It may have taken a while and the help of some local West Virginian's but we made it! Matewan is a small blue-collar coal mining town that loves their football and their Tigers. Matewan is also the home of the nation's leading rusher at 1901 yards and the single game rushing record holder (658 yards), Paul McCoy.
We met up with Paul at the high school where the junior high team was having their big game. Football is truly a community event around here and they put pads on the kids
when they are just five years old. Chris thinks he could dominate that league, but I don't know these kids are tuff out here. Paul said he has been playing since he was in grade school and has been in love with the game ever since. However, things did not start out easily for Paul on the gridiron.
Paul was born with a physical condition that required him to wear braces on his legs. Paul and his family proclaim that after much praying and hoping, there was finally a day when his legs were healed. I hear there was once a movie that sounds a bit like this. Anyways, I guess Paul learned to run a little because he is rewriting the record books around the nation.
It was great to meet another star who was quick to point out his teammates and how his records were the result of a collective team effort. It is always a difficult task for stars like Paul to give guys like myself the goods about their individual performance without taking the spotlight off of the team. But with Paul it is clear, team execution and hard work are what led to these unbelievable performances. Of course it helps to have lighting quick speed and to be able to "cut on a dime and leave nine cents for the fans", as one fan explained.
What is most important to Paul is their push for the post-season and to do whatever he can as a two-way starter to make this happen. After his senior year he would love to continue to play at the collegiate level, but exposure is hard to come by in the coal mining communities of West Virginia. Hopefully Paul's monster season will open the eye of a smart coach who will give this deserving young man a well deserved shot to play at the next level. We've seen the game footage and this kid has every bit of the ability of the highly recruited backs we've watched during our tour.
A huge thanks to the McCoy family for opening up Wingo's Grill to us and giving us the best chicken wings around, to Matewan high school for a parking lot to park and sleep in, and Lyle Markham for dragging us around town.