Locals Continue to Stand Out on Multiple Levels

SOME THINGS you may not know unless you peruse this column:

(1) The only season when all three West Virginia boys’ basketball titles were claimed by Ohio Valley teams was in 1987 and Central and Brooke were both involved in that trifecta. Brooke won the 3-A title, Central and Double-A crown, and unbeaten Paden City the Class A championship.

The Brooke football team has a chance to help the valley replicate that feat tonight.

(2) Magnolia High’s JUSTIN FOX is the winningest quarterback in Ohio Valley and W. Va. history. The Blue Eagle senior, who also played cornerback, kicked and punted, ended a four-year Big Blue career with a 45-8 team mark and a state title, a runner-up, a semifinalist and quarter-finalist. Fox started a record 53 games in a sport where 56 would be the maximum if a team advanced to four straight state championships.

Teammate TRAEH KELLER, who also played running back, started 51 games at linebacker during the same period.

Fox, by the way, is the son of one of the most honored athletes in Paden City history. Father JEFF FOX earned first team Class A all-state in football, basketball and baseball in 1979-80. He also quarterbacked a state championship team – the 1979 Wildcats squad.

(3) Speaking of records, the Smelley brothers of Bridgeport High may have set one this season. We aren’t aware of any other trio of brothers to earn all-state football in the same season. Linebacker CURT SMELLEY was a first team All-Ohio Division VI honoree. Junior COLE SMELLEY was a second-team pick at defensive back. And senior CHRIS SMELLEY was a third-team choice at running back.

And, it might be noted that their cousin, senior GARRETT PRICE, was a first team all-state running back.

(4) No Eastern Ohio teams won state football titles this season but former OVAC athletes coached two of the six Ohio title squads.

Unbeaten Maple Heights, the Division II kingpin, is coached by ex-Steubenville Big Red standout TODD FILTZ. The Division III titlist, Columbus Watterson, is coached by former Steubenville Catholic athlete DAN BJELAC.

(5) In case you haven’t paid attention to college women’s basketball, the WVU squad is off to its finest start in history while earning its best national ranking – No. 9. The unbeaten Mountaineers seek victory No. 10 at home today vs. Prairie View A&M.

Senior co-captain LIZ REPELLA, a former Steubenville Big Red luminary, leads the balanced attack with a 13.9 scoring average.

(6) The announced Magnolia High School reunion recognition of the four Blue Eagle state championship teams – three boys and one girls, has been advanced one day to Monday, Dec. 27.

It was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 28 at the Magnolia-Tyler Consolidated game in New Martinsville. But that game date was moved up one day when the college bowl schedule was released and included West Virginia vs. North Carolina State in the Champs Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 28.

Other scheduled high school events around the Mountain State also have been moved from Dec. 28.

(7) Speaking of Mountaineers football, a check of the final BCS Top 25 national rankings reveals WVU included for the sixth consecutive season.

That may not be significant to some local yokel critics but the Top 25 does not include such football ”powerhouses” as Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Penn State, Florida, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, USC, UCLA, California, Tennessee, Colorado, North Carolina, Clemson, etc.

So much for perception over reality.

(8) Enjoy the weekend.