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Brown and Mathis pace season-best rushing attack in win at Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The WVU coaching staff was confident that the Mountaineers could establish the run against Kansas and after 50 carries, West Virginia racked up a season-best 261 yards. Leddie Brown jumped over the thousand yard mark for the second consecutive season with a 156-yard effort. Next year’s potential starter Tony Mathis toted the ball 22 times for 118 yards.

“Leddie didn’t hardly practice,” said WVU head coach Neal Brown. “He was more sore and beat up than hurt. I thought we needed to take care of him. Tony has had two really productive weeks of practice.”

“I felt good. The O-line played very well for us,” Mathis said. “We were put in position to make plays and that’s what we were doing.”

“I have seen Tony grow so much over the past three years,” Leddie Brown said. “I am just proud of him. I am excited for his future.”

Jarret Doege tossed three touchdown passes and he connected on 16 of his 21 attempts. The first of two Winston Wright scoring receptions came after the initial play broke down.

“The play was just covered. They dropped eight,” Doege said. “I didn’t have anywhere to go. I was just looking around trying to find somebody. I put it to where only he could get it and he made a play.”

Leading 14-13 late in the first half, the Mountaineers engineered a 6-play, 59-yard touchdown drive that took just 83 seconds and extended the cushion to eight points at the break.

“We finished the four minutes in the first half really well,” Neal Brown said. “We got a stop and used our timeouts in the correct way. We go down and score. We had time to mix in the run.”

West Virginia’s defense yielded just 13 points before the Jayhawks crept within a score with under two minutes to play. Josh Chandler-Semedo pulled down a pair of interceptions and once again led the team with eight stops.

“We gave up a little bit more than we wanted to,” said Chandler-Semedo. “They are a talented team and they got us with some stuff. Great coaching staff, and they had a scheme for us. We knew that coming in that they would have plays that we haven’t seen all year. I feel like in the red zone, we definitely held up there.”

By collecting their sixth win, the Mountaineers have assured themselves of a thirteenth game in bowl season. WVU went 4-2 in the second half of their schedule.

“We’ve got a chance to finish the year with a three-game win streak. We have a chance to send our guys that are exiting out in the right manner,” Neal Brown said.

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Photo gallery: Ritchie County upends Wheeling Central in Class A semifinal

ELLENBORO, W.Va. — The Class A No. 4 Rebels secured their first trip to the Super Six with Saturday’s 20-17 win over the No. 8 Maroon Knights.

(Photos by Teran Malone)

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Lawmakers to discuss infrastructure funding priorities in next interim meetings

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — State lawmakers will talk again next week about what the state’s priorities should be for the billions of dollars to be received in federal infrastructure funding.

Delegate Jason Barrett (R-Berkeley)

The legislature’s interim committee on infrastructure will discuss those priorities at a Dec. 5 meeting at the capitol.

Del. Jason Barrett, R-Berkeley, is a member of the committee that is considering the $6 billion allocation. Barrett said state Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston has broken down the funding for lawmakers.

“Of the six billion dollars coming into West Virginia, half of that, three billion is to go to highways,” Barrett said. “There will be $506 million for bridges, $487 million for water projects, $190 million for public transit, $100 million for broadband, $44 million to our local airports and then $46 million to an electric car charging network.”

Barrett saif the money will be allocated over a five year period. He said one of Secretary Wriston’s big goals is finishing Corridor H which Barrett said “would really help connect the Eastern Panhandle to the rest of West Virginia.”

Barrett said broadband access is as key as electricity was a hundred years ago and would go a long way in attracting professionals who want to leave more expensive markets in Northern Virginia to live and work remotely from the Mountain State. He said the Internet providers, whether legacy companies or start-ups, will need to step up their game:

“You know, if we’re going to partner with them to provide the fiber and the network that’s necessary, then they’re going to have to be responsible to ensure that they provide the service up every hill and hollow in the state,” Barrett said.

The infrastructure committee will meet as part of the legislature’s next round of monthly interim committee meetings that begin Sunday, Dec. 5.

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With new application guidelines FirstEnergy seeks approval for solar fields

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — FirstEnergy subsidiaries, Mon Power and Potomac Edison, are seeking approval from the state Public Service Commission to build five utility-scale solar energy projects that would generate 50 megawatts of clean, renewable energy in their service area. The addition of renewable energy is also expected to help make West Virginia more attractive for business development.

Jim Kelsh

State lawmakers passed a bill in 2020 that allows utilities to own and operate up to 200 megawatts of renewable power generation capability.

Bowles Rice attorney Jim Kelsh worked with the legislature to create the expedited path to approval for solar projects.

“That’s the first application by any of the two principal electric utilities in the state to ask the PSC to approve the development of solar generation to be owned by the utilities,” Kelsh said.

Part of the legislation requires the PSC to rule on applications within 150 days, cutting the previous review time in half. By streamlining the Solar Siting Certificate Rules, lawmakers hope to draw projects to create construction jobs and augment economic development.

West Virginia Development Office Executive Director Mike Graney told lawmakers the addition would open the state to recruit employers that have renewable requirements when selecting sites for relocation.

“The PSC has, in the cases I’ve been involved with beat that deadline by a comfortable margin,” Kelsh said. “I’m sure the PSC will meet the deadline for the Mon Power application.”

Solar fields will be constructed in West Virginia on a 26-acre reclaimed ash disposal site in Berkley County, a 51-acre site in Hancock County, a 44-acre reclaimed strip mine in Tucker County and a 95-acre site in Monongalia County, according to Mon Power spokesman Will Boye.

Will Boye

“This is the first time we’ve ever done this in any state,” Boye said. “We have a team that’s working on it now and we’re going to be hiring local construction workers to help us build these projects.”

The 95-acre site in Monongalia County is located in the Fort Martin area on property currently owned by Mon Power.

“It’s going to generate a little over 10 megawatts of solar energy once we get approval from the state to move forward,” Boye said. “Mon County is one of the largest sites.”

The PSC is expected to rule on the application by mid-2022, engineering and construction would then start. Construction could be completed by 2025. Mon Power will invest about $100 million in the five projects.

In 2020, West Virginia was the second-largest coal producer in the nation, after Wyoming, and accounted for 13% of U.S. West Virginia ranked fifth in the nation in natural gas production as well. Eighty-eight percent of the electricity produced in the state in 2020 came from coal-fire energy facilities.

“We see it (solar) as one piece of our generation mix,” Boye said. “Right now, we do not have any renewable options for our customers in West Virginia. So, 50 megawatts and we’ll be able to produce up to 200 megawatts- we don’t see it as replacing anything.”

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Monongalia County schools on-track with various improvements

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County Schools continue progress on facility upgrades, according to Executive Director of Facilities Amanda Washington.

Consolidating administrative operations in one location, a STEM addition at M-Tech and adding outdoor classrooms are highlights of the work being done.

Administrative operations will consolidate at the former MedExpress building in Sabraton. Work there has included painting, exterior improvements, carpet replacement and restriping the parking lot.

Washington said supply chain issues have slowed the work causing the move in date to be moved, but the work is progressing. When finished offices on High Street, Dorsey Avenue, the Suncrest Center and Westover will move into the building.

“I think we’re in good shape here,” Washington said. “We hope to be able to move in sometime after the new year.”

Bringing all the administrative staff together will make meeting and project development more seamless and streamlined. Additionally, the move is expected to lower utility costs and building maintenance expense.

“It will better opportunity for collaboration between departments and improve production we can just walk down the hall and talk to different departments,” Washington said.

Recently, school officials presented plans to the state School Building Authority for a new Renaissance Academy. The academy is in the 10-year development plan and would include STEM and career technical courses. Before the new school is built officials will focus on an addition to the Monongalia Technical Education Center (M-Tech) building that would accommodate STEM learning. Architects are designing spaces that are designed to support learning environments of the future to help those students prepare for the job market. Approval for the addition could come the School Building Authority next month.

“Our project consists of a 7,560-square foot addition three classroom STEM addition to M-TECH that will serve our current our current high schools and future middle school students for the entire county,” according to Washington.

WVU recently launched an e-sports minor. Economics major at WVU, Noah Johnson just won the Next Madden National Championship and a $25,000 prize. Robotics and technical education have also developed as job creators in the current economy and continue to grow.

“We feel these three- E-gaming, engineering and robotics are very innovative,” Washington said. “We certainly feel like students would be very interested in taking those courses.”

Outdoor classrooms are also coming to the district. Outdoor learning environments also gained importance during the pandemic due social distancing options. South Middle School already has an outdoor classroom and the next is expected to be added at University High School. Others are planned for Morgantown High School and M-Tech.

“They allow students the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, but also learn new subjects while social distancing,” Washington said.

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Man uses sawed-off shotgun to rob video lottery parlor

MARMET, W.Va. — Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies are looking for a man who used a sawed-off shotgun to rob a video lottery parlor early Sunday morning.

This man is wanted for the armed robbery in Marmet. Photo/KCSD

Deputies said the man entered Max’s Place in Marmet around 2:30 a.m. and demanded money. He got it and took off. He fled the scene in a silver sedan.

Surveillance photos show the man wore a white surgical mask, camouflage toboggan, dark blue coat, neon yellow t-shirt, dark pants, and brown boots. He had what are described as bright blue eyes.

The clerk and two patrons were in the business at the time. There were no injuries reported.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kanawha Sheriff’s Department at 304-357-0169. The department also receives tips at [email protected], through social media messaging, or anonymously through its website at www.kanawhasheriff.us.

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Marshall misses out on league title game with 53-21 loss to Western Kentucky

— By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall’s defense bottled up Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe and high-powered offense for a half.

Zappe, the No. 1 passer in the nation, eventually lived up to that billing in the second half and popped the cork on that bottle to lead the Hilltoppers past Marshall, 53-21, in the Conference USA East Division championship game Saturday in front of 19,134 fans at Joan C. Edwards Stadium and viewing audience on CBS Sports Network.

Zappe tossed three touchdown passes in the third period and Brayden Narveson booted a 53-yard field goal to secure a momentum-changing 23-point period. Western Kentucky chalked up 293 total yards and limited the Herd to 8. Zappe connected on 9-of-15 pass attempts.

The seventh straight win sends Western Kentucky (8-4, 7-1 C-USA) to the C-USA title game on Friday against previously unbeaten UTSA in San Antonio, Texas. North Texas upended the West Division champs, 45-23, Saturday at home.

Marshall finishes 7-5, 5-3 in the C-USA East. Three of the five defeats came at home.

Zappe finished with four TD passes to bring his season total to 52. His fourth TD pass came at the start of the fourth period. He connected on 25-of-48 for 328 yards.

“Marshall had a lot of momentum in the first half,” Hilltoppers coach Tyson Helton said. “We regrouped at halftime. Starts with the defense, offense got the big touchdown early. The momentum swung over to our side and stayed our way.”

The Hilltoppers made the big adjustments in the passing attack between halves.

“Good job by their secondary,” Helton said of the Herd. “Played man and were able to cover us. Great job by the offensive staff making adjustments. Create motion, stacks, able to get off their press and things played into our favor. We were able to create explosive plays and took the air out of them.”

The Herd’s bright spot in a disappointing second half was backup Luke Zban’s 41-yard TD pass to Shadeed Ahmed right after Zappe’s scoring toss. He took over in the second period from Grant Wells who completed his first 10 passes. Wells left the game in the second period after getting sacked and fumbled the ball away. He walked to the locker room with an undisclosed injury and did not return.

“Unable to execute,” first-year Herd coach Charles Huff said. “Defense played phenomenal the first half. One too many big plays. They put us behind a couple of scores.”

After the Zban TD pass, the Herd attempted an onside kick and Western Kentucky’s Craig Burt Jr. took the ball on the bounce after it had gone seven yards and he sprinted 43 yards for the score.

On the next kickoff, players on both sides got in some bumps after the tackle. The Herd’s Owen Porter got ejected for coming off the bench for his second ejection of the season.

“Our level of execution has to rise,” Huff said. “Adversity hit, not happy with how we responded. When adversity hits, you’ve got to respond.”

For Marshall, it’s now waits to see about its post-season bowl bid. Hopefully, Wells can return by then.

“Plans change,” Huff said. “They loaded the box, got us in third and eight, nine and 10. Got us in first-down efficiency. From a mental standpoint, you hope it would not effect us. You lose a guy like that, you’ve got to rally around the next guy. Next-man-up mentality. Move the chess pieces around, but didn’t generate enough consistency.”

In the first half, the Herd drove for two scores and kept Zappe in check.

Marshall went 79 yards in 19 plays and used 6:58 to take a 7-0 lead. Wells capped the drive with a 1-yard run. A pass interference on Hilltoppers kept drive alive and gave Herd first down at 14.

The Herd then went 57 yards in 10 plays and 3:57 for a 14-0 lead. Wells found tight end Devon Miller for 3-yard TD pass on fourth down at 3.

Marshall’s defense held the Hilltoppers in check in the first half with just 40 yards rushing and 118 passing. Bailey completed 14-of-30. The Herd totaled 205 total yards on 100 rushing and 105 passing between Wells and Zban, who came in with 8:05 left in the second period. Wells walked to the locker room and did not return

Western Kentucky managed two field goals in the second period. Narveson connected from 41 and 46 yards. He missed from 47 yards with 28 seconds left as his low kick smacked the crossbar and came back onto the field. Zappe had passed the visitors into position. After the miss, the Herd took a knee to end the half.

The Hilltoppers outscored the Herd, 47-7, in the second half. This was Helton’s first win against the Herd after two defeats. Daewood Davis led in receiving with three catches for 104 yards and two scores. Mitchell Tinsley grabbed nine for 84. The Hilltoppers finished with 485 total yards.

Herd freshman Rasheen Ali ran for 97 yards on 24 carries, but Western Kentucky kept him out of the end zone. The home team 323 yards.

Under Helton, the Hilltoppers have finished strong each season.

“We didn’t blink,” Helton said. “We said we’d come out the second half and get it done. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

UTSA handed Western Kentucky its only league defeat.

Before the game, there was a moment of silence for former Marshall baseball coach Jack Cook. He passes away earlier in the week. He was 95.

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West Virginia secures bowl eligibility with 34-28 win at Kansas

West Virginia powered its way past Kansas and became bowl eligible in the process with a 34-28 victory Saturday night.

The Mountaineers rushed for a season-high 261 yards, helping them overcome two turnovers, including Gavin Potter’s 28-yard interception return for a touchdown that allowed the Jayhawks tie the game at 21 early in the third quarter.

“I’m proud of our staff and players,” third-year WVU head coach Neal Brown said. “We handled adversity extremely well today and we were resilient. It says a lot about them not just as football players, but as people. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to develop is people, and resiliency is a life skill. I’m really proud of them.”

Tailbacks Leddie Brown (19 rushes, 156 yards) and Tony Mathis (22-118) each went over the 100-yard mark against KU, while Brown surpassed 1,000 yards for a second straight season.

“We knew coming into the game that the run game was going to be a big factor,” Leddie Brown said. “[Running backs coach Chad Scott] told me and Tony, this game I was going to have 100 and he was going to have 100, too, and that’s what the stats say. I’m proud of Tony. He practiced hard this week and he deserves it.”

It was Brown’s 44-yard touchdown run that broke the 21-all tie and allowed West Virginia (6-6, 4-5) to lead for good with 8:32 left in the third quarter.

Field goals of 38 and 37 yards by Casey Legg put WVU in front 34-21 with 5:53 remaining.

In between Legg’s field goals, linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo made his first of two interceptions on a Jalon Daniels first down red zone pass.

Chandler-Semedo’s second interception also came in the red zone when he snatched a Daniels throw on fourth-and-11 with the Mountaineers leading by 13.

When West Virginia entered its bye week 2-4, Chandler-Semedo vowed the Mountaineers would improve over the second half of the season and that he would not settle for a losing record in his final collegiate campaign.

It is the 18th time in the last 20 seasons West Virginia is bowl eligible.

“That’s pretty much a standard to get to a bowl game and to fall below the standard is unacceptable,” Chandler-Semedo said.

Still, West Virginia didn’t secure the win in front of 23,117 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium until Winston Wright recovered an onside kick after Daniels stretched the ball over the goal line for a 3-yard TD run that brought Kansas to within six with 1:43 to play.

“We made it hard and some of that is definitely due to Kansas,” Neal Brown said.

Jacob Borcila’s 46-yard field goal gave the Jayhawks (2-10, 1-8) the early 3-0 lead, and they had a chance to expand on it when Potter recovered a Brown fumble on the Mountaineers’ first play from scrimmage.

But after the Jayhawks got inside the WVU 5-yard line, Daniels was sacked by Jared Bartlett and Sean Mahone on fourth-and-3.

“We messed an exchange up, which is beyond frustrating to me, but our defense stood,” Neal Brown said.

West Virginia then drove 84 yards in six plays and produced its points on the first of two Jarret Doege 14-yard touchdown passes to Wright.

Borcila’s 35-yard field goal made it a one-point game, before West Virginia drove 75 yards in 14 plays and upped its lead to 14-6 on Wright’s second scoring grab.

“The play was covered and they dropped eight and I didn’t have anywhere to go,” Doege said. “I was looking around trying to find somebody and kind of put it to where only he could get it and he made a play.”

The Jayhawks answered with their first touchdown when Daniels connected with Jared Casey on an 8-yard pass.

But West Virginia put together a pivotal 59-yard scoring drive late in the first half and it ended with Doege’s 7-yard TD pass to Sam James, allowing the Mountaineers to lead 21-13 at halftime.

“It was critical. We practice that drill a lot and we finished the 4 minutes in the first half really well,” Neal Brown said. “We got a stop, used our timeouts in the correct way and we go down and score. We had enough time to mix in the run and we did that.”

Doege completed 16-of-21 passes for 170 yards. He threw only five second-half passes, including three after Potter’s pick six.

Sean Ryan had five receptions for 87 yards to lead West Virginia’s receivers, which were without an injured Bryce Ford-Wheaton.

Daniels completed 22-of-32 passes for 249 yards, and Luke Grimm led all players with 105 receiving yards on four receptions.

The Jayhawks managed only 87 rushing yards.

“We definitely were resilient,” Chandler-Semedo said. “We gave up a little bit more than we wanted to. They’re a talented team and got us on some stuff.”

Chandler-Semedo committed to playing in the bowl game, though Leddie Brown did not, saying he hadn’t given it much thought.

West Virginia will now be afforded several weeks of extra practice time, which will also allow the Mountaineers to get healthier before their bowl game. Versatile defensive back Jackie Matthews left Saturday’s win with an injury.

“We’re kind of limping to the finish,” Neal Brown said. “Whatever bowl game we play in, we’ll have a little bit of a break, which we’ll need. We’ve been able to stay relatively healthy up front, but at the second and third levels, we’ve been decimated. I don’t know if there’s a better word for it.”

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WVU advances to NCAA Elite Eight with double overtime win at Tulsa

(Dan Stratford postgame press conference)

Otto Ollikainen’s golden goal in double overtime lifted No. 11 West Virginia past No. 6 Tulsa, 1-0 in the NCAA third round contest in Oklahoma Saturday evening.

The freshman midfielder scored in the 102nd minute of play, sending the Mountaineers to their first Elite Eight appearance in forty years.

OTTOOOO!!! 🤩#HailWV pic.twitter.com/4vDX2YjCMI

— WVU Men’s Soccer (@WVUMensSoccer) November 28, 2021

“That’s a very good team that we’ve just beaten,” said WVU coach Dan Stratford of Tulsa. “I thought that once we showed that we could set up the high press, they had to change. And they did a little bit.

“We had to grind this out. We had to fight and dig really, really deep. The biggest message they had going into tonight was to have no regrets. From that perspective, it was unbelievable.”

West Virginia (12-3-5) will face the winner of Sunday’s Providence-Georgetown contest in the national quarterfinals next weekend.

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Postgame video recaps: West Virginia 34, Kansas 28

(Neal Brown postgame press conference)

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Postgame video recaps from West Virginia’s 34-28 win over Kansas in the regular season finale for both teams.

(Game highlights)

(Postgame “Round of Sound”)

 

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