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Minutemen success a group effort

Editor's note: Matt Harvey was the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram sports editor from 1997-1999.

by Matt Harvey

ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR

Two years ago, I questioned the direction of Lewis County's football team on these pages.

I said it was time for a new head coach. And I even threw another name out there.

Apologies are due; I was wrong.

Now, I suppose one could argue that Lewis County's success this year (a 2-2 record, with both losses nail-biters) is due in large part to a transfer, quarterback Patrick Morrison.

While I think Morrison has been a factor in that success, I think he's only part of the effort.

First, credit Lewis County coach Eddie Williams for changing his game plans to best use Morrison's ability to throw the ball. And credit Williams for finding the right receivers to catch those passes at a school -- and in a region, for that matter -- where the forward pass isn't usually commonplace.

Williams also could have turned the playbook into a document designed exclusively for Morrison.

But wisely, he didn't.

Some of Lewis County's best plays this season have been on strong running by Curtis Holden and other Minutemen backs, players who have grown up in the program.

Also, credit the entire LCHS coaching staff for some great halftime adjustments this year.

With Lewis County trailing Philip Barbour 26-0 at halftime on Friday night, the Minutemen easily could have gotten discouraged.

Instead, the coaches made the proper adjustments at halftime. And even more than that, they got their players to believe the adjustments would work.

Philip Barbour's running game, which had run roughshod over Lewis County in the first half, was stifled, and the Minutemen nearly pulled off the miracle comeback before losing in the final moments of the game. Except for a crucial delay-of-game call on a key drive, the Minutemen played a near perfect second half. (I don't count Philip Barbour's long touchdown run late in the game as too big of a mistake, because it was so late in the game and a trailing LCHS obviously was gambling, trying to force a turnover).

Lewis County's players also are to be congratulated.

For most of the past two seasons, they've been playing better. Their defense, for the most part, has been flying to the ball. And most of the time, they've been running the ball hard. That hard-nosed attitude was on full display in the second half against Philip Barbour.

Morrison simply gives Lewis County an extra weapon that can help put them over the top.

Will the Minutemen make the playoffs this year?

I don't know.

I'm not even sure they'll make .500, because they have some brutal games left on their schedule, including unbeaten University this weekend, unbeaten Morgantown on Oct. 13 and unbeaten Bridgeport on Oct. 27 in the season finale for both. Also, Lewis County's final four games are on the road.

But after watching the Minutemen rally last week, I wouldn't want to bet against them.

Congratulations to coach Williams and his squad.

Assistant managing editor Matt Harvey can be reached at 626-1449 or by e-mail at mharvey@exponent-telegram.com.

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