This is a pretty cool recap of the football history in Wise County from 2005 all the way back to 1923.
I figured I'd post it here before it is possibly taken down or made available only to subscribers in the future.
The separate sets of years are located in "parts" which are links to the actual tiny articles themselves. You can use these links to get you to a certain set of years faster so that you don't have to search for them below.
If you want to go through the entire history, I suggest you skip past the "contents" section and read everything below it, as I've literally copied and pasted all of the information in the separate "parts" so that it's more convenient. That way, you don't have to visit 18 different pages just to get the information - it's all right here!
In 1923, high school football came to Wise County. The first game played was between the East Stone Gap Tigers and the Big Stone Gap Buccaneers. Big Stone won that game 6-0. Other schools that started football that year included Coeburn, and Norton. The first championship went to Big Stone Gap with a record of 4-1.
The 1924 Wise County Football season saw Wise and Appalachia come into the picture. In their first game Appalachia defeated Wise 33-0. Appalachia would finish 1-4 on the season. Big Stone Gap finished the year at 3-5. East Stone Gap went 5-3 and Norton won the championship with a record of 3-2-1.
The 1925 season saw the Norton Raiders win the Wise County Championship with a record of 9-2. Appalachia in their 2nd year went 3-4-1, Big Stone Gap went 5-3 and East Stone finished the year at 3-4.
I will now give you a brief review from 1926-1928. The 1926 season saw the East Stone Gap Tigers as winners of the Wise County Championship with a record of 7-3. Appalachia went 4-3 and Big Stone Gap went 5-3. The 1926 season also saw the worst defeat ever, in the state of Virginia as Kingsport defeated Norton by a score of 193-0.
The 1927 County Championship was won by Norton with a record of 7-2. Appalachia went 5-1-3 with their only loss being to Norton by a score of 6-0. Big Stone Gap went 4-2-1 with losses to Appalachia 18-12 and to Norton 13-0.
1928 saw Big Stone Gap win the champhionship with a record of 10-1. Their only loss being to South Boston (VA) 25-0 in a play off game. That 25 points were all that the Buccaneers allowed that year. Appalachia finished out the year with a record of 5-4-2 and East Stone finished out the year at 3-5-1.
The County Championship for the 1929 season went to the Appalachia Bulldogs with a record of 7-2. Their only losses were to Big Stone Gap and to Kingsport. Big Stone Gap finished the year at 8-1-2 and East Stone Gap finished out the year 1-6.
The Wise Indians would be awarded the County Championship in 1930. Appalachia would finish out the year with a record of 6-4. Big Stone Gap would conclude the year with a record of 6-1-1, their only loss being to Appalachia 15-7.
East Stone Gap would struggle to a record of 2-6.
Norton Raiders would would the Championship in 1931. East Stone Gap would struggle the whole season and finish out at 0-6-1. Big Stone Gap would finish 2nd in the County with a record of 7-1, their only loss would be to Norton by the score of 13-0. Appalachia would finish out the year at 6-5.
In 1932 the County Championship would go to the Appalachia Bulldogs who would go undefeated with a record of 9-0. The Bulldog defense would only give up 25 points for the season. Big Stone Gap Buccaneers finished out the 1932 season in second place with a record of 6-1-1. Their only loss would be a 7-6 decision to Appalachia. East Stone would finish 2-4-1, with their only wins being over St. Paul and Pennington.
Appalachia would repeat as Wise County Champions in 1933 with a record of 7-1. The only loss that the Bulldogs would suffer would be at the hands of Virginia High by a score of 34=13. Big Stone Gap would finish the year at 7-2 with losses only to Wise by a score of 6-0 and to Appalachia 19-14. East Stone Gap would struggle all year and finish out the year with a record of 1-6, with their only win being a 6-0 decision over the Coeburn Blue Knights
In 1934, Appalachia would become the first Wise County School to claim three consecutive County Championship. Appalachia would finish the year at 8-2 with losses to Saltville and Virginia High. Big Stone Gap was facing a rebuilding year with the loss of key members from 1933 that they finished the year with a record of 2-4-2.
1935 saw the dominance of the Bulldogs come to an end. The Coeburn Blue Knights would claim their first County Championship. Coeburn would finish the year with a record of 7-0-3. Appalachia finished out the year at 6-2-2. Big Stone Gap would conclude the year with a record 2-3-2. East Stone Gap also struggled and would finish out the year at 1-4-2.
1936 saw the Big Stone Gap Buccaneers win their first championship since 1928. Big Stone would give up only 32 points in eight games as they went 7-0-1. The only blemish on the record was a 6-6 tie with the Tennessee High Vikings of Bristol. Appalachia would go 6-4 on the season. Big Stone Gap, Elizabethon, Bristol and Benham, Ky.dealt the Bulldogs losses. The East Stone Gap Tigers would finish the year at 1-5, with their only win being over Wise County foe St. Paul by a score of 6-0.
The 1937 championship would go to the Coeburn Blue Knights, with a record of 8-1-1. East Stone Gap would continue to struggle as they went 1-6. Just like the previous year their only win came against the Deacons of St. Paul. Big Stone Gap would go 4-2-2 with losses to Tennessee High 24-6 and to Coeburn 19-6. Appalachia would go 6-1-3, with the lone loss being to the Bulldogs of Tazewell by a score of 6-0. To show how tough the Appalachia team was during the season, they allowed only 18 points in 10 games.
Coeburn would repeat as champions for 1938 as they fashioned a 9-0 record. Appalachia would finish the year at 6-3-1 including a gut wrenching 6-0 loss to Coeburn. Big Stone Gap would go 3-6 with wins over St. Paul, East Stone Gap and Richlands. East Stone would see an improvement from the previous 2 years as they went 3-4-1. They had wins over Shoemaker High School (became Gate City in 1957) and St. Paul and Pennington Gap.
Coeburn was dethroned as champions in 1939 as the Big Stone Gap Buccaneers go 9=1 on the season. Big Stone would allow only 26 points on the season. Their only loss was a 13-12 upset to the East Stone Gap Tigers. East Stone would have a fine year as they finished out the season with a record of 4-2-1. This was the first winning season for the Tigers since 1934. Appalachia would finish 6-4 which included losses to Johnson City 19-6, and 7-0 to the Emory & Henry Freshman.
In 1940, the Appalachia Bulldogs would claim the Wise County trophy with a record of 9-0. In the nine games the Bulldogs would allow a total of 27 points. Their toughest encounter for the season was the Cyclones of Elizabethon Appalachia would edge by them by the score of 7-0. Big Stone Gap would go 7-2 with losses to Coeburn and Appalachia. East Stone Gap would conclude their season with a 31-0 loss to Appalachia to finish the year at 3-4-1.
The Bulldogs would retain the championship in 1941 as they once again finished out the year with at 9-0. The East Stone Gap Tigers had one of their better years and went 6-3 on the season. Big Stone Gap with losses to Appalachia and Coeburn once again went 7-2.
In perhaps the closest race to date, Coeburn with a record of 7-1-1 would claim the County Championship in 1942. Appalachia also went 7-1-1 but with a loss to Big Stone Gap would not tie Coeburn for the championship. Big Stone Gap went 8-1, but with their loss being to Coeburn it sent them to third place in the Wise County League. East Stone Gap would win 2 games to finish out the year at 2-4-1.
With a shortage of soldiers and gasoline being rationed, East Stone Gap, Appalachia, and Big Stone Gap were the only schools in the county to field a team for the 1943 season. Their season consisted of playing each other twice. Big Stone Gap would go 3-0-1 to win the championship. Appalachia would come in second with a record of 2-1-1 and East Stone Gap would finish at 0-4.
in 1944 Appalachia would be awarded the championship with a record of 4-1. For some unknown reason the Indians of Wise went 6-0 but were not recognized as champions. Big Stone Gap went 2-3-1 and the Tigers of East Stone went 1-2. No school in the county played a complete schedule due to the war.
For the 1945 season, Wise would claim the County crown with a record of 5-2. East Stone Gap did not field a team for 1945 due to the war effort. Big Stone Gap would conclude their season with a record of 4-3. Appalachia would have a disappointing year with a record of 1-4. Their only win being a 13-0 shut out of the St. Paul Deacons.
The 1946 season would see the resumption of a full season of high school football after the war had ended. In that first season after the war years, the Norton Raiders would win the last Wise County Championship with a record of 8-1. The only loss for the Raiders would be to the Abingdon Falcons by a score of 20-0. Appalachia would finish the year at 2-5 with wins over St. Paul and Big Stone Gap. The Buccaneers of Big Stone would end the year at 5-3-1. The toughest losses for the Bucs would be 19-18 to Norton and 7-6 to Appalachia. East Stone Gap Tigers would fashion a record of 3-5. The Tigers would defeat Appalachia, Glade Spring and Pennington Gap.
In 1947, the Wise Indians would claim the first championship of the newly named District 8(formerly the Wise County League). This name change came about with the addtion of Clintwood, from Dickenson County into the League. Wise would finish the year at 9-1, East Stone Gap would continue to struggle as they concluded the season with a record of 1-4-2. Appalachia would improve from the previous year to go 4-4 for 1947. Big Stone Gap would have a really bad year and finish the season at 1-5-2.
1948 would see the Coeburn Blue Knights claim the district championship by virture of going 8-1-1. The Bulldogs of Appalachia would hang tough and finish in second place at 7-1. The only loss for the Bulldogs was a hard fought 7-6 decison to Coeburn. Three members of Appalachia were chosen for the All District Team. Those three were John Fletcher, Jim Hunnycutt and Carl Manous. Big Stone Gap would finish out the season at 5-3. East Stone Gap, while few in numbers, but strong in heart would suffer through a disappointing 1-7 season.
Appalachia, in 1949 would win their first title since the 1944 season with a record of 8-1-1. The only loss for the Bulldogs was a 13-0 decision to the Emory & Henry Freshman. Big Stone Gap would come in a close second with a record of 7-1-1. The only loss for the Buccaneers would be a 7-6 setback to Coeburn. East Stone Gap would only be able to play one game in 1949. They would go 0-1 on the season with a 12-0 loss to Big Stone Gap.
Coeburn would reclaim the championship in 1950 with a record of 10-1. Their only loss would be to District 8 rival, Clintwood, by a 34-6 margin. Big Stone Gap would suffer a disappointing season and end the year at 1-9. Appalachia would be strong in 1950 and would see their season record go 8-1-1. The only loss for the Bulldogs would be a 25-7 decision to Coeburn. East Stone Gap with few numbers would play a Junior Varsity schedule and finish the year at 2-3. Next up I will review the seasons of 1951-1955 for Appalachia, East Stone Gap and Big Stone Gap.
The 1951 District 8 Championship would go to the Appalachia Bulldogs with a record of 9-1. The only loss would be a 13-6 decision to the Richlands Blue Tornado. The Buccaneers would rebound from their 1-9 season from the previous year to finish out at 6-3. Their only losses were to Wise, Appalachia, and Norton. East Stone Gap would continue their losing ways with a record of 1-6-2. Their only win was a 32-13 decision over the Bobcats of Pennington Gap.
The Norton Raiders would take the 1952 crown with a record of 8-0-1. The tie came in the second game of the season with Coeburn by the score of 6-6. The East Stone Gap Tigers would go 3-5 on the season, with wins over Pennington, Pound and Shoemaker High (later to be known as Gate City). Big Stone Gap would end the year with a record of 5-2-1 with losses to Wise and Coeburn. Appalachia would go 5-3-1 with losses to Wise, Norton and Coeburn.
In 1953, the Big Stone Gap Buccaneers would win their last championship. Big Stone would conclude the year with a record of 8-2. Appalachia would hang tough with the Big Stone Gap bunch throughout the year. Appalachia would finish at 6-2 with the losses being to J. J. Kelly (formerly Wise) 18-6 and a 14-6 loss to Big Stone Gap. The East Stone Gap crew would have a good year and finish out the year at 4-3-1.
The J. J. Kelly Indians would scalp the opposition to claim the 1954 District 8 Championship with an unblemished record of 9-0. Appalachia Bulldogs would have a disappointing year and conclude the year at 4-4-1. Big Stone Gap would have another strong year and finish at 7-2, losing only to J. J. Kelly and Appalachia. East Stone Gap small in numbers but strong in heart would have a good season at 4-3-1.
The 1955 football campaign would see co-champions for the first time since football came to Wise County. The Kelly Indians (Wise County) and the Clintwood Greenwave (Dickenson County) would share the honors with each going 9-0-1 on the season. Big Stone Gap would go 6-3 with losses to Clintwood, Kelly and East Stone Gap. Appalachia likewise would suffer through a disappointing year with a record of 5-3-1. East Stone Gap under the watchful eye of head coach Brownie Cummins would have their best team in many a year and go 6-1-1. The only loss for the Tigers would be to the Bulldogs of Appalachia.
The 1956 District 8 Championship went to the Kelly (Wise) Indians who fashioned a record of 8-0-1. The only blemish on the record for Kelly was a 0-0 tie with Clintwood. Appalachia Bulldogs would finish the tear at 6-2-1 with losses to Clintwood and Kelly. East Stone Gap Tigers would conclude the year at 4-4 with losses to Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Pound and Norton. Big Stone Gap like Appalachia would go 6-2-1 on the year with their losses being to Kelly and Appalachia.
In 1957 the Appalachia Bulldogs and the Clintwood Greenwave would finished tied for district honors. Appalachia would finish 8-0-1 in the district. Clintwood would go 9-0-1 on the season with a non-district win over Grundy. Big Stone Gap would struggle throughout the year and finish out the year with a record of 4-5-0. East Stone Gap likewise would struggle through the year and closed out the year at 4-5-0.
Under the guidance of Bill Fitchko, who formerly coached at Big Stone Gap, the 1958 title went to the Norton Raiders. Norton would clinch the title in their last game with a hard fought 13-3 win over Appalachia. The title was bittersweet for the Raiders. With the fans going wild as coach Fitchko was carried off the field. Upon reachig the end zone coach Fitchko passed away after suffering a heart attack. Appalachia would finish the year with a record of 7-2-1. On October 31, 1958 the Big Stone Gap Buccaneers and the East Stone Gap Tigers saw their life come to an end. Appalachia defeated Big Stone 45-0 and East Stone defeated St. Paul 29-13. Big Stone concluded the year with a record of 5-4 and East Stone finished the year at 4-5. In 1959 East Stone and Big Stone would merge to form Powell Valley High School.
The 1959 season marked the end of the District 8 Conference. In 1960 it would become known as the Lonesome Pine District. The Final District 8 Championship would belong to the Appalachia Bulldogs, who would finish the year with a record of 8-0-1. 1959 also saw the birth of the Powell Valley Vikings. The Vikings would win their opening game by defeating Jonesville 20-0. The first touchdown in Viking history was by Jack Lane. who currently works for VDOT. Powell Valley would go 5-2-2 in that first season.
In 1960, the Kelly Indians under the guidance of former Clintwood player Harold Lester and capable assistant Garnett Gilliam would win the Lonesome Pine District title with a record of 8-0-2. Powell Valley would enjoy another fine season and finish the year at 6-3. Their losses would be to Kelly, Appalachia and Coeburn. Appalachia would conclude the season with a record of 7-1-1.
The 1961 season would see the Kelly Indians repeat as the champions of the Lonesome Pine District. The Indians would finish the year at 9-0-1. The only blemish on that record was a 6-6 tie with the Powell Valley Vikings. Powell Valley would finish in second place with a record of 8-0-2. Besides the tie with Kelly there was a 0-0 tie with Gate City that cost the Vikings a share of the title. Appalachia would have a disappointing year at 5-3-2, with losses to Kelly, Ervinton and Powell Valley.
1962 was a unique year in the LPD. Gate City and Clintwood would share the title and not play each other in the season. Clintwood under the guidance of future VHSL Hall of Fame member Ralph Cummins would finish the year at 10-0 and allow only 19 points on the season. Gate City, under the guidance of Harry Fry, who likewise in latter years would be inducted into the VHSL Hall of Fame, would go 8-1-1 with their only loss being to Church Hill Tennessee. Appalachia would be very competitive during the season finishing at 7-3 with losses to Kelly, Clintwood and Gate City. Powell Valley would have a respectable season with a record of 5-5.
Gate City would take the crown outright in 1963 with a record of 8-2. Their only losses were to Virginia High and Church Hill. Appalachia would finish the year at 8-1-1, with their only loss being to Gate City by a score of 28-7, Powell Valley would close out the year at 5-3-2.
The Kelly Indians under the guidance of Harold Lester would claim their third district championship since 1960 for the 1964 season. Kelly would finish the year at 9-1, with their only loss being a 14-7 decision to Gate City. The Appalachia Bulldogs would struggle all season and finish at 2-7-1. Their only wins would be at the expense of Haysi and Ervinton. Powell Valley would have a break-even season at 5-5.
1965 would be completely dominated by the Blue Devils of Gate City. Scoring 312 points and allowing only 6 points on the season gained their record of 10-0. The old saying offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships was proven in that season. Appalachia would bounce back from their disastrous 1964 season to finish 9-1 for 1965. The only loss for the Bulldogs was a 13-0 decision to Gate City. Powell Valley would also have a good season as they finished at 7-3. The losses were to Gate City, Appalachia and Kelly.
In 1966, the Appalachia Bulldogs under the guidance of Jim Riggs would win their first championship since 1959. Appalachia would finish the year at 10-0. The Powell Valley Vikings in their brief history would suffer their first losing season as they finished the year at 2-7-1. That was the final season as head coach for Garnett Gilliam. The Vikings were seen as contenders but injuries played a key factor in the Vikings disappointing season.
Gate City would wrestle the championship away from the Bulldogs in 1967. The Blue Devils would go 10-0 on the season. Appalachia’s only loss would be a 27-6 decision to Gate City. Appalachia would thus conclude the season at 9-1. Powell Valley would continue to struggle as they finished the year at 1-9, under new head coach, Cecil Maddux. Their only win came at the expense of the St. Charles Midgets by a score of 12-7.
The game of musical chairs continued in 1968, as Appalachia would regain the LPD Championship with a record of 9-0-1. The highlight of the season came at Appalachia. Ed Clark led Appalachia into a showdown with Gate City. With as many as 12,000 fans from various towns according to reports, the Blue Devils and the Bulldogs battled to a 6-6 tie. At halftime of that encounter it was announced that from that day on the name of the Appalachia Stadium would be known as Riggs Stadium. Powell Valley,
Would show some improvement from the previous season as they finished the year at 3-6-1. The Vikings picked up wins over St. Charles, Coeburn and Pennington.
The 1969 season saw the end of an era in the Lonesome Pine District. It would be the last season of the Gate City Blue Devils in the LPD for over 30 years. Appalachia would win the title with a record of 10-0. Included in that record was a 12-0 decision over Gate City. Powell Valley would continue to improve, as they would end the year at 4-5-1.
1970 saw some changes in the Lonesome Pine District. Gate City had left for the Southwest District and thus had become a Group AA school. The Virginia High School League had also developed a plan that would crown state champions in each classification. The Appalachia Bulldogs were looking to claim their third straight District Championship. The Kelly Indians under the direction of Dale Rose claimed that title when the Powell Valley Vikings upset Appalachia 15-8. Kelly would finish the year at 9-3, with losses to Castlewood and Appalachia in the regular season and a 15-14 loss to Chilhowie in the state semi-finals. Appalachia would finish the year at 7-3 with losses to Pound, Gate City and Powell Valley. The Vikings would have their first winning season since 1965 as they finished the 1970 season at 6-4.
After a near miss in 1970, the Appalachia Bulldogs would bounce back with vengeance in 1971 and win the Lonesome Pine District Championship and proceed to win the Group A VHSL State Championship with a spotless 13-0 record. They would outscore the opponents 454-126. That included outscoring their opponents in the playoffs 100-8. The local media saw Powell Valley, as a possible contender for high status at the beginning of the year. However Coach Cecil Maddux said, “we’ll be lucky to win five.” They did not live up to the expectations of the media but did fulfill the prophecy of their coach as they finished the year at 5-4-1.
Appalachia would struggle in 1972 as they finished the year at 4-5-1, in what was to be the last year for Jim Riggs at the helm of the Bulldogs. There was a new kid on the block to take district honors for 1972. That new kid was the Burton (Norton) Raiders who also won the Group A State Title. Putting up a strong fight was the Powell Valley Vikings, who after giving up 35 points in the first three games, proceeded to allow only 7 points in the last seven games. Those 7 points cost the Vikings a share of the championship as they lost to Norton by a score of 7-0. Powell Valley finished the year at 7-2-1.
1973 saw the beginning of a dynasty in the LPD that would be the talk of the state in years to come. Under the direction of Ralph Cummins, the Clintwood Greenwave took the district crown with a record of 12-1. The only blemish on the Clintwood record was a controversial 23-22 loss to Madison in the State title game at Bullitt Park, in Big Stone Gap. Powell Valley was seen by many to be the favorites to win the title but a three game losing streak killed off any title hopes for the Vikings. Powell Valley managed to win 4 out of the last 5 games to finish with a disappointing mark of 6-4. Appalachia would bounce back from their disappointing 1972 season to go 9-1 for 1973. Their only loss was a 20-6 decision to Clintwood.
1974 was the year of the wave. Clintwood would storm through the season with a mission to complete. Clintwood would accomplish all they wanted as they would win the LPD, Region D and the Group A title and finish at 12-0-1 for the year. Appalachia would go 6-2-2 on the season. The highlight for the Bulldogs came in the Clintwood game. Jackie Ray Robinette, the headman for the Bulldogs was sidelined due to a heart attack and was replaced on the sidelines by none other than Jim Riggs. Riggs had volunteered his services for one game and the game with Clintwood was a classic. When the dust had cleared Appalachia had surprised the Clintwood faithful and everyone else by playing Clintwood to a 0-0 tie. Powell Valley would see their record finish at 8-2. The only losses for the Vikings came at the hands of Clintwood and Burton.
Not much changed for the 1975 season, Clintwood dominated the year with a record of 13-0 and outscored their opponents by a margin of 607-92. This gave Clintwood their third straight District title and second straight State title. Powell Valley would finish out the year at 8-2 with losses to Clintwood 39-21 and to Kelly 16-10. Appalachia would see their season end with a record of 5-5.
Clintwood became the first school to win four consecutive championships when they took the LPD crown in 1976. They would end up the year with a record of 10-1. Their only loss was in the Region D Championship game to Pennington Gap, by a score of 16-13 in overtime. Appalachia would continue to rebuild as they had a disappointing season with a record of 4-6 under first year coach Sarge Reed. In the last year as the headman for Powell Valley, Cecil Maddux saw his squad fashion a record of 6-3-1. In the coaching career of Maddux, the Vikings had an overall record of 54-41-5.
The more things changed the more they stayed the same in 1977. Clintwood had lost some players due to graduation but they remained the same with new faces. The won the LPD for the fifth straight year but came up short in the playoffs again. They finished the year at 10-1 with the loss being to Honaker in the Region D Championship game. The disappointment continued at Appalachia as the Bulldogs went 2-8 on the season. Their only wins being over Jonesville and Coeburn. Powell Valley started off slow under new head coach James Bolling. With only a tie in their first five games, the Vikings picked up steam and won four out of the last five games to finish the year at 4-5-1
Clintwood would put all the pieces back together for 1978 and win their third Group A State Championship. Clintwood finished the year at 13-0.
Appalachia would show improvement from 1977 and fashion a respectable record of 5-5 for the season. Powell Valley likewise was an improved team and finished the year at 7-3.
Clintwood would once again win the LPD crown in 1979. This would be the seventh year in a row that they would win the district. Once again they failed to win the state title as they fell to Parry McClure 15-8 in the half state game to finish the year at 10-2. Appalachia would show slight improvement from the previous year and finish the year at 6-4. Powell Valley finished the year at 7-3 including a hard fought 22-20 win over Appalachia in the last game of the season.
1980 saw a new top dog in the district for the first time since 1971; the Appalachia Bulldogs were the district champions. Under new head coach Tom Turner, Appalachia would advance to the state title game but would come up short. The Bulldogs would finish the year at 12-1. Powell Valley would continue to be a thorn in the side of the top team in the district as they finished with a record of 8-2.
In 1981, we would see history repeat itself. Looking back to 1970 all the Appalachia Bulldogs had to do to win the LPD was to defeat Powell Valley in that last game of the regular season. Appalachia failed to do that and the Kelly Indians took the LPD banner for that year. Now moving forward to 1981, all Appalachia had to do was defeat Powell Valley and they would take the LPD crown and advance to the playoffs. Once again that failed to happen and the Kelly Indians took the title and moved forward to claim the Group A State Championship. Kelly finished that year with a record of 11-2 under the coaching guidance of Al Stecker. Powell Valley would have a disappointing year but would take great pleasure in the fact that they kept the Bulldogs out of the playoffs. Vikings would finish the year with a record of 6-3-1. Appalachia would close out the year with a record of 8-1-1. Losing only to Clintwood by a score of 14-12 and battling to a 15-15 tie with Powell Valley.
1982 would see a new champion, for the first time in the school’s existence; the Powell Valley Vikings would chart a course that reached the promised land of a championship. Powell Valley would not only claim their first district title, they would also claim the Group A State Title with a 14-13 win over Madison to finish the year at 12-0-1. The only blemish on the Viking record was a 7-7 tie with the Kelly Indians at Bullitt Part in the fourth game of the season. After the season was complete coach James Bolling announced his retirement from coaching. Bolling finished with a career record of 44-16-3. Appalachia struggled the entire season and finished the year at 3-7.
Powell Valley, under new head coach Phil Robbins would repeat as district champions in 1983. They would however come up short in their quest for a second straight state title with a 7-3 loss to Parry McClure in the half state game. Powell Valley finished the year at 11-1. The Appalachia Bulldogs bounced back from that disastrous season of 1982 to finish out 1983 with a record of 7-3.
1984, saw the Clintwood Greenwave under legendary coach Ralph Cummins tie the Appalachia Bulldogs for the district title. Clintwood would be awarded the playoff spot based on their power point rating. Clintwood would not recapture the glory of the 1970’s as they lost in the playoffs to Pennington. Clintwood would finish with a record of 9-2. Appalachia would give Clintwood a run for their money but would lose out at the end and finished the year with a record of 7-3. A 1-2 start killed any hope that the Vikings had but they served notice to everyone that they would be a factor in 1985. For the 1984 season Powell Valley finished out at 8-2.
Vikings would regain their top spot in the district in 1985. They would suffer a loss to Pound early but rebounded to finish the year at 12-1. Even with the state champion theirs, Powell Valley had to share the district honors with the Kelly Indians. Kelly would finish the year with a record of 6-4, with only one loss in the district. That loss was to the Powell Valley Vikings by the score of 20-13. Appalachia would finish out the year with a disappointing record of 4-6.
In 1986, the Powell Valley Vikings would win the LPD title for the fourth time in five years. They would conclude the regular season with a record of 10-0. They were heavily favored to march right on to the state championship game. The Garden Green Dragons in the first round of the playoffs would upset them by the score of 15-0, to finish at 10-1 for the season. Appalachia closed out the regular season at 7-3. In Division 1 playoffs the Bulldogs would advance to the Half-State game, only to fall to the Fighting Blues of Parry McClure to the tune of 29-0 to finish the year at 9-4.
1987 saw the swansong of legendary coach Ralph Cummins at Clintwood. Coach Cummins had been the headman at Clintwood since 1953. In his last season, Clintwood would claim the district champion with a record of 10-2. Powell Valley would close out the year with a loss to the Pennington Bobcats in the first round of the playoffs. Powell Valley would see their season end with a record of 6-5. Appalachia would also see their season end in the first round of the playoffs. With a 20-18 loss to Pound, the Bulldogs would end the year with a record of 8-3.
Powell Valley would bounce back in 1988 to win the district champion, but once again be knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. This time it was by the Honaker Tigers by a score of 23-17. Powell Valley ended the year with a record of 8-3. Appalachia would win their first nine games of the year but then would close out with losses to Powell Valley 16-6 and to Jonesville 7-6 to end the year at 9-2.
Powell Valley would win the LPD again in 1989 and march all the way to a state championship win over Central-Lunenburg 21-20 in the last seconds. Powell Valley ended the year at 13-1, with their only loss being to Gate City 21-20 in overtime. Appalachia struggled in the regular season to finish at 5-5 entering into the Division 1 playoffs. Once the playoffs begun, Appalachia started clicking on all cylinders and marched through the playoffs to win the Division 1 State Championship. This marked the first time that two schools from the same district had won state championships. Appalachia finished out the year with a record of 9-5.
Powell Valley continued to flex their muscles in 1990 and went 14-0 and won their fourth state championship since 1982. Once again it was Central-Lunenburg who tasted the bitterness of defeat in the title game. Appalachia would struggle in 1990 and end the year with a losing record at 5-7.
1991 saw co-champions, as the Appalachia Bulldogs and the Coeburn Blue Knights shared the crown. Appalachia would advance as far as the Half State Championship game before closing the year with a record of 10-3.
Coeburn would get as far as the Region D Championship game and lose 28-0 to Haysi to end their season at 10-2. Powell Valley would struggle all season and fail to make the playoffs for the first time since 1984. Powell Valley would lose to Coeburn for the first time since 1969, a streak that had reached 23 wins in a row before losing. Powell Valley finished the year at 5-5.
Appalachia claimed the throne in 1992 and marched all the way to the state title game that was held at Bullitt Park on a Sunday afternoon due to heavy snow that kept the game from being played on Saturday. On a cold winter day Appalachia would triumph over Strasburg by the score of 26-20 to win the Division 1 Group A title. Powell Valley would rebound from their 1991 season to go 10-3 with the final game being a loss to Lebanon to the tune of 28-7 in the Half State game.
The Bulldogs would completely dominate the 1993 season and march through to the State Championship game, much like Sherman’s march through Atlanta. Middlesex would stun, not only Appalachia but also the entire state as they defeated Appalachia by a score of 10-6. With the loss the Bulldogs finished the year at 13-1. Powell Valley would get only to the Region D title game but losing to Haysi by the score of 14-12. With the loss the Vikings finished the year at 9-3.
After a slow start, both the Vikings and the Bulldogs finished the regular season strong, with the Vikings claiming the district crown by virtue of a 28-27 win over Appalachia. Vikings marched through the Division 2 play offs to claim their fourth state championship in 1994. Appalachia would likewise do the same in Division 1 and get revenge over Middlesex, as they took no prisoners in a 72-7 romp in the state title game. Both Appalachia and Powell Valley finished with records of 12-2 for the 1994 season.
Vikings would proudly defend their title in 1995. Powell Valley would go undefeated at 14-0 to give them a 25 game winning streak over a two-year period and earn their sixth state championship since 1982. Appalachia would conclude the season with a loss to Bath County in the Half State game to finish the year at 9-4
1996 would see co-champions for the first time since Coeburn and Appalachia shared the title in 1991. For 1996 the title would be shared by archrivals, the Appalachia Bulldogs and the Powell Valley Vikings. That came about on the final regular season game of the season. Appalachia would jump out to a 32-7 lead at halftime. The Bulldogs had to fend off the Vikings in the second half and held on for the win. The final score was Appalachia 44 Powell Valley 34. Both teams finished the regular season with records of 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the district. Powell Valley would advance to the half state game in Division 2 and lose to Giles 14-7 in monsoon like conditions and finish out the year at 9-4. While Powell was losing, Appalachia was manhandling Rural Retreat 46-0 to advance to the Division 1 State Title game. Surry County traveled to Big Stone Gap to meet up with the Bulldogs in the battle for top honors. When it was all said and done Appalachia claimed the title with a 40-14 win over the Cougars. With the win Appalachia finished out the year with a record of 11-3.
1997 would be perhaps the best season ever, not only in the LPD but also in this end of the state bar none. Powell Valley would be a year older and more mature and would claim their seventh state title since 1982 and finish out the season undefeated at 14-0. Appalachia would win the Division 1 title for the second consecutive year as they defeated Surry County 24-21 and finished the year with a record of 13-1, with that only loss being to Powell Valley. What really made the year special was that Gate City won the Group AA Division 3 title with a record of 12-2. The only losses for the Blue Devils were to Powell Valley and Appalachia.
Powell Valley would continue their winning ways in 1998 as they once again won the LPD and the Division 2 State Title with a 27-14 win over Madison. The Vikings finished the year with a record of 14-0. Appalachia had been hit hard by graduation and struggled all year and suffered through a 4-8 season.
Powell Valley kept the LPD title in 1999 as they finished the year at 8-3. In those three losses they lost by a total of 15 points as Kelly defeated them for the first time since 1981 and Clintwood defeated the Vikings for the first time since 1987. The loss to Clintwood was costly as it came in the first round of the plays to end their season. Appalachia continued to have problems, as they would only defeat Lee High to finish the year at 1-9.
The more things changed, the more they stayed the same in 2000. Powell Valley win their seventh straight LPD title and advance to the Region D title game only to come up on the short end of a 28-6 loss to the Honaker Tigers. Powell Valley would conclude the year with a record of 8-4. Appalachia would also advance to the Division 1 title game only to lose to Rye Cove by a score of 20-14. That was the first time that Appalachia had ever lost to Rye Cove. Appalachia would finish the year at 6-6.
The 2001 football campaign saw a change in the LPD. For the first time in over thirty years, the Gate City Blue Devils would return. Powell Valley would earn their breaking eighth straight district championship. The biggest challenge for the Vikings would be their encounter with the Blue Devils in the seventh game of the season. Powell Valley would win that high scoring affair with a 41-35 overtime win with a standing room crowd at Bullitt Park. Gate City would gain their revenge a few weeks later as they defeated Powell Valley to claim the Region D title. Powell Valley concluded their season with a record of 9-3. Appalachia would hang tough and advance to the half state game in Division 1. In that game the Bulldogs season would end as the Bath County Chargers soundly defeated them by a score of 34-14. Appalachia thus ended their season with a record of 9-4,
Gate City would claim the title in 2002 with a record of 12-1; their only loss was to George Wythe by a score of 21-20 in overtime. Appalachia would advance to the Division 1 title game but would come up short and finish the year at 11-3. Powell Valley would struggle early but would win six of their last seven to reach the playoffs. Their season would end in the opening round of the playoffs, as they would fall to Honaker by the score of 12-8. That loss ended their season with a record of 6-5.
Gate City would retain the title in 2003 and claim their first state title since 1997 to finish the year at 14-0. Powell Valley would bounce back to have a respectable season to finish the year at 8-3. Appalachia would suffer through a very disappointing year and finish the season with a record of 1-9. That win came at the expense of the Rye Cove Eagles by a score of 34-8 in the opening game.
Powell Valley would claim the district championship in 2004. That was their first district title since 2001; they also gained a berth in the Division 2 title game for the first time since 1998. Vikings came up on the short end of a 20-13 score as Manassas Park claimed the crown. Powell Valley closed out the year at 12-2. Appalachia continued to rebuild as they suffered through a 3-7 season.
The 2005 season would see one new champion and one old champion at the end of the campaign. Burton would claim a share of their first district title since 1972. They finished the year at 12-2, and shared the district title with the Gate City Blue Devils, who ended their year with a 47-20 loss to Powell Valley to close out the year at 8-3. Powell Valley started slow at 2-3, but end up as Division 2 Region D runner up with a record of 8-4. Appalachia’s Tom Turner had a strong team in what was to be his last season as the headman for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs would win seven of their first eight games and advance to the Division 1 Region D Championship game. They would come up short, as Burton would defeat them by a score of 42-20. Appalachia ended up the year with a record of 8-4.
That concludes the history of Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, East Stone Gap and the Powell Valley Vikings dating all the way back to 1923. You can let me know if you enjoyed the articles by emailing me at [email protected]
No problem. I'm going to try and find as much stuff as possible and start archiving it one of these days. It's a shame that websites such as the LPD Sports Report are no longer being updated, but if you look at the link for Part 18 and go to the very last pargraph, you'll notice that the email address is none other than - wait for it - the LPD report email address!