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Price wants titles, not just victories

October 24, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

INWOOD, W.Va. - Musselman High School has joined the 1990s.

The southern part of Berkeley County recently updated with a new middle and high school to improve the area's standard of education heading into the millennium.

While the new digs are spotless, their character pales in comparison to the last remaining relic linking Musselman to its past - Waldeck Field.

The school's football facility, otherwise known as the Apple Pit, sits next to the old high school just to the north of the Inwood-Bunker Hill line.

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To most who live in these parts, that's holy land. The place where high school football fans pay homage every Friday night.

From a distance, it's nothing more than a pitch of land in the middle of brush-covered surroundings dotted with a couple of buildings that look like green barns. Looks are deceiving ... those buildings are a testament to the foundation of a program which was built by Musselman coach Denny Price.

And now, Price's investment, which created one of the most successful football programs in West Virginia, is about to pay a dividend. As Price hits the home stretch of his 26th year as head coach, he is on the verge of almost reluctantly obtaining one of coaching's greatest milestones - his 200th victory.

"Honestly, other people have been keeping more track of it than I have," Price said recently after his highly-rated Applemen squeaked out a 30-29 victory over Jefferson in double overtime. "At the beginning of the year, my wife told me that it was coming up. I still really don't know when it is. You'd have to ask her."

Well, with a career mark of 199-83-1, Price can join select company on Friday when the Applemen host Hampshire.

There are many reminders of past milestones at the Pit, like state championship billboards near the field and photos of former players in the locker room. But they have their place.

Right now, all Price and the Applemen concern themselves with is their 8-0 record and a second berth in the West Virginia Class AAA playoffs. Advancing to the postseason will start a new tradition at Musselman, a school which seemed to have an open invitation to the Class AA playoffs during Price's early years.

"Am I going to dwell on 200 wins?" Price said. "No. The big thing is getting this team into the playoffs. The teams we have had over the years have been pretty successful. We have had some great teams here."

In reality, all 200 wins mean to Price is that he's been at Musselman for a long time ... just like the Apple Pit. 200 is just a number. Smaller numbers mean more, like the number of state titles the Applemen own.

"I have some personal goals," Price said. "I want to win 200 games. That's great. But I want to win more state championships, too."

Wins define the season, but championships define a career. That notion will never change, no matter where the Applemen play their home games.

Denny Price and the former Musselman High building will always have two things in common - they're both old school and they're both the starting point for winners .... 200 times over.

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