Mountain State football thoughts and remembering John Dickensheets December 4, 2012
WEARING STRIPES: Isn’t it interesting that just one season removed from the Big East Conference the Mountaineers will meet one of its old foes from the league? West Virginia and Syracuse will collide inside Yankee Stadium on December 29 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Of course, the Mountaineers were a part of the Big 12 Conference in 2012 for the first time while Syracuse was closing out its days in the Big East before making a move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
What adds to the intrigue is the two will have the opportunity to not only compete for a bowl trophy, but also the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy – a prize that went to the annual game winner when the two were meeting regularly. Schwartzwalder is a Parkersburg native and WVU grad who later coached for years at Syracuse.
While this may not be the bowl many had envisioned, it certainly beats the alternative of being left out of the postseason. A game is a game and WVU gets to show off its offense, capable of hitting plenty of homers, inside a rich baseball venue.
MARSHALL MUST SIT: Unfortunately, Marshall’s high-powered offense has to sit idle during the bowl season. Marshall came up one win short of being bowl-eligible.
There were plenty of highs throughout the season for Marshall, though, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Many offensive weapons will return next season for the Herd in what will be year four for Doc Holliday. In addition, Marshall’s defense will return plenty of familiar faces along with some players who never got to suit up in 2012 due to injuries.
Throw in another solid recruiting class, a revamped schedule in C-USA play and there’s plenty of promise for the Herd next season.
No one will work any hard at it than Holliday, a Mountain State native from Hurricane.
SO LONG TO THE WVIAC: The 2012 season marked the last for West Virginia Conference football. Next year all of the traditional football-playing schools in the league will be a part of the new Mountain East Conference. The MEC will include Charleston, Concord, Glenville, Fairmont, Shepherd, West Liberty, West Virginia State and West Virginia Wesleyan. The new league will also include Seton Hill of Pennsylvania (a WVIAC member the last few years) along with Virginia-Wise, Notre Dame College of Ohio and Urbana, Ohio.
EARL THE PEARL: Speaking of the Mountain East, West Virginia State will feature a new coach next season. When the 2012 season ended, State released Earl Monroe from his leadership duties with the Yellow Jackets.
Monroe gave it his all at State during some trying times.
Win or lose, Monroe was always easily accessible to the media. He opened the door at any time to stop by a practice and do interviews.
While it didn’t work out as far as wins and losses were concerned at State, Monroe, a former University of Miami Hurricane player, was the consummate professional and class act.
We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
SHEPHERD WAS THE LAST: Years from now, Shepherd will be the answer to this trivia question: Who was the very last West Virginia Conference team to play a game? Shepherd is the answer. The Rams lost in the opening round of this year’s NCAA Division II playoffs.
The Rams were beaten by Indiana, Pennsylvania (IUP), a program guided by Morgantown native and former WVU quarterback Curt Cignetti, whose father, Frank, served as WVU’s head coach from 1976-1979.
SUPER SIX: Two of the teams to win state football titles in Wheeling had done it before, while the other was a newcomer to hoisting a championship trophy.
The first game of the Super Six championship weekend saw the Wayne Pioneers repeat as Class AA winners with a 35-0 victory over Keyser. It was Wayne’s first 14-0 season and third title overall.
In the Class AAA championship, Martinsburg matched state playoff history in the big schools class by winning its third consecutive crown with a 38-14 victory over Cabell Midland. Old Charleston High School was the only other AAA program to ever do so back in the seasons of 1968-70.
What made the moment extra special was the fact that Martinsburg head coach Dave Walker played for Frank Vincent at Glenville State College. Vincent, who died in 2010, was the architect of that great Charleston High program.
The final game of the high school football season was the Class A state championship. You could say that the best was saved for last.
Wahama defeated Weirton Madonna, 43-42, in overtime to claim its first-ever championship. Winners of two baseball titles, Wahama had fallen in the 2010 title game to Wheeling Central.
The school is located on the Ohio River and Wheeling Island Stadium – the venue for the championship games – also rests on the banks of the mighty Ohio.
So, just call Wahama head coach Ed Cromley the “Riverboat Gambler.” Cromley chose to go for two in overtime and win the game.
An outstanding individual who has had had an array of great teams at the Mason County school, it was nice to see his red and white enjoy state championship success.
It was a classic with two classy programs going at it. Madonna head coach Doug Taylor was gracious following a heartbreaking loss.
REMEMBERING JOHN DICKENSHEETS: John Dickensheets did it all in the area of sportscasting while working primarily in Charleston.
He called college games involving Marshall, UC and West Virginia State. He also worked many high school football games. He did boxing and distance runs.
John was well-known for doing talk radio in the Kanawha Valley.
He’s been missed the last few years due to his declining health. John’s battle with Parkinson’s came to end on December 1. He was 71.
In the early stages of my days of covering sports, John was a bit distant. He was old school and it took some time to understand John.
It was a pleasure to finally break through, earn his respect, friendship and get to know the man he truly was. He treated me kindly as the years moved along.
John wasn’t afraid to speak his mind on the air, either while doing his talk shows or calling a game. It is who he was.
While he treasured sports and his work, most of all he loved his family, friends and listeners.
Each broadcast he did on radio ended with his signature sendoff, “To Janet, Joshua (his stepson) and you, this has been a good (evening or afternoon).”
Rest in Peace, John.