WHEELING - The Hurricane boys soccer program has been known through the years as a defensive-minded outfit, leading the state in goals against for the past three seasons and four of the last six.
This season, things changed a little bit. Mainly with the arrival of Felipe Thompson.
A foreign exchange student from Santiago, Chile, Thompson took the state by storm, scoring 47 goals to go with 11 assists in leading the Redskins to their first state championship.
For his efforts, Thompson was selected as the captain of the West Virginia Class AAA boys all-state soccer team as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
''He is special,'' Hurricane coach Jim Dagostine said. ''He is so physical and just bullies his way into shots. He's one of the most creative shotmakers I've seen since I've been coaching here.
''He has such a powerful strike and is also a great passer.''
All it took was a few practices and Dagostine knew that after years of relying on defense, it was time to open up the offense.
''We always knew we could do things defensively, but after seeing what he could provide us offensively, we knew we wanted to try and take advantage of that,'' Dagostine said.
After years of coming up short in the playoffs, Hurricane finally broke through with a 2-0 victory against Parkersburg in the championship game.
The title finished off a remarkable run in which the Redskins beat the No. 2-ranked Big Reds in the title tilt, No. 3 Huntington in the regional final, and No. 4 Winfield in the sectional title.
''I don't know if that has ever happened but if there was ever a team that earned the right to be called state champions, it was these guys,'' Dagostine said. ''It wasn't easy.''
Thompson, a senior forward, was held without a goal in the championship game, but luckily for him, he had two teammates that were all-state caliber to back him.
Alex White (midfield, 13 goals, 22 assists) and Evan Miles (defense, six goals, four assists) each scored in the victory.
''(Alex), I thought he had a great state tournament,'' Dagostine said. ''He plays with great pace and great energy. He has tremendous speed and quickness.
''Evan Miles is the kind of guy that every coach, when he's done playing, feels it was an honor to have coached him. He is a fearless competitior and has been a great leader.''
Miles and White are part of a core six players that lost two regular-season games in four seasons. Their final season ended with a 23-0-1 mark.
Thompson is joined at forward by Hunter White of Lewis County, who scored 28 goals (104 for his career) with 14 assists and six hat tricks, and Winfield junior Hunter Sheldon.
Along with Alex White, Huntington's Matt Miller, Woodrow Wilson's Luke Rodriguez, and Wheeling Park's Eric Bonar comprised the midfield.
''Eric is an outstanding midfielder with great passes, shot and dribbling,'' Wheeling Park coach Mario Julian said.
Huntington's Nathan DeMass, Parkersburg's Tyler Broadwater, and Greenbrier East's Jacob Baker are the defenders along with Miles.
Spring Valley's Jared Messer, who made 71 career starts in goal, had a senior campaign that saw him record nine shutouts with 118 saves. He also added four assists.
George Washington junior Garrett Phillips is the other goalkeeper.
The second team consists of goalies Shane Thompson (University) and Chris Orwig (Buckhannon-Upshur); forwards Evan Eich (Nitro), Jameson McCarthy (Huntington), and Tristin Reid (Martinsburg); midfielders Garrett Warner (George Washington), second-team captain Zach Wilcoxen (Parkersburg), Christopher Holland (Spring Valley), and Jacob Kemlock (Oak Hill); and defenders Matt Sumpter (Woodrow Wilson), Geoff Bevil (Nitro), Caleb Barnette (George Washington), andd Grant Robertson (Wheeling Park).