By Kyle Lovern
The annual Hatfield-McCoy Senior All-Star football game is no more.
This summer’s game will have a different format.
It will be the inaugural East-West Senior All-Star game once again sponsored by Cliffs Natural Resources.
The two teams will be made up of players entirely from West Virginia, rather than a team from the Mountain State and a Kentucky team like in past years.
The game will be played on Saturday, August 2nd at Buck Harless Stadium on the campus of Mingo Central High School.
There will even be new color schemes – yellow and green. In past years W.Va. had the navy blue and gold, while the Bluegrass State had the UK blue and white.
The “yellow” is the East Team, while the “Green” squad is the West Team.
Longtime Matewan and Mingo Central Head Coach Yogi Kinder and Joey Fields will be the game directors. Fields is an assistant to Kinder at MCHS and guided the W.Va. squad to victory the past two years.
“This year’s game will be East versus West, splitting the state up into two parts,” said Kinder. “This will be easier to get good quality coaches. Because the West Virginia teams are all on the same calendar, it really has been hard getting coaches in Kentucky because they are already busy with their high school teams.”
Kentucky schools start practice and playing earlier than their counterparts in the Mountain State.
“The Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl has been a good thing for many years,” Kinder added. “We have been planning this and talking about it for several years. Now is the right time to make the change. It will much easier to get players and coaches.”
“There are a lot of good players that are not picked for our North-South game from the southern part of the state. The West team will practice in Logan and at Scott,” Kinder said. “The East team will practice at Princeton High School. Cliffs Natural Resources will be our team sponsor again this year.”
The West roster will be comprised of players from these high schools -Wayne, Mingo Central, Chapmanville, George Washington, Capital, South Charleston, Tug Valley, Scott and a few more.
The East team will have players from schools like Bluefield, Princeton, River View, Mt. View and many others.
Players will come from theses counties:
East Team: McDowell, Wyoming, Mercer, Summers, Monroe, Raleigh and Webster counties.
West Team: Mingo, Logan, Boone, Wayne, Cabell, Kanawha and Lincoln counties.
The coach for the West squad will be former Logan High head coach Gary Mullins. The coach for the East squad has not yet been named.
The rosters for the game have not been released and are still being finalized. Several top players have already committed to playing.
Fields said that there is a lot of talent in the southern part of West Virginia, especially from areas like Bluefield and Princeton.
The Hatfield-McCoy Senior Bowl, which lasted for 18 years, had some great action on the gridiron. It was played at Matewan’s Tiger Field and later moved to Harless Stadium.
It was started after the old Kiwanis Senior Bowl folded. That all-star game was held at Lefty Hamilton Park and folded.
The K-Bowl started back in 1957 and lasted until the mid-1980s. The only time that game wasn’t played was the summer after the disastrous 1977 flood.
(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. 33 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)