By Kyle Lovern
BRADSHAW - Gilbert native and alumnus Gherig Justice will coach the East senior all-stars in the inaugural Cliffs Natural Resources Senior Bowl game to be played Saturday, August 2, at Harless Stadium on the campus of Mingo Central High School.
The game replaces the old Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl, which pitted southern West Virginia graduates against those from eastern Kentucky.
The new format will see players from such powerful programs as Bluefield, Princeton, Summers County, James Monroe and others playing for the East squad. Other schools represented on the East roster are River View, Mount View, Wyoming East and Westside.
Justice, who is now the head coach for the River View Raiders, which is a consolidation of Iaeger and Big Creek High Schools, has put together an athletic roster.
“This was a chance to work with some kids from Bluefield and Princeton,” Justice said. “This is exciting and it really peaked my interest.”
“Bluefield always has some fast and athletic players,” he added.
Justice has D.J. Edwards, a quarterback – defensive back who starred in multiple sports for the Beavers. Edwards will be playing at Concord this fall. Brennan Wheeler, who will walk-on at WVU, is another skill player from Bluefield. Justin Carter, a wide receiver, is another one of the six Bluefield players on the East roster.
Justice also has 2-way lineman Christian Marshall and Zen Clements, a tight end, which should help his team in the bowl game.
“We have the Hedinger (Christian) kid from Wyoming East, who is a good receiver,” Justice said. “Bishop (Coty) is one of the best linebackers we played against last year.”
“Isaiah Brown from Summers County did well in the North-South game,” Justice added. “They had T.J. Smith, who is one of those versatile players we can utilize at skill positions and as a punter.”
These are just a few of the players on the talented roster put together by Justice and his staff.
“It’s exciting to come back to Mingo County,” the former Gilbert assistant said. “I never thought I would coach anywhere but Gilbert, but this opportunity came along in McDowell County and I went with it.”
Justice also coaches girls’ basketball at River View.
He played for the Gilbert Lions on their 1995 Class A State championship team. He is the younger brother of Garin Justice, who is the head coach for the Concord College Mountain Lions. Garin was starting guard for the WVU Mountaineers. He was captain of the 2005 Mountaineer squad that went 11-1, defeated Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and ended the season as the fifth best team in the country according to the final AP Poll.
Gherig Justice said he plans to practice his all-star squad at Princeton High School because he felt it was centrally located for most of his roster of players. He is being assisted by Nate Tanner of Summers County and Wes Eddy of Webster County.
Cliffs Sr. Bowl East Roster
Head Coach, Gehrig Justice, River View
Offensive Cord., Nate Tanner, Summers Co.
Defensive Cord., Wes Eddy, Webster Co.
Player …… School …….. Pos.
Greg Marshall. River View. RB/DL
Paco Bonds. Mount View. OL/DL
Jamel Green. Oak Hill. RB/DB
Charlie Carter. Oak Hill. OL/DL
Walker Lawson. Webster Co. RB/DB
Roger Cogar . Webster Co. C/LS
Alex Brown. Summer Co. OL/DL
Isaiah Brown. Summers Co. RB/DB
TJ Smith Summers Co. QB/ P
Erik Lindsey. Summers Co. WR/DB
Jaquan Ayers. Summers Co. TE/LB
Coty Bishop. Wyoming East. RB /LB
Christian Hedinger. Wyoming East. WR/DB
Brian Whitt. Wyoming East. QB/LB
Michael Bland. Wyoming East. TE/DE
Jeremy Myers. Wyoming East. TE/LB
DJ Lester. Westside. OL/DL
Phillip Browning. Westside. OL/DL
Christian Marshall. Princeton. C/DL
Aaron Taylor. Princeton. OL/DL
Devin Allen. Princeton. RB/S
Nick Woods. Princeton. OL/LB
Zen Clements. Princeton. TE/LB
Trevor Neel. James Monroe. OL/DL
Brandon Carter. James Monroe. RB/ LB
Brennan Wheeler. Bluefield. RB/LB
DJ. Sims. Bluefield. OL/DL
Daniel Baker. Bluefield. WR/DB
DJ Edwards. Bluefield. QB/DB
Justin Carter. Bluefield. WR/DB
Bryan Morris. Bluefield. WR/DB
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)