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A Climb-Trusting Win for Neal Brown

Mountaineer football coach Neal Brown’s mantra is Trust the Climb.  The adage serves two purposes; it buys him some time as he tries to rebuild the program and it establishes the basis of the relationship between his staff and his players, as well as Brown and the fans.

The climb also states clearly that Mountaineer Nation will reap the benefits of that trust—wins over ranked opponents and rivals, and contention for a Big 12 championship.

That trust was tested this past Saturday.

The Mountaineers’ 20-point lead over rival Virginia Tech was slipping away.  A late turnover gave Tech the ball deep in West Virginia territory with just over two-minutes remaining. Tech pushed the ball down to the three yard line for a first and goal.  A touchdown and extra point would have given the Hokies a one-point victory.

However, the West Virginia defense did not yield and Braxton Burmeister’s fourth down pass attempt was broken up by Jackie Matthews. The Mountaineers prevailed 27-21.

The stakes were incredibly high for an early season non-conference game. Tech is a rival and came to Morgantown ranked 15th in the country. West Virginia had already lost to rival Maryland, so another setback may have caused fans to doubt the climb.

Additionally, frittering away a big lead would have added insult to the injury of defeat.  The victory was thrilling for Mountaineer fans, but a loss under those circumstances would have been devastating and raised serious doubts.

The win helps solidify the trust Coach Brown has asked for, from his players and the fans.  That trust must be mutual.  Brown and his staff must have the confidence that WVU’s athletic administration is committed to his program, that fans will give him the opportunity to build a program, and that, in return, Brown will have success and produce teams the fans can be proud of.

Trust creates strength because it is truthful, and Brown is one of the more honest head coaches you will find.  Ask him a question, and he will answer it.  His candor is refreshing in a profession where coaches are masters at saying nothing substantive or are outright misleading.

For example, West Virginia was driving near the end of the first half. The offensive line was opening holes for Leddie Brown, who carried three times for 23 yards, including an 11 yard carry to the two for a first and goal.

However, the next play was a fade pass from Jarret Doege to Isaiah Esdale in the end zone that fell incomplete.  That was followed by a Doege bootleg that lost two yards. West Virginia had to settle for a field goal.

Why run a fade that rarely works?  As Brown explained on MetroNews Talkline Monday, that was not the play call.  Brown was supposed to get the carry, but a bad snap pulled Doege out of position and forced him to throw it away.

The next play was also supposed to be a run, but a Tech defender penetrated and stopped the handoff, causing Doege to scramble awkwardly before losing two yards.

So, we know what happened.  A mistake was made, and a Tech player made a play.  That is part of the game, and more forgivable than  a bad play call.  Brown’s candor is refreshing.  He explained what happened.  That helps build trust.

We do not know how coach Neal Brown’s tenure will play out at WVU.  If the program does continue to climb, then the victory over Virginia Tech will have been a defining moment.

 

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Man charged in Wheeling shooting

WHEELING, W.Va. — Police have secured arrest warrants for a man in connection with a Monday afternoon shooting in Wheeling.

Daniel Wines, 21, is charged with attempt murder.

Daniel Wines is wanted for attempted murder in today’s shooting on 29th Street. The victim remains hospitalized. Anyone with information can call police at 304-234-3664. pic.twitter.com/sdQVEih1ui

— Wheeling, WV Police (@WheelingPolice) September 21, 2021

Police said the shooting took place on 29th Street.

The shooting victim remained hospitalized Monday night.

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Charleston City Council honors Bailey; funeral services set for Tuesday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston City Council on Monday remembered the impact of Councilmember John Kennedy Bailey with a resolution honoring his service to the city.

Bailey died last Wednesday at the age of 53. He was elected to the Charleston City Council in 2018 as an at-large member, and served as chairman of the Environment and Recycling Committee and member of the Ordinance and Rules Committee.

The council’s resolution, which also noted Bailey’s legal experience and focus on improving Charleston, was placed at Bailey’s desk in the council chamber.

John Kennedy Bailey (Charleston City Council)

“Whoever will replace John will never be able to replace John, and I’m sure that person coming in will know that immediately, ” Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin told MetroNews affiliate WCHS-AM.

Goodwin said it has been difficult accepting Bailey’s death, saying he was an exemplary figure on the city council.

“He felt very passionate about a number of issues, but he never shut the door on you if you wanted to bring something that was different,” she said.

Bailey, a Fairmont native, graduated from Yale University at worked for U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall on Capitol Hill. He later attended the West Virginia University College of Law and worked for the Goodwin and Goodwin law firm, the state Supreme Court and James F. Humphreys & Associates L.C. before starting his own firm in 2006.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., spoke about Bailey’s impact in a floor speech on Monday in the Senate chamber.

“He will be remembered for his professional abilities as well as his service to his community,” Manchin said. “But most importantly, John will be remembered for his commitment to his children and family, spending much of his time at Jack, Brooks and Lisette’s many activities.”

Funeral services will take place Tuesday at First Presbyterian Church in Charleston. The visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. with an ensuing service at 11:30 a.m. People will be able to view the funeral at http://firstpresby.com/. A private interment service will take place at Charleston’s Springhill Cemetery.

A celebration of Bailey will be held at the Red Carpet Lounge at 5 p.m.

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Fireball seen in Potomac Highlands may have been meteorite

MATHIAS, W.Va. — Meteorite hunters will be combing through parts of the Potomac Highlands after a fireball was reported over parts of eastern West Virginia and northern Virginia last week.

William Cooke, lead with the NASA Meteoroid Environments Office, said the reported fireball happened at about 10:30 a.m. last Friday over New Market, Virginia near the border with West Virginia and the Hardy County community of Mathias.

A boom sound was reported across the region.

According to Cooke, the fireball shows up on Geostationary Lightning Mapper data with the meteor that caused it having the same possible brightness as a full moon.

It is believed the meteor had an energy between one and two tons of dynamite and could have been anywhere between 50 to 100 pounds traveling at a typical speed of 45,000 miles per hour.

When the meteor broke up the pressure wave produced was recorded on seismometers and infrasound instruments.

Cooke said what makes the incident unique is the sky was very cloudy and there are not as many eyewitness reports of the actual fireball as there are of the loud boom.

Cooke said it is possible the incident produced meteorites across the region.

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Bartlett breaks out, earns Big 12 defensive honor for strong showing against Hokies

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  Less than a week ago, Jared Bartlett had two tackles and no sacks through the first two games of his sophomore season at West Virginia.

A rotational player at bandit, Bartlett hadn’t made a major impact against Maryland or Long Island.

While it wasn’t the desired start for the Miami native, Bartlett hadn’t been presented with an abundance of chances to build on his 2020 campaign — one that saw him tie for second on WVU with 3.5 sacks and record 19 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss.

“Really unlucky more than anything,” WVU defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley said in advance of the team’s matchup with No. 15 Virginia Tech. “He hasn’t had a lot of those opportunities going back a lot to how people move the pocket and how they protect us. That’s where he hasn’t been as productive where maybe he was last year.”

That all changed in the second half of Saturday’s 27-21 victory over the Hokies.

Bartlett earned his first sack of the season on the first play of the Hokies’ second series after halftime.

In the fourth quarter, he added two more sacks, including bringing down VT quarterback Braxton Burmeister on a fourth-and-goal play that resulted in a fumble recovered by WVU linebacker Lance Dixon.

“Coach Lesley always tells me that speed is my advantage,” Bartlett said. “I was just rushing with speed off the edge. I’m building confidence from my teammates in practice and it really helped me.”

Bartlett tied his career high with five tackles and had a career-best three sacks, consistently using that speed off the edge to get to Burmeister over the final two quarters.

Jared Bartlett

“We had an idea what they were going to do coming in,” Bartlett said. “Throughout the game, you make adjustments and we did slight things and really played physical.

“The idea that we had coming into the game was getting him off his spot and making him not get past the second read so he wouldn’t be able to get into a rhythm throwing the ball.”

It was a much-needed boost to a West Virginia defense that was put in tough situations while the Mountaineers struggled to protect what at one point was a 27-7 advantage.

Both of West Virginia’s turnovers in the fourth quarter allowed the Hokies to start in Mountaineer territory, including Jermaine Waller’s interception that put VT in the red zone down by six with 2:11 remaining.

After one first down, the Hokies were stopped short of the goal-line on four straight plays inside the the WVU 5.

“Being on defense is very emotional, so you have to keep a level head,” Bartlett said. “In the huddle, we stay calm, make our calls and make our adjustments. When it comes to playing, just go.”

On Monday, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Bartlett parlayed his breakout performance into being named Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Bartlett now turns his attention toward fourth-ranked Oklahoma and preparing for his first action against the Sooners after the teams were unable to play last season.

It’ll be a tough challenge for the WVU defense and its pass rushers, who are out to slow down Sooners’ sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler.

“I’m very proud of him. He’s a young player, but he flashed. It’s great in coverage when you have a guy that’s getting back there really quick,” WVU safety Alonzo Addae said. “It forces the quarterback to make decisions. It’s kind of hand in hand. If we cover them well enough, then the front seven can get there. If they’re rushing fast enough, he’ll make bad decisions and then we’re going to make plays.”

— — — —

West Virginia’s first Big 12 home game October 2 against Texas Tech will start at 3:30 p.m. The contest will air on ESPN2.

Mountaineer legend Darryl Talley will have his No. 90 retired that day.

The Red Raiders (3-0) open conference play Saturday at Texas looking to prolong their unbeaten start to the season.

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Four juveniles recaptured after taking off from Cabell juvenile facility

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — Four juveniles escaped from the state-operated Robert L. Shell juvenile detention facility in Barboursville on Monday.

The juveniles escaped at around 3:30 p.m. in the area near Interstate 64 and state Route 193 close to the Western Regional Jail.

Three of the four individuals were back in custody by 5 p.m. The fourth person was arrested after 7:30 p.m.

The group was in their detention facility issued clothing when state troopers took them into custody.

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Greenbrier County traversing new waters with mask mandate

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — A new mask mandate in Greenbrier County will be in effect for at least three weeks.

Dr. Bridgett Morrison

Greenbrier County Health Officer Dr. Bridgett Morrison told MetroNews Monday that’s how long until the next meeting Greenbrier County Commission.

A new state law gives county commissions veto power over health department decisions.

Morrison said the new law has put an additional burden on public health officials and their ability to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

“There lies the problem where you have politics come into it as well,” Morrison said. “A lot of the health officers are begging and have been begging the governor (Gov. Jim Justice) to make this (masks) a mandate so it will be easier to enforce.”

But Justice has said over and over again he doesn’t believe a statewide mandate is needed. He’s favored county by county decisions.

Greenbrier County is the only county with a mask mandate. Morrison said she’s thankful her health board finally agreed. She hopes the county commission will allow the mandate to continue if case numbers and hospital numbers continue to show it’s needed.

“I know that everybody’s in the same boat when it comes to politics. A year ago it was easier to convince people to do this, now it’s a lot harder,” Morrison said.

Last Friday’s announcement by the Greenbrier County Board of Health also included a pair of comments from two members of the Greenbrier County Commission.

Lowell Rose

“The other members of the county commission and I take our responsibility of protecting the residents of Greenbrier County very seriously,” stated Greenbrier County Commission President Lowell Rose.

Greenbrier County Commissioner Tammy Tincher added, “We value the opinion and work of the Greenbrier County Board of Health, and look forward to working together as we review the mask mandate.”

A mask mandate inside public buildings provides an extra layer of protection, Morrison said.

“We ask and have been begging for people to wear masks. Some people stepped up and were doing so but not enough,” she said.

Greenbrier County was ‘orange’ on Monday’s COVID-19 daily alert map with a percentage positivity rate of 7.46% and an infection rate of 79.54.

Morrison, who also is a hospitalist at Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, said too many people have COVID and too many lives are being lost.

“Every day we’re losing more people and young people too. It’s disheartening,” Morrison said. “It’s real easy to not know the extreme of what’s going on. Essentially our facility and most places are operating in disaster mode.”

According to the Greenbrier County mandate, any individual in the county, regardless of vaccination status, is required to wear a mask or face covering over their mouth and nose while inside any building open to the public. There are exceptions for children under the age of 2, people who have trouble breathing for a documented medical reason and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

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Photo gallery: Buckhannon-Upshur wins the Big 10 Golf Championship

MOUNT CLARE, W.Va. — Buckhannon-Upshur claimed the Big 10 Golf Championship at Bel Meadow Golf Club on Monday.

Final team results:

  1. Buckhannon-Upshur – 255
  2. North Marion – 262
  3. Bridgeport – 264
  4. Philip Barbour – 270
  5. Fairmont Senior – 273
  6. Lincoln – 281
  7. Grafton – 296
  8. East Fairmont – 302
  9. Elkins – 308
  10. Lewis County – 336
  11. Robert C. Byrd – 369

Individual Top 10:

Dylan Runner (NM) – 82

Evan Coffman (BU) – 83

Isaac Lane (BU) – 85

Connor Meese (BHS) – 85

John Lopez (Lincoln) – 86

Landon Hitt (BU) – 87

Brayden Cole (PB) – 87

Logan Huffman (FSHS) – 88

Jace Lancaster (Liberty) – 88

Tanner Miller (Elkins) – 88

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The Game Within The Game (Episode 81)

Longtime Las Vegas oddsmaker Dave Sharapan joins Brad Howe for a Monday Night Football preview and a look ahead to the early week 3 lines in the NFL.

Which dog provides the best value? What are oddsmakers telling us with the Tampa Bay – LA Rams early line? Can Teddy Bridgewater’s incredible ATS streak continue against the New York Jets this weekend?

Dave also gave advice on how to approach former WVU star Alek Manoah’s upcoming start against the American League-leading Tampa Bay Rays (game scheduled for Tuesday night). Just last week Manoah held the Rays to no runs on just one hit while striking out 10 in a Blue Jays win.

All of that and more in the latest The Game Within The Game presented by DraftKings.

New users click here DraftKings Sportsbook… and use code METROGAME for a free money sign up bonus offer for week 3 of the NFL regular season.

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Photo gallery: ECU hands Marshall first loss

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, squandering a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in a 42-38 setback to East Carolina.

It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Thundering Herd, who play Thursday at Appalachian State.

(Photos by Angie Shockley)

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