MASON-It has been quite an eventful month for the White Falcons from Wahama High School and their veteran head football coach Ed Cromley.
When senior quarterback Trenton Gibbs crossed the goal line with the game-winning two-point conversion, the Mason Countians found themselves atop the Class A standings for the first time in the school's history-beating Madonna by a 43-42 score in the title game at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Now, the small-school power finds itself atop the division once again as three members of that team-senior Zach Wamsley and juniors Kane Roush and Zack Killingsworth-were named to the Class A all-state football team selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
"It says that when your team works together well, then your kids get noticed," said Cromley. "Individuals receive the awards, but they are really team awards."
The trio is a part of a dozen local individuals who will receive their all-state certificate at the annual Victory Awards Dinner in early May. Joining the three Wahama players are Williamstown placekicker Garret Butler, Doddridge County defensive back Daniel Plaugher, offensive linemen Scott Lowe from Wirt County and Allen Pratt from St. Marys, linebackers Derek Barnhart of St. Marys and Kage Rohde of Magnolia, the Blue Eagles' Stephen Rogalski at wide receiver and Drew Keller at running back and Tyler Consolidated's Hunter LeMasters at defensive back.
Wamsley, who led the White Falcons with nearly 100 tackles as well as more than 1,200 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns, was selected as the captain of the first team defense while Rogalski (53 receptions, 775 yards and 6 TDs) was chosen as the offensive captain.
"Zach (Wamsley) and Crandale (Neal) brought a level of toughness to our program that did not exist before they played," continued Cromley. "(Trenton) Gibbs gave us athletic ability at the quarterback position while Kane (Roush) gave us speed in the backfield."
Roush, who still has one year left at the Mason County school, finished with 1,777 yards and 25 touchdowns on 145 carries.
Rounding out the first team offense are Ross Comis of Madonna at quarterback, Meadow Bridge's Jake Parker at running back, Josh Parker of East Hardy at wide receiver, Greenbrier West's Zack Johnson and Clay-Battelle's Tyler Menas on the offensive line and Wheeling Central's C.J. Burch as the utility player.
The first team defense includes the Maroon Knights' Braxton Nolte, Tug Valley's Isaac Parsley, and Madonna's Nate Guio on the front line, Tucker County's Mike Adkins at linebacker, Buffalo's Levi Jordan and Derek Nestor of Tucker County in the secondary, Malik Boatwright of Greenbrier West as the utility player and Midland Trail's Jake Grimmett as the punter.
Keller finished with more than 1,300 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns to help Magnolia reach the Class A semifinals before the Blue Eagles' season ended with a 10-7 loss to eventual state champion Wahama.
Pratt and Barnhart were two of the main reasons the Blue Devils from St. Marys had the season they had as Pratt was an intrigal part of an offensive front that opened holes for running backs Noah Spitzer and David Gray while Barnhart, who also played fullback, was the leader on a defensive unit that helped the Pleasants Countians reach the Class A semifinals.
Butler, a first team selection as a goal keeper in soccer, was Mr. Automatic for the Yellowjackets as the senior made good on all, but one of his point after attempts as well as six of nine field goal attempts-one from 50 yards away.
Plaugher, who picked off three passes from his defensive back position, was one of the key ingredients for a Doddridge County team that finished just out of the 16-team playoff field in head coach Bobby Burnside's first year at the helm while LeMasters' four interceptions were key in the Silver Knights 4-6 finish in Rob Caldwell's last season as the team's head coach.
Locals named to the second team offense includes Tyler Consolidated's Alex Doak at wide receiver and Williamstown's Avery Goff and Wahama's Wesley Harrison on the offensive line. On defense, the Yellowjackets' Chris McDuffy and Magnolia freshman Kyle Ritz were selected on the front line while St. Marys' Andrew Cosper and the White Falcons' Gibbs were selected for their play in the secondary.