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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Prep football roundup: Week 9 Part Two

MADISON -- A dozen boxes of Gino's Pizza, along with three dozen bottles of Coca Cola and Mello Yello, sat on the table inside the coaches' office here Monday evening, waiting for a pack of hungry teen-agers fresh off the football field to consume them.

The Scott Skyhawks entered their locker room to the delicious smell of melted cheese and spicy pepperoni, wondering from where it was coming and, more important to them, if and when they could eat it.

Senior tailback B.T. Roberts provided the tasty treat to thank his teammates, particularly his blockers, who have helped him rush for more than 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season.

"I wouldn't have any yards without them," Roberts said. "They do a tremendous job and I want them to know I appreciate it."

"Our guys really cherish the time they spend with each other and the things they accomplish with each other," said Scott Coach Shane Griffith, whose team enters its regular season finale against Boone County rival Sherman with an 8-1 record. "This is just an example of that."

Roberts rushed for 254 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries Friday in No. 5 Scott's 41-8 win over No. 16 Liberty-Raleigh, raising his season totals to 1,231 yards and 10 touchdowns on 170 carries.

His individual goal is 1,500 yards.

"If I get it, that would be great," Roberts said. "If I don't get it, that would be all right, too. All I care about is winning. If we can continue to do that, I will be happy."

After Roberts and one of his teammates suggested it, his dad agreed to take the Skyhawks to Texas Steakhouse at Southridge Center if he reaches that mark Friday against the Tide.

"This could get expensive," Doug Roberts said with a smile.

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POINT PLEASANT football Coach Steve Safford has asked himself, from time to time, if he really wants to hang around and continue to coach the Black Knights.

After more than three decades, that question has come up in his mind on several occasions.
"I never thought I'd be here this long," said Safford, who will conclude his 31st year on the Point Pleasant sideline at the end of Friday's home game against Cardinal Conference opponent Herbert Hoover.

"I figured when my son graduated (in 1994) I would hang it up, but we went through a couple tough years where we weren't very good and I didn't want to leave it like that.

"Then, from 1996-98 we made the playoffs and I thought, boy, this is fun, I'll hang around a little longer.''

The Black Knights will take a mediocre record (3-6), but a positive attitude into the meeting with Hoover. There are no playoff implications for Point Pleasant while the Huskies (7-1) have already clinched a postseason berth.

This is a situation Safford has mulled over many times during a coaching career that features 196 victories and "160-some losses.

"These kids have no quit in them," Safford said. "Last week (entering the James Monroe game), we still had a chance (for the playoffs)."

After the Knights had their brief two-game winning streak ended in a 16-14 loss to unbeaten James Monroe, Safford's job got harder.

"We told them all week that was our playoffs. This week will be a little difficult."

And when this season is over, no matter what happens against the Huskies and their star tailback, D.J. Taylor, Safford will continue his duties involving attendance and as dean of students and health teacher at Point Pleasant.

He'll try to enjoy his typical short summer until the leaves begin to turn color and the 90-degree heat pierces the August air. That's when he'll return to the field for year No. 32.

That is, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

"I told my brother I wanted to coach until I get 200 wins. At the current rate, that could take a couple more years," joked Safford.

"Right now, there's a pretty good chance there will be a next year."
JOSH CULBERTSON isn't fazed by top-rated Beckley.

Culbertson, Nitro's senior tailback and West Virginia's rushing leader, is preparing for Class AAA's top-rated team in a game that will help determine whether Beckley (8-0) can secure a home berth throughout the playoffs.

Beckley tailback Marcus Manns already has a state basketball title two years ago and has rejuvenated a Beckley football program that hasn't won a title since 1977.

"I've heard a lot about him,'' Culbertson said.

With the 200-yard games that Culbertson and Manns are capable of putting up, Culbertson isn't about to turn this game into a duel.

"I'm really not going to think about that. We're just focused on winning,'' he said.

"I don't think we're going to go in there wide-eyed and kind of scared or anything. I think we're ready.''

No. 4 Nitro (7-1) has plenty of homework to do before facing Manns.

In the rain on Friday night, Manns rushed for 274 yards and five touchdowns in a 34-7 win at Huntington.

He also has more than a half-dozen interceptions on defense.

But Manns could end up being the third-best player on the field statistically against Nitro, which has the 1-2 combination of Culbertson and Fulmer.

Fulmer has a state-record 300 career catches, surpassing the mark of 299 set by Nitro's Chris Martin from 1995-98. Fulmer has 4,485 career receiving yards. Martin holds the state record of 4,940.

Fulmer also is only three catches short of setting the national record for career receptions of 303 owned by Abram Booty of Evangel Christian (1993-96).

WILLIAMSTOWN CAN set a state record with its 45th straight regular-season win this week at home against Ritchie County.

Class A No. 1 Williamstown tied Winfield's state record with a 21-0 win over Magnolia, rated No. 8 in Class AA. Tyler Lowers ran for 165 yards and a TD and also caught a scoring pass from Brandon Roberts.

* * *

ODDS & ENDS: Calhoun County earned its first playoff berth since 1983 with a 33-6 win over Wirt County. ... Morgantown had six sacks and two interceptions in a 42-7 win over John Marshall, extending the Mohigans' streak to 23 consecutive games. ... St. Albans Coach Derek Christian left his team's homecoming game in the fourth quarter after his mother collapsed in the stands. Linda Christian's condition has stabilized and she is scheduled for open-heart surgery this week at Charleston Area Medical Center's Memorial Division according to a family member.

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