RED JACKET - Mingo Central High School are ready for their annual Meet the Miners festivities which will kick off the start of numerous fall sports and another high school football campaign.
The 2019 edition of Meet the Miners is scheduled for this Saturday at James H. "Buck" Harless Stadium with festivities getting under way at 4 p.m.
This will be the first chance for Miner fans to get a look at the Mingo Central football team and second-year coach Josh Sammons as well, as several other fall sport teams at MCHS and various middle schools and local midget leagues.
Players from the Mingo football team as well as the golf, volleyball, cheerleading, boys and girls soccer teams and the MCHS band will all be announced onto the turf at "Buck" Harless Stadium.
All four of the feeder schools, Williamson, Burch, Matewan and Gilbert, are also invited to attend as well as any local midget league team from the four communities.
Following the Meet the Miners festivities, coach Sammons and Mingo Central will host a four-team grid-o-rama which will feature Class AAA power Cabell Midland, Wyoming East and former Cardinal Conference rival Tolsia.
Wyoming East will scrimmage Tolsia in the first game starting at 5 p.m., while Mingo Central will take on Class AAA Cabell Midland in the nightcap.
With this scrimmage being the first contact of 2019 against an opposing team coaches typically elect to just do 10 plays from scrimmage and then flip from offense to defense, and vice-versa, rather than doing a timed game with downs and kickoffs.
This will be the first year that Midland and head coach Luke Salmons will participate in the preseason event. The Knights went 6-5 a year ago and lost out in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs when they fell 14-7 to Huntington High.
They are one of the biggest schools in the entire state of West Virginia in terms of enrollment as they are listed as having 1,965 students, according to the last WVSSAC classifications list.
They are traditionally a power-running team featuring mammoth offensive linemen and will provide a good preseason test for the Class AA Miners.
Wyoming East is expecting a turnaround in the 2019 season as they have new blood on the sidelines in coach Larry Thompson who came over from Mount View in the offseason.
Thompson turned the program around for the Golden Knights during his five years in McDowell County as he led them to 10 wins in his final season and a berth in the quarterfinals of the Class A playoffs.
He is hoping to do the same at Wyoming East where he is taking over a team that went 2-8 a year ago and has missed the Class AA playoffs the past four seasons.
This will be Wyoming East's first trip to Mingo Central since the 2015 season.
Tolsia is also looking for a rebound year after they went 5-5 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year under Eric Crum. The Rebels were in the Class AA championship game as recent as 2015 but have now shifted down to Class A.
They are hoping to be much improved in the 2019 season and get back into the Class A playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Tickets for the 2019 Meet the Miners are $5 for adults and only $3 for students.
Mingo Central will have their second and final tune-up game the next week when they will play Winfield at Scott High School in the Cardinal Conference grid-o-rama at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24.
Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.