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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
November 12, 1998     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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November 12, 1998

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14 SPIRIT OF JEFFERSON Farmer's ADVOCATE - Thursday, November 12, 1998 on Punt Returns James Rooths flees down the sidelines Rooths set a national, all-divisions record with his return TD By Bob Madison Players at Shepherd College don't often - if ever - set national records. But sophomore James Rooths has done so. And he still has a game left to improve on the punt returns record he established on Saturday against Glenville. Rooths returned his fifth punt for a touchdown this season, eclipsing the national, all-divi- sions record of four that was tied last year by then Ram senior Bootsie Washington. With Shepherd holding a none- too-secure, 16-7, lead over the Pio- neers, Rooths fielded a punt at his own 28-yard line, near the Shep- herd sideline. As has been the case for much of this season, once Rooths eluded the first two players to try to stop him, he was able to use the crisp, body-eliminating blocks. Ilia spe- cial team mates provided, to sail down the sidelines to another six points. Rooths has speed, a reported 40-yards in less than 4.4. But he has something most kick-return- ers, punt-returners don't, a sense of when to field punts or to get away from them and remove your- self from the negative temptation of trying to secure a rolling, bounc- ing, or wind-driven football. And Rooths has something most players with sprinter's speed don't. He has the ability to catch punts with a near-unerring preci- sion, dropping or muffing few - if any - in a season where his runbacks have often meant as much as any 'other portion of Shepherd's game on a given Sat- urday. Catching a curving, wind- blown punt may seem easy to the untrained spectator's eye, but it with his fifth punt-return touchdown of the season. against Glenville. Continued It won't come close to an Alli- ance Bowl. So, there will be no Fi- esta, Rose, Cotton, Orange, Gator, Sugar or Citrus in West Virginia's future this season. But an 8-3 record could interest the Carquest, Aloha, Insight.corn, Holiday, Independence, or Las Ve- gas bowls as well as the Music City and Liberty. Probably West Virginia's most difficult obstacle this week will be forgetting the elixir that was the win over Syracuse. That game must be filed away and Rutgers brought squarely into focus. Rutgers beat Navy last week and isn't the total morass it once was. As for Shepherd, it must forget the smashing success it had against Glenville last week and turn its collective attention to- ward West Liberty. Shepherd has won the WVIAC championship. That title and .50 for a cup of coffee will get the Rams nothing when facing the Hilltoppers, an up-and-down (mostly down) team that would like nothing better than to derail the Rams postseason plans. The Rams must defeat West Liberty or cancel any travel plans - and travel they must because Ram Stadium will not be selected as a playoff site. Should Shepherd beat West Liberty - even by a point - it will be selected to go to the NCAA Divi- sion II's 16-team playoffs. So, it's forget Glenville, stop the run against West Liberty, don't turn the ball over, and make the 4-hour return trip from the Northern Panhandle secure in the school's first-ever Division II playoffvisit. isn't. Knowing where his blockers But for now, he and special are trying to set up the famous teams mates will prepare to do it "picket fence" for him to race be- again against West Liberty, hope- hind seems to be a sort of sixth fully putting some distance be- sense with Rooths as well. He has tween himself and the next player several returns this season where who tries to break his record. he wasn't touched by a defender. Since Rooths is only a sopho- Should Shepherd reach the more, however, that player knock- NCAA Division II postseason, ing at his record door might be Rooths could well be their most him as a junior in 1999, or as a se- useful offensive weapon, nior in 2000. Y es ars' Beckley Woodrow Wilson elimi- nated the Jefferson girls from the state soccer tournament with a 1- 0 semifinals verdict over the Cou- gars on Friday evening. Wheeling Park defeated three- time defending champion ,: . Winfield, 3-1, in the other Class AAA semifinal game. Wheeling Park then topped Woodrow Wil- son, 2-0, to win the state champi- onship in a game contested on Sat- urday. The loss left Jefferson with an overall record of 13-2-1. The Cougars had beaten Mar- tinsburg, North Marion, and Buckhannon in postseason games. Woodrow Wilson fielded a much more experienced team than did Jefferson. The Flying Eagles had 12 seniors as opposed to Jefferson's one. Casey Umberger, the daughter of Woodrow Coach Paulette Umberger, scored the game's only goal, that coming with 9:38 re- maining in the second quarter. Umberger scored on a rebound shot. The Cougars were not without their own scoring chances, espe- cially in the second and fourth quarters when they peppered Eagles goalkeeper Kristo, n Mahaffey with shots. But Two of Jefferson's girls soccer playerswho Mahaffey, an all-state goalkeeper gars reach the state tournament semifinals. in 1997, was able to turn back ev- ery Cougar attempt, goalkeeper Mia Railing kept the Jefferson actually had three one shot the Eagles took in first corner kicks in the early minutes half out of her goal. of the fourth period. Mahaffey's Marshall's goal was her 30th of efforts resulted in the only shut- the season. out the Cougars suffered this sea- Jefferson started a phalanx Of son. underclassmen, a combination of Wheeling Park's shutout win freshman, sophomores, and jun- over Woodrow gave it a first-ever iors that permitted only eight state title. The Patriots (19-2) and goals all season but one of them the Eagles (14-5-3) played was against Beckley and it was through a scoreless first half. enough to make the Cougars wish Emily Marshall and Laureen that next August were already Gompers had Wheeling Park's here and they were just beginning second-half goals as The Parkanother season. Q By Bob Madison Continued improvement that's what both major league scouts and college baseball coaches are looking for in players they might want to sign to contracts or recruit to their schools. The one player who had marked ability to begin with and has shown significant improvement as he has advanced from his fresh- man season to this fall's play with the Orioleland Showcase team has been lefthanded pitcher-first baseman Josh Cenate. Cenate is coveted by both professional baseball and Division I col- leges because of his pitching potential. Yesterday was the first day mandated by the NCAA as its "early signing" week for prospective athletes. The early signing period lasts just one week and basketball and other sports athletes can sign so- called grants-in-aid then as well as baseball players. Cenate, who was also pursued heavily by the University of Florida, North Carolina, Arizona State, and Louisiana State, will ac- cept a scholarship with Coach Greg Van Zant and the West Virginia Mountaineers. After taking recruiting trips to Florida and North Carolina, Cenate was only lately contacted by LSU, a school with three na- tional championships in the 90s and coached by recognized pitching master Skip Bertman. To be offered a scholarship of the type Cenate will accept is un- usual because any college has just 11.67 scholarships for its entire team of 20-30 players. Such a small number of grants must be parti- tioned out to at least eight everyday players and five or six pitchers. To receive a near-full scholarship that pays for everything except pos- sibly meals shows that a coach believes a player .will be a significant contributor in his freshman year. Cenate's eye-catching improvement is his most marketable selling point. Ma or league scouts can foresee him throwing his fast ball in the low or mid-90s, a figure he reached this fall. Should he remain injury-free, it is very possible Cenate could be drafted in the first five rounds in early June in the free agent selec- tions. Then he would have another decision to make, whether to take Josh Cenate, Jefferson High baseball player, signed to play with West Virginia during the early signing period that began yesterday. the six or even seven-figure bonus money that would be waved his way. But on Wednesday he accepted a scholarship to West Virginia. Van Zant had wanted to keep the best high school players in state. He got the best West Virginia player yesterday when he signed Cenate. Jefferson girls Tammy Miller waS gion II Coach of West Virginia Athletic coaches. The Cougars the regional they defeated two overtimes. The vote was honor accorded soccer this past weekend. Coach Miller record in three to the girls state Jefferson son of Beckley in finals. loss a major upset! Big East rival Now comes week's rest. Syracuse inge league loss last town. By Bob Madison As one of only two starters from West Virginia on the Virginia Tech football team, Jefferson Countian Derek Smith and his VPI teammates beat West Virginia in their last game. The Hokies play Syracuse this week in a game that could decide the Big East championship. Derek Smith was one of the fewgantown last year, it really put a area residents happy about the damper on our season. I think we outcome of the Moutaineers- owe them a bit. HoMes game two weeks ago. "Being from West Virginia, it And with an open date follow- would be nice to get a win against ing the victory over West Virginia, WVU in my final Season. Smith has had plenty of time to "The second game I want is Vir- think about - and savor - that ginia. That game really hurt last game. year as well. It left us with an When asked prior to the begin- awful feeling. It will certainly be ning of this season what one game nice to have those two games on he was looking forward to, Smith our turf this year." replied, "There are two games that Then Smith was asked if he I really want. West Virginia is the considered any other schools other first. When they beat us in Mor- than Virginia Tech. "It came down Friendly & Informal Short & Sweet ]Casual Dress r' stimulating [ Vibrant Music ["' During Children's Sunday School 'A Other Options Worship at s:30 & 11 a.m. With Full Choirs St,nday School fbr all Ages at 9:,'t0 a,m. ASBURY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Church of the Ever-Widening Circle offering diversity, reaching outward with Christ at our Centeff' 1 lO W. North Street in Charles Town, W. Va. 725-5513 ,i, =l ; ;I to Virginia Tech and West Vir- ginia. I'm really happy with the decision I made. I feel that I've helped the program out during my career. "When I got here, Tech had just won the Independence Bowl (1993) and that seemed to get the ball rolling. It has been great to be a part of the success we have had over the past five years. "I'm just glad that I have had the opportunity to experience it." The Hokies have moved out to a 7-1 overall record, with the lone Now its Vir cuse, and Miami chance to win with it a ginia is still with its two team has ever pionship with two: Smith has be player in the this season. He year starter at And even most to defeat and Virginia, ready for the home field Orangemen enjoy J Dome. This week important than ginia or Virginia to ' COMr/iU Euclid Ave Charles Town, W. Va. Citgo Home Heating makes your home warm & cozy! :J" erring the Petroleum Need ,of the Eastern Panhandle | forthe past 60Years .) A Drug Free Workplace :.o , or, We Honor Partners in Visa / Mastercard