Looking back at local sports in 2012
by Ralph B. Davis
Well it’s hard to believe, but 2012 is almost over.
I came back to the job as sports editor back in March of this year. So I thought I would go back and list some of the top local sports stories of the year.
1. Tug Valley won the Class AA state basketball championship. Coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson won his first title as a head coach. He had been an assistant coach for Williamson and University Heights (Ky.) when they won state titles, but this was his first as a head coach.
2. Belfry High School made it back to the state Class 3A championship game. The Pirates lost again to their nemesis Central High School of Louisville. However, Belfry has built a solid football program under coach Philip Haywood and they are one of the best teams year in and year out in the Bluegrass State.
3. Mingo Central made the playoffs for the first time under coach Yogi Kinder. The Miners got beat in the first round of the Class AA post season, but they made it in only their second season as a consolidated school.
4. Tug Valley had three players make all-state in basketball. Senior center Mason Pack and junior guards Austin Brewer and Mikey Newsome. Pack is now playing college basketball at West Virginia Wesleyan.
5. Joe May, a senior all-purpose back for Mingo Central, made first team Class 2A all-state in football, while senior lineman Isaac Parsley made first team Class A from Tug Valley.
6. Tug Valley made the playoffs in football. Longtime coach Tony Clusky took over the program and led the Panthers to an 8-2 regular season mark.
7. Frankie Smith was named as head basketball coach for Mingo Central replacing first-year head coach Duane Estepp who left after his first season. Then Smith left for Sheldon Clark back in late September. He was replaced by longtime Logan assistant Brad Napier.
8. Kentucky fans in the area were excited last spring as they saw their Wildcats win another national title behind Player of the Year Anthony Davis.
9. West Virginia football fans saw their team clobber Clemson last January in the BCS Orange Bowl to highlight a wild year under first-year head coach Dana Holgorsen. WVU started this current season on fire, but the Big 12 proved to be tough on the Mountaineers, as they went into a 5-game losing streak. WVU was to play in the Pinstripe Bowl against Syracuse as I wrote this column on Saturday.
10. Mountaineer fans were treated to some outstanding record setting performances by senior quarterback Geno Smith, all-purpose back Tavon Austin and wideout Stedman Bailey.
Belfry High School had two honorable mentions in the AP Class AAA all-state list. Madison Ghormley at linebacker and Sani Warren at defensive back were on the list. Personally, I think there should have been more on the list and a couple of players on the all-state team.
The Pirates were once again state runner-up and had another outstanding season. Senior Tony Messer was one of the best tight ends and defensive ends in the state and linebacker Payton Mullins had an outstanding season, as did several other Pirates. They had eight on the all-district team and Haywood was coach of the Year once again.
… The WVU-Eastern Kentucky basketball game will be televised today on Root Sports (Channel 29), which was formerly Fox Sports Pittsburgh.
… Because of press deadlines, the game story for the WVU-Syracuse Pinstripe Bowl game will not appear until later this week in our print edition. I will get the story on-line. The same goes for the UK-Louisville basketball game. Both of these games were played Saturday afternoon.
… I’ve been on vacation for a few days, so you might have noticed there has not been as much local sports. That will change starting today. Basketball is in full swing in the area and I want to remind coaches and scorekeepers from the local high schools and middle schools to send in your scores and stats to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 304-235-4242, ext. 33.
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