time in the 53-year history of the program.

Kaiden Pack had a pair of touchdown passes and a pair of touchdown runs. Cole McClung also rushed for two scores. Noah Brown rushed for 73 yards. The Cavaliers will visit Midland Trail (3-0) in Week 9 in a key Class A showdown.

Pendleton collects key win in Glenville

In their quest to return to the Class A playoffs for the third consecutive season, Pendleton County (4-2) picked up a key win at Gilmer County, 47-20. The Wildcats jumped out to a 20-7 halftime lead thanks to touchdown runs from Isaiah Gardner and Dalton Dunkle. Gardner also hit Braden McClanahan with a scoring strike. Ean Hamric had a touchdown pass in the first half for Gilmer (4-3).

In the third quarter, Dylan Smith fell on a blocked punt in the end zone and Colt Smith added a touchdown run, giving the Wildcats a 34-7 lead.

Cee-Bees bounce back with a win over Conotton Valley, Oh.

Carson Shriver accounted for four total touchdowns as Clay-Battelle defended home turf in Blacksville with a 34-6 win over Conotton Valley, Oh.

Shriver rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another. He finished the game with 195 rushing yards for the Cee-Bees (2-1).

East Hardy moves to 5-1 with win over Tucker

East Hardy scored three second quarter touchdowns in a 39-6 win at Tucker County. Backup quarterback Mason Miller passed for 177 yards for the Cougars (5-1) while Alex Miller rushed for 135 yards.

Ripley runs away from Shady Spring

Ripley racked up 359 yards of total offense in a 35-14 win over Shady Spring. Kadin Hall led the Vikings (5-2) with 169 rushing yards. He also scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving).

Morgantown evens record in playoff push

Without attempting a pass, Morgantown accounted for 650 yards of total offense in a 61-40 win over visiting Linsly at Pony Lewis Field. Deondre Crudup and Cam Rice each rushed for a pair of touchdowns. The Mohigans have won two in a row after an 0-2 start.

‘The U’ avenges 2019 loss to Preston

Just like their crosstown rivals, University will enter next week’s Mohawk Bowl with a 2-2 record after a 42-9 win over Preston. Noah Braham returned an interception for a touchdown. Chase Edwards tossed four touchdown passes for the Hawks and Eliki Barner rushed for 122 yards.

GW holds off furious rally in Beckley

Woodrow Wilson scored 28 unanswered points but George Washington survived a late Flying Eagle rally to win 45-42. R.T. Alexander passed for 186 yards for the Patriots (2-1).

Beckley’s Maddox McMillen tossed 4 touchdown passes and threw for a school-record 366 yards. Jace Colucci set a school record with 170 yards receiving in a game.

Fast start leads Princeton past Lincoln County

Grant Cochran accounted for six touchdowns as Princeton rolled over Lincoln County 54-14. Cochran passed for 266 yards and 5 scores while rushing for a touchdown as well. Amir Powell racked up 148 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Tigers (4-2).

South Charleston stays perfect, doubling up Huntington

The No. 1 team in the Class AAA WVSSAC rankings improved to 4-0 as South Charleston won at Huntington, 42-21. Black Eagle sophomore signal caller Trey Dunn passed for 350 yards in the win. He had 4 touchdown passes and a pair of scoring runs.

Devin Jackson had a touchdown reception in the loss for the Highlanders.

Sissonville wins shootout at Greenbrier East

The No. 1 team in the Class AA WVSSAC rankings stayed perfect as Sissonville won at Greenbrier East, 60-47. Just like South Charleston, the Indians improved to 4-0 by winning their second game in five days. The Spartans fell to 5-3 with the loss. Sissonville will host St. Albans (2-1) Thursday.

Polar Bears in fourth in a row

Kent State commit Gage Michael passed for 214 yards as Fairmont Senior (5-2) won their fourth consecutive game, 45-0 at Lewis County. Michael tossed four touchdown passes and ran for another score in the win.

Byrd bounces back with win at Grafton

Robert C. Byrd upped their record to 5-2 with a 21-14 win at Grafton. Jeremiah King had a touchdown run and a touchdown reception in the victory while John Crites had the third touchdown for Byrd.

Mountaineers rally to edge Lincoln

In a Harrison County rivalry matchup, Liberty rallied from an early deficit to defeat Lincoln 19-14. Sayveon Before scored all three touchdowns for the Mountaineers (4-2).

Clay collects sixth win by defeating Ravenswood

Senior signal caller Grant Krajeski passed for 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Clay County (6-1) rolled over Ravenswood 63-7. Isaiah Payton rushed for a pair of touchdowns for the Panthers. Senior lineman Hunter Sizemore returned an interception for a touchdown for CCHS.

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Parkersburg nets fifth win, 54-14 over John Marshall

— Story by Ethan Collins/Photo gallery by Marcus Constantino

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Parkersburg junior quarterback Bryson Singer racked up over 400 yards of total offense, as the Big Reds defeated the John Marshall 54-14 at Stadium Field. The Big Reds (5-2) held the Monarchs (5-3) to just 176 yards of total offense.

Parkersburg had nothing but big plays in the first quarter. They ran 6 plays for 150 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead 13-0. Most of that was thanks to Singer who had both touchdowns rushing and he had 141 yards on just three carries. John Marshall struggled to get anything going offensively, only having 79 total yards that led to three punts, three turnovers on downs, and an interception. While on the Big Reds’ side all three of their second quarter drives ended in touchdowns. Two of them came from junior Carter King, who had one rushing and one passing while Singer connected with Jordan Martin for a touchdown pass as well. Parkersburg led 33-0 at halftime.

In the second half, the Big Reds wanted to test Singer’s arm as he threw for two more touchdowns both to King. As for the Monarchs, their struggles on offense continued, only having 12 yards of total offense in the third quarter which led them to punt twice, and they also threw a pick-six to senior Kennan Curry. PHS led 54-0 through three quarters.

One drive for the Monarchs resulted in a 38-yard touchdown pass from Derrick Derrow to Brenan Sobutka. The proceeding kickoff Parkersburg threw in their second string, which on their first drive resulted in John Marshall getting their second touchdown on a pick-six from Bryce Rayl to which resulted in the final score of 54 to 14.

For the Monarchs, Dalton Flowers had 16 carries for just 39 yards. John Marshall’s biggest contributor was fullback Nate Menendez who had 4 carries for 51 yards. Derrow through the air completed 5-of-11 passing for 66 yards 1 touchdown and threw 2 interceptions.

For Parkersburg, the stat sheet was dominated by Singer. He rushed 8 times for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns. Through the air Singer completed 10-of-16 for 215 yards and 4 touchdowns. His favorite target was King who had 4 receptions for 144 yards and 3 touchdowns. King also had a rushing touchdown.

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Frankfort takes the bite out of Huskies, rolls to 36-19 victory
Frankfort’s Jansen Moreland finds a running lane during the Falcons’ 36-19 win over North Marion. Greg Carey/WVMetroNews.com

 

SHORT GAP, W.Va. — Although Class AA No. 2 Frankfort had won six of seven games entering Friday’s showdown with No. 6 North Marion, Falcons’ head coach Kevin Whiteman felt his team hadn’t yet put togther a full four-quarter effort this season.

“I painted ’48’ on the practice field Monday and just tried to drive it in their heads to play for 48 minutes,” Whiteman said.

FHS did just that, taking the bite out of the Huskies by controlling the line of scrimmage and getting three of its five rushing touchdowns from Cole Hiett in a 36-19 win over the Huskies.

“I always challenge them to win the physical game,” Whiteman said. “I like being known as a physical football team and we were physical tonight. I can’t say enough about the effort. Our all-around effort in all three phases of the game was very good.”

After Peyton Clark gave Frankfort (7-1) a 7-0 lead with a 9-yard touchdown run, North Marion (5-2) pulled even when Brody Hall reached the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 1:26 to play in the opening quarter.

Hiett answered with the first of his three scores — this one a 27-yard run on third-and-8. After the Huskies jumped offside on the point-after play, Frankfort converted a two-point conversion on Parker VanMeter’s run, leaving the Falcons with a 15-7 lead 10:32 before halftime.

“They established themselves at the line of scrimmage so well and that’s maybe the first game this year where we’ve had the size advantage,” Huskies’ coach Daran Hays said.
“They weren’t really big, but they come off the ball well and play physical on the interior.”

North Marion then went three-and-out and Clark’s 45-yard punt return positioned Frankfort at the Huskies’ 27 for its next series.

Two plays later, Hiett covered that distance with his second 27-yard TD run of the contest, upping the Falcons’ lead to 22-7.

Frankfort nearly added to its advantage on the final play of the half when Andrew Westfall completed a reverse pass to Brock Robinette, but he was brought down at the Huskies’ 1-yard line following a 13-yard gain.

North Marion drove 81 yards in 13 plays on the opening series of the second half, which ended with Gavan Lemley’s 11-yard TD run. The Huskies elected to go for two, but Hall’s pass fell incomplete, leaving them with a 22-13 deficit at the 6:57 mark of the third quarter.

Frankfort then answered with a seven play, 65-yard drive and took a 29-13 lead after Jansen Moreland crossed the goal line on a 5-yard run at the 3:11 mark of the third.

Hiett’s 54-yard TD run with 11:51 remaining helped Frankfort put the game out of reach.

“He had some nice runs and on a couple his extra effort sprung him forward,” Whiteman said. “I’m proud of his effort and the way he kept turning his legs.”

Lemley scored on a 25-yard run with 17 seconds to play for the game’s final points.

The Falcons finished with 396 rushing yards, 217 of which came in the first half.

“The thing that stings for us,” Hays said, “is I thought we got beat with effort and that’s hard to swallow.”

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Braxton rolls at Webster, improves to 5-2

(Game highlights courtesy of ‘Braxton Live’ – @braxtonlivewv)

UPPERGLADE, W.Va. — Braxton County upped their record to 5-2 with a 62-0 win at Webster County. The Eagles racked up 443 yards of total offense.

Jett Cogar completed 6-of-10 passes for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns. Drew Pritt led the Eagle rushing attack with 104 and a pair of scores.

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