RED JACKET – For the first time in history, Mingo Central will play host to Wheeling Central Catholic, Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. at James H. “Buck” Harless Stadium.
The game will also be played in honor of Harless, who donated much of the money to build the new football stadium.
“We want to pay tribute to Buck Harless,” MCHS principal Deborah Harris said. “This will be ‘Buck Harless Day’ and we will also celebrate his 93rd birthday.”
Harless is a Gilbert businessman who has been a staunch supporter of education in this county as well as the state’s two biggest universities, West Virginia and Marshall.
In the meantime, this will be an important game for Mingo Central’s football program. Many fans have had this game marked on their calendar since the game was scheduled.
Several of the former Mingo County schools that were consolidated to make up MCHS played Wheeling Central in the Class AA and A playoffs in past years. The Maroon Knights have been a perennial Single A playoff team and they own several state championships. Williamson, Matewan and Gilbert all took on WCCHS and most of the time had to make the long drive to the state’s northern panhandle to take on the Maroon Knights at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Mingo Central is led by senior tailback Joe May and senior quarterback Matt Lester. Senior linemen Garth Simpkins and junior Drew Kirk are also key to the Miners on both sides of the football. Junior Alex “Booger” Lee has bounced back from an early season ankle injury and has put together some solid performances.
Coach Yogi Kinder and his staff are hoping to make the school’s first playoff appearance.
Wheeling Central is led by C.J. Burch, who has stepped in and done an admirable job for the Maroon Knights at quarterback.
Braxton Nolte and Joey John are also key playmakers for the Wheeling school. John caught a touchdown last week. He and rangy wide receiver Michael Pleva are the top targets for Burch.
Coach is Mike Young and his squad had a record of 4-3, but don’t let that deceive you, they play a tough schedule and the Maroon Knights are still a perennial power in Class A in this state.
Wheeling Central has defeated Madonna, Westinghouse, Penn., Linsly, Taylor Allderdice, Penn. and lost to Harrison Central, Ohio, Magnolia and Shadyside, Ohio.
Mingo Central comes into the game ranked No. 10 in Class 2A, while Wheeling Central is currently No. 16 in Class A, and needs a win to help their playoff chances.