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Monongalia County schools on-track with various improvements

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County Schools continue progress on facility upgrades, according to Executive Director of Facilities Amanda Washington.

Consolidating administrative operations in one location, a STEM addition at M-Tech and adding outdoor classrooms are highlights of the work being done.

Administrative operations will consolidate at the former MedExpress building in Sabraton. Work there has included painting, exterior improvements, carpet replacement and restriping the parking lot.

Washington said supply chain issues have slowed the work causing the move in date to be moved, but the work is progressing. When finished offices on High Street, Dorsey Avenue, the Suncrest Center and Westover will move into the building.

“I think we’re in good shape here,” Washington said. “We hope to be able to move in sometime after the new year.”

Bringing all the administrative staff together will make meeting and project development more seamless and streamlined. Additionally, the move is expected to lower utility costs and building maintenance expense.

“It will better opportunity for collaboration between departments and improve production we can just walk down the hall and talk to different departments,” Washington said.

Recently, school officials presented plans to the state School Building Authority for a new Renaissance Academy. The academy is in the 10-year development plan and would include STEM and career technical courses. Before the new school is built officials will focus on an addition to the Monongalia Technical Education Center (M-Tech) building that would accommodate STEM learning. Architects are designing spaces that are designed to support learning environments of the future to help those students prepare for the job market. Approval for the addition could come the School Building Authority next month.

“Our project consists of a 7,560-square foot addition three classroom STEM addition to M-TECH that will serve our current our current high schools and future middle school students for the entire county,” according to Washington.

WVU recently launched an e-sports minor. Economics major at WVU, Noah Johnson just won the Next Madden National Championship and a $25,000 prize. Robotics and technical education have also developed as job creators in the current economy and continue to grow.

“We feel these three- E-gaming, engineering and robotics are very innovative,” Washington said. “We certainly feel like students would be very interested in taking those courses.”

Outdoor classrooms are also coming to the district. Outdoor learning environments also gained importance during the pandemic due social distancing options. South Middle School already has an outdoor classroom and the next is expected to be added at University High School. Others are planned for Morgantown High School and M-Tech.

“They allow students the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, but also learn new subjects while social distancing,” Washington said.

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Man uses sawed-off shotgun to rob video lottery parlor

MARMET, W.Va. — Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies are looking for a man who used a sawed-off shotgun to rob a video lottery parlor early Sunday morning.

This man is wanted for the armed robbery in Marmet. Photo/KCSD

Deputies said the man entered Max’s Place in Marmet around 2:30 a.m. and demanded money. He got it and took off. He fled the scene in a silver sedan.

Surveillance photos show the man wore a white surgical mask, camouflage toboggan, dark blue coat, neon yellow t-shirt, dark pants, and brown boots. He had what are described as bright blue eyes.

The clerk and two patrons were in the business at the time. There were no injuries reported.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kanawha Sheriff’s Department at 304-357-0169. The department also receives tips at [email protected], through social media messaging, or anonymously through its website at www.kanawhasheriff.us.

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Marshall misses out on league title game with 53-21 loss to Western Kentucky

— By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall’s defense bottled up Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe and high-powered offense for a half.

Zappe, the No. 1 passer in the nation, eventually lived up to that billing in the second half and popped the cork on that bottle to lead the Hilltoppers past Marshall, 53-21, in the Conference USA East Division championship game Saturday in front of 19,134 fans at Joan C. Edwards Stadium and viewing audience on CBS Sports Network.

Zappe tossed three touchdown passes in the third period and Brayden Narveson booted a 53-yard field goal to secure a momentum-changing 23-point period. Western Kentucky chalked up 293 total yards and limited the Herd to 8. Zappe connected on 9-of-15 pass attempts.

The seventh straight win sends Western Kentucky (8-4, 7-1 C-USA) to the C-USA title game on Friday against previously unbeaten UTSA in San Antonio, Texas. North Texas upended the West Division champs, 45-23, Saturday at home.

Marshall finishes 7-5, 5-3 in the C-USA East. Three of the five defeats came at home.

Zappe finished with four TD passes to bring his season total to 52. His fourth TD pass came at the start of the fourth period. He connected on 25-of-48 for 328 yards.

“Marshall had a lot of momentum in the first half,” Hilltoppers coach Tyson Helton said. “We regrouped at halftime. Starts with the defense, offense got the big touchdown early. The momentum swung over to our side and stayed our way.”

The Hilltoppers made the big adjustments in the passing attack between halves.

“Good job by their secondary,” Helton said of the Herd. “Played man and were able to cover us. Great job by the offensive staff making adjustments. Create motion, stacks, able to get off their press and things played into our favor. We were able to create explosive plays and took the air out of them.”

The Herd’s bright spot in a disappointing second half was backup Luke Zban’s 41-yard TD pass to Shadeed Ahmed right after Zappe’s scoring toss. He took over in the second period from Grant Wells who completed his first 10 passes. Wells left the game in the second period after getting sacked and fumbled the ball away. He walked to the locker room with an undisclosed injury and did not return.

“Unable to execute,” first-year Herd coach Charles Huff said. “Defense played phenomenal the first half. One too many big plays. They put us behind a couple of scores.”

After the Zban TD pass, the Herd attempted an onside kick and Western Kentucky’s Craig Burt Jr. took the ball on the bounce after it had gone seven yards and he sprinted 43 yards for the score.

On the next kickoff, players on both sides got in some bumps after the tackle. The Herd’s Owen Porter got ejected for coming off the bench for his second ejection of the season.

“Our level of execution has to rise,” Huff said. “Adversity hit, not happy with how we responded. When adversity hits, you’ve got to respond.”

For Marshall, it’s now waits to see about its post-season bowl bid. Hopefully, Wells can return by then.

“Plans change,” Huff said. “They loaded the box, got us in third and eight, nine and 10. Got us in first-down efficiency. From a mental standpoint, you hope it would not effect us. You lose a guy like that, you’ve got to rally around the next guy. Next-man-up mentality. Move the chess pieces around, but didn’t generate enough consistency.”

In the first half, the Herd drove for two scores and kept Zappe in check.

Marshall went 79 yards in 19 plays and used 6:58 to take a 7-0 lead. Wells capped the drive with a 1-yard run. A pass interference on Hilltoppers kept drive alive and gave Herd first down at 14.

The Herd then went 57 yards in 10 plays and 3:57 for a 14-0 lead. Wells found tight end Devon Miller for 3-yard TD pass on fourth down at 3.

Marshall’s defense held the Hilltoppers in check in the first half with just 40 yards rushing and 118 passing. Bailey completed 14-of-30. The Herd totaled 205 total yards on 100 rushing and 105 passing between Wells and Zban, who came in with 8:05 left in the second period. Wells walked to the locker room and did not return

Western Kentucky managed two field goals in the second period. Narveson connected from 41 and 46 yards. He missed from 47 yards with 28 seconds left as his low kick smacked the crossbar and came back onto the field. Zappe had passed the visitors into position. After the miss, the Herd took a knee to end the half.

The Hilltoppers outscored the Herd, 47-7, in the second half. This was Helton’s first win against the Herd after two defeats. Daewood Davis led in receiving with three catches for 104 yards and two scores. Mitchell Tinsley grabbed nine for 84. The Hilltoppers finished with 485 total yards.

Herd freshman Rasheen Ali ran for 97 yards on 24 carries, but Western Kentucky kept him out of the end zone. The home team 323 yards.

Under Helton, the Hilltoppers have finished strong each season.

“We didn’t blink,” Helton said. “We said we’d come out the second half and get it done. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

UTSA handed Western Kentucky its only league defeat.

Before the game, there was a moment of silence for former Marshall baseball coach Jack Cook. He passes away earlier in the week. He was 95.

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West Virginia secures bowl eligibility with 34-28 win at Kansas

West Virginia powered its way past Kansas and became bowl eligible in the process with a 34-28 victory Saturday night.

The Mountaineers rushed for a season-high 261 yards, helping them overcome two turnovers, including Gavin Potter’s 28-yard interception return for a touchdown that allowed the Jayhawks tie the game at 21 early in the third quarter.

“I’m proud of our staff and players,” third-year WVU head coach Neal Brown said. “We handled adversity extremely well today and we were resilient. It says a lot about them not just as football players, but as people. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to develop is people, and resiliency is a life skill. I’m really proud of them.”

Tailbacks Leddie Brown (19 rushes, 156 yards) and Tony Mathis (22-118) each went over the 100-yard mark against KU, while Brown surpassed 1,000 yards for a second straight season.

“We knew coming into the game that the run game was going to be a big factor,” Leddie Brown said. “[Running backs coach Chad Scott] told me and Tony, this game I was going to have 100 and he was going to have 100, too, and that’s what the stats say. I’m proud of Tony. He practiced hard this week and he deserves it.”

It was Brown’s 44-yard touchdown run that broke the 21-all tie and allowed West Virginia (6-6, 4-5) to lead for good with 8:32 left in the third quarter.

Field goals of 38 and 37 yards by Casey Legg put WVU in front 34-21 with 5:53 remaining.

In between Legg’s field goals, linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo made his first of two interceptions on a Jalon Daniels first down red zone pass.

Chandler-Semedo’s second interception also came in the red zone when he snatched a Daniels throw on fourth-and-11 with the Mountaineers leading by 13.

When West Virginia entered its bye week 2-4, Chandler-Semedo vowed the Mountaineers would improve over the second half of the season and that he would not settle for a losing record in his final collegiate campaign.

It is the 18th time in the last 20 seasons West Virginia is bowl eligible.

“That’s pretty much a standard to get to a bowl game and to fall below the standard is unacceptable,” Chandler-Semedo said.

Still, West Virginia didn’t secure the win in front of 23,117 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium until Winston Wright recovered an onside kick after Daniels stretched the ball over the goal line for a 3-yard TD run that brought Kansas to within six with 1:43 to play.

“We made it hard and some of that is definitely due to Kansas,” Neal Brown said.

Jacob Borcila’s 46-yard field goal gave the Jayhawks (2-10, 1-8) the early 3-0 lead, and they had a chance to expand on it when Potter recovered a Brown fumble on the Mountaineers’ first play from scrimmage.

But after the Jayhawks got inside the WVU 5-yard line, Daniels was sacked by Jared Bartlett and Sean Mahone on fourth-and-3.

“We messed an exchange up, which is beyond frustrating to me, but our defense stood,” Neal Brown said.

West Virginia then drove 84 yards in six plays and produced its points on the first of two Jarret Doege 14-yard touchdown passes to Wright.

Borcila’s 35-yard field goal made it a one-point game, before West Virginia drove 75 yards in 14 plays and upped its lead to 14-6 on Wright’s second scoring grab.

“The play was covered and they dropped eight and I didn’t have anywhere to go,” Doege said. “I was looking around trying to find somebody and kind of put it to where only he could get it and he made a play.”

The Jayhawks answered with their first touchdown when Daniels connected with Jared Casey on an 8-yard pass.

But West Virginia put together a pivotal 59-yard scoring drive late in the first half and it ended with Doege’s 7-yard TD pass to Sam James, allowing the Mountaineers to lead 21-13 at halftime.

“It was critical. We practice that drill a lot and we finished the 4 minutes in the first half really well,” Neal Brown said. “We got a stop, used our timeouts in the correct way and we go down and score. We had enough time to mix in the run and we did that.”

Doege completed 16-of-21 passes for 170 yards. He threw only five second-half passes, including three after Potter’s pick six.

Sean Ryan had five receptions for 87 yards to lead West Virginia’s receivers, which were without an injured Bryce Ford-Wheaton.

Daniels completed 22-of-32 passes for 249 yards, and Luke Grimm led all players with 105 receiving yards on four receptions.

The Jayhawks managed only 87 rushing yards.

“We definitely were resilient,” Chandler-Semedo said. “We gave up a little bit more than we wanted to. They’re a talented team and got us on some stuff.”

Chandler-Semedo committed to playing in the bowl game, though Leddie Brown did not, saying he hadn’t given it much thought.

West Virginia will now be afforded several weeks of extra practice time, which will also allow the Mountaineers to get healthier before their bowl game. Versatile defensive back Jackie Matthews left Saturday’s win with an injury.

“We’re kind of limping to the finish,” Neal Brown said. “Whatever bowl game we play in, we’ll have a little bit of a break, which we’ll need. We’ve been able to stay relatively healthy up front, but at the second and third levels, we’ve been decimated. I don’t know if there’s a better word for it.”

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WVU advances to NCAA Elite Eight with double overtime win at Tulsa

(Dan Stratford postgame press conference)

Otto Ollikainen’s golden goal in double overtime lifted No. 11 West Virginia past No. 6 Tulsa, 1-0 in the NCAA third round contest in Oklahoma Saturday evening.

The freshman midfielder scored in the 102nd minute of play, sending the Mountaineers to their first Elite Eight appearance in forty years.

OTTOOOO!!! 🤩#HailWV pic.twitter.com/4vDX2YjCMI

— WVU Men’s Soccer (@WVUMensSoccer) November 28, 2021

“That’s a very good team that we’ve just beaten,” said WVU coach Dan Stratford of Tulsa. “I thought that once we showed that we could set up the high press, they had to change. And they did a little bit.

“We had to grind this out. We had to fight and dig really, really deep. The biggest message they had going into tonight was to have no regrets. From that perspective, it was unbelievable.”

West Virginia (12-3-5) will face the winner of Sunday’s Providence-Georgetown contest in the national quarterfinals next weekend.

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Postgame video recaps: West Virginia 34, Kansas 28

(Neal Brown postgame press conference)

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Postgame video recaps from West Virginia’s 34-28 win over Kansas in the regular season finale for both teams.

(Game highlights)

(Postgame “Round of Sound”)

 

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Jackson-Davis pours in 43 points, Indiana tops Marshall

— By David Walsh

Trayce Jackson-Davis and Xavier Johnson came up with career nights to power Indiana past Marshall, 90-79, Saturday night in front of 12,330 fans inside Simon Akjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

The Big Ten Network aired the game live.

Jackson-Davis, a 6-foot-9 forward, finished with 43 points along with five rebounds and five blocks. The scoring outburst mark the most by an Indiana player since current head coach Mike Woodson hit for 48 against Illinois on March 3, 1979.
The game marked the third-career 30-point game and first-career 40-point game for Jackson-Davis. He came in with a 16-point average.

Johnson finished with 20 points also for a career-high.

First-year coach Mike Woodson said Jackson-Davis came up big when needed.

“No, I never even mentioned that to Trayce,” Woodson said about his night against Illinois being just a bit higher when it comes to points. “Them days are long gone for me but it’s a hell of a game for him. You know, he played pretty much the whole game, and I rode him. A few times in time-out, I asked him if he was okay And he said, ‘Hey, I’m good, let me go.’ So we rode him, and we needed all 43 points.”

This was Marshall’s first road game after going 4-1 on a season-opening home stand.

Taevion Kinsey led Marshall with 21 points and point guard Andrew Taylor hit for 20. Obinna Anochili-Killen contributed 16 points, eight rebounds and blocked three shots.

Indiana came in allowing 52 points a game, No. 1 in the Big Ten and fifth nationally.

“Again, it’s the first time we’ve been tested. I mean, hey, it’s a part of basketball. But as a coach, man, you always want to see what your team is made of, “Woodson said. “We got down as much as 12, and it wasn’t no need to panic or anything like that. I mean, we weren’t playing well at that particular time. I made some substitutions. I came back once we got down 12 with the first unit and I thought our defense picked backup, Xavier (Johnson), especially, where early on, when Khristian (Lander) got in the game, we just weren’t into the ball.

“Taylor and Kinsey controlled our defense pretty much the whole game where we were beating our coverages. We weren’t getting them to our coverages, and that hasn’t happened much since we’ve been together as a unit. So that’s something we’ve got to work on and make sure that it doesn’t happen again like that.”

Woodson knew he would get a quality effort from a Dan D’Antoni coached team.

“I mean, we all watch film. They watch film on them, and I thought they were prepared. And we don’t take anybody lightly. It’s not that type of deal. You know, we knew that they were a good team. They are well-coached. I know D’Antoni’s teams. I’ve worked with Dan. His offense is as good as they come.

“I thought again our coverages weren’t solid early on and they were getting behind our defense for layups. I mean, they had I think as many points as we had at halftime in the paint, and that hasn’t happened since we been together as a ball club. So you know, it’s something that we were challenged. I mean, hey, it happens in basketball. But me as a coach, I want to see who is going to step up and make plays, and tonight I thought we did in the second half.”

Taylor’s point output is his best to date.

“Should’ve been more aggressive early,” Taylor said. “First time in an environment like that. Next time I’ve got to be more prepared.

“He’s very quick, tall and strong (Taylor said of Jackson-Davis). He missed some shots early, then started to hit. He’s just a great athlete.”

Taylor said Kinsey battled with the Hoosiers.

“He can jump with any of those dudes,” Taylor said. “Good to see him on a big stage like that.”

“My whole team can play with those guys,” Kinsey said. “We belong here. It wasn’t the result we wanted. We made a couple of mistakes, stupid mistakes that we’ve got clean up.”

D’Antoni said he Herd got a bit sloppy after it took a 12-point first-half lead at 34-22 with six minutes left.

“A little loose at crucial times,” D’Antoni said. “We’ve got to take care of the ball. We’ll learn from this. They have a good defense. We scored against it. There are no moral victories. We showed we can play in any atmosphere.”

This is Indiana’s 50th season in Assembly Hall.

Marshall’s next game is Wednesday at Akron. Tip is 7 p.m. The Herd’s next home game is Saturday against Duquesne. Tip is at 7 p.m.

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Ritchie County downs Wheeling Central 20-16, advances to Super Six for first time

(Highlights by Teran Malone)

ELLENBORO, W.Va. — Rick Haught could hardly hide the emotion in the aftermatch of Ritchie County’s 20-16 victory over Wheeling Central in Saturday’s Class A semifinal.

Having taken over one of the more dormant football programs in the state prior to the 2018 season, Haught had helped lead the Rebels to several successful seasons that culminated with trips to the postseason.

Yet never before had Haught or the Rebels been part of a victory that could match the importance of what transpired on a muddy grass surface at Chuck Schofield Memorial Stadium.

“I’m trying not get emotional, but it’s every coach and every kid’s dream to get to Wheeling Island,” Haught said. “This was a tough week. Our kids have never practiced on Thanksgiving week. The weather was horrible and they came out here with great attitudes and then found a way to win today. It’s going to be a special week in this county.”

After the contest went to halftime scoreless, the No. 8 Maroon Knights (9-4) struck first on the opening series of the second half. A 55-yard scoring drive was capped by Michael Toepfer’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Lorenzo Ferrera on fourth-and-8. Cole O’Neil reached the end zone on a two-point run, allowing Central to lead 8-0 at the 8:38 mark of the third quarter.

“We didn’t get used to the field conditions until the second half really,” Central coach Mike Young said. “We made some adjustments to what we were trying to do.“

The Rebels (12-1) answered immediately in the form of Ethan Haught’s 56-yard TD pass to Marlon Moore, though the two-point try resulted in Haught being sacked, leaving the Maroon Knights with an 8-6 lead.

“I can’t remember the last time we didn’t win the second half,” Rick Haught said. “It happened again today. wW gave up the score right off the bat to go down, but we didn’t hang our heads. We got our kids to come back.”

On the ensuing series, Central elected to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Rebels’ 39, but Payton Hildebrand’s pass fell incomplete, giving RCHS the ball back.

Two plays later, the Rebels had their first lead of the game when Haught threw a short pass to Gus Morrison, who reversed fields and displayed breakaway speed en route to a 60-yard touchdown.

The Rebels’ two-point play was again unsuccessful, leaving them with a 12-8 advantage with 3:06 to play in the third.

“That was a play we just put in on Thursday,” Morrison said of the score. “I caught the ball and looked upfield and there was nothing, so I cut back and I saw their corner slipped, and it was wide open to the house.”

An exchange of punts left Central starting at its own 8 with a four-point deficit and 7:07 remaining. While the Maroon Knights gained a first down on Riley Watkins’ 15-yard run, they couldn’t move the chains again and were left with fourth-and-6 at their 27.

Young elected for a fake punt, but Cody Martos’ pass was intercepted by Morrison, allowing RCHS to start at the Central 24 with 5:52 remaining.

Seth Hardy immediately followed with a 24-yard TD run, and after a third failed two-point play, the Rebels led 18-8.

But the Maroon Knights didn’t go away quietly, and answered with a four-play scoring drive that Ferrera capped with his 35-yard touchdown run. Hildebrand connected with Jayvon Miller on the two-point pass, cutting Ritchie’s lead to 18-16 with 4:38 left.

“They’re such an explosive team and you saw what they did to us to close it within score,” Rick Haught said. “We go with a two safety look thinking they have to throw it and they just run it. They score real quick and that did not make my life any easier.”

Haught gained 2 yards on a fourth-and-2 run allowing Ritchie to pick up a critical first down that forced Central to use both of its remaining timeouts down the stretch. While the Maroon Knights held from there, Morrison’s punt again pinned Central, forcing them to start at its own 3 with 40 seconds to play.

“In these type of games, you don’t want to give a good offense the ball, especially with the field conditions,” Rick Haught said. “You have to take the risk of moving the chains and we talked before the game about the key was moving the chains, and we moved them just enough to get the win.”

Hildebrand was sacked by Garrett Cunningham for a safety with 10 seconds to play, allowing the Rebels to seal the win and secure their first trip to the Super Six.

The setback ended a 14-game playoff win streak for the Maroon Knights.

“It was very challenging. When you can’t even line up to kick an extra point because of field conditions, that doesn’t sit well when you’re used to playing on turf,” Young said. “We went out and practiced on grass, but we didn’t practice on mud and that’s what that field was in a lot of positions — a lot of overwhelming mud and dirt and sliding and slipping.

“It just wasn’t healthy, but it is what it is and they scored more points than we did, and we’re going to move forward.”

The Rebels began the game with a 15 play drive, but stalled in the red zone after consecutive sacks.

Central’s best opportunity to score in the opening half came on its final series, but Hildebrand’s pass to O’Neil on fourth-and-6 covered only 5 yards, resulting in a turnover on downs at the Rebels’ 7.

“I’ve been telling my kids all week this field is our advantage,” Rick Haught said. “We’ve played and practiced on it and I thought that would even up some of the advantages they had. Our defense played really well. I can’t say enough about these kids and the heart they have more so than the talent they have.”

Ritchie County will clash with No. 6 Williamstown in Saturday’s Class A final at Wheeling Island Stadium.

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Bonus photo gallery: Martinsburg returns to Super Six with 21-0 win over Bridgeport

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Photo gallery from No. 2 Martinsburg’s 21-0 win over No. 3 Bridgeport in the Class AAA semifinals.

(Photo gallery courtesy of Christopher C. Davis/@EP_BigCameraGuy)

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Setting the scene from Lawrence as WVU seeks win No. 6 vs. Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Joe Brocato sets the scene from David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium as West Virginia (5-6) looks to secure bowl eligibility with their sixth win against Kansas (2-9).

WVU team arrival

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