Football 4

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Cumberland Times-News

SHORT GAP, W.Va. — High school football opens tonight with five games involving area teams, highlighted by the Moorefield Yellow Jackets visiting the Frankfort Falcons, 7 p.m., at Frankfort Stadium, featuring the head coaching debuts of Moorefield’s Josh See and Frankfort’s Kevin Whiteman.

The Hampshire Trojans will open the season at Preston County, 7:30 p.m.; while Petersburg, playing its first game under head coach Frank Isaacs, will host Weir at 7 p.m. East Hardy will host Rappahannock (Va.) and Tygarts Valley is at Pendleton County, with both of those games starting at 7:30 p.m.

At Moorefield, coach Josh See has been in and around the Moorefield football program for more than a decade. He’s seen the highs (six state championships) and lows (winless 2005 season). Last year he believes he saw a program that officially turned the corner, and this year he sees a team wanting more.

“These guys tasted the playoffs last year. Hopefully, they want a bite again this year,’’ said See, a former player and a 1992 graduate of Moorefield.

See has 13 years of experience as an assistant coach, including 11 at Moorefield, where he began his coaching career as an assistant to Alan Fiddler, now his brother-in-law.

It was Fiddler who built Moorefield into a state power, and the Yellow Jackets won six state titles in an eight-year span (1996-1999, 2001, 2003).

But after an 0-10 season in 2005 that led to a 15-game losing streak, there suddenly became plenty of rebuilding to do.

See succeeds Doug Boswell, whom the new coach credits with restoring Moorefield’s football prominence. Boswell inherited the 0-10 team, and in his two seasons led the Jackets to 5-5 and 8-4 seasons.

Moorefield began last year 0-2, then went 7-1 over the final eight games of the regular season to earn the ninth seed in the playoffs. The Yellow Jackets beat Calhoun County 15-12 in the first round.

“Coach Boswell came in two years ago, after the 0-10 season, and he was the perfect guy for the job at the time,’’ said See. “He brought back discipline to the program, and enthusiasm back to the student body and to the town.

“He got everybody fired up about football again. I thought he did an awesome job.”

At Frankfort, Whiteman takes over at his alma mater, succeeding Mickey Lantz, and enters the season with enthusiasm and lofty standards.

“Our goal is to win the state championship and the kids are working real hard to see that our goals be set,” said Whiteman. “That’s the main one — the state championship. Frankfort has never had one and our goal is to hang a banner on the wall that says, ‘state champions.’ ”

Whiteman, a 1985 graduate of Frankfort, and the quarterback of the late Jim Fazzalore’s last teams, is a former head coach and athletic director, having served in both capacities at Cumberland’s Bishop Walsh High School. He was also the Frankfort offensive coordinator for the past 10 seasons before succeeding Lantz in March. The Falcons were 5-5 last season.

“We’ve tried to instill that since day one,” Whiteman said. “We started talking about Wheeling, W.Va. (where the state championship games will be played) since day one. If we’re out there to win a few games and not win it all, then we shouldn’t be out there.

“The kids’ attitude and the weight program since I took over have been fine. It’s been real good, and believe me, they’ve worked so hard and will continue to. When we go out onto the field we expect victory, every time we go on the field. It probably won’t be that way, but we’re working hard and we expect it.”

You can’t win them all unless you win the first one, and for five area teams the time for the first one has come.

“We’re striving to get to Wheeling, but we’re taking one game at a time,” said Whiteman. “So we’re talking about the Moorefield game and what it will take to win that.”

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