PHS’ Ryan Creech chooses West Lib
PARKERSBURG — Ryan Creech, a first-team Class AAA all-state lineman for Parkersburg High School, is excited to continue his career as a student-athlete at West Liberty University.
Hilltopper head coach Roger Waialae might be even more giddy, though.
“We were recruiting him hard. He can play any one of the three positions on the offensive line and that’s what made him so attractive,” noted the WLU head man. “We’ve been kind of demolished year after year with injuries and we wanted to get tougher up front.
“We wanted to do some things recruiting-wise so we made a focus and he was one of them. Every year you target so many kids and he was up there on the board, meaning we wanted to get him. We’re definitely excited up here on the Hilltop to land someone of his caliber.”
Creech, who carries a 3.3 cumulative GPA and plans to major in the education field, was a three-year letterman for the Big Reds.
“I have a big love for football. I love new schemes,” noted Creech, who said his total financial aid package basically will take care of his education. “I’m down to learning and doing anything.
“I love to see how everything works. I tell everybody I have a quarterback mind, but the body of an offensive lineman.”
Standing at 6-foot-3, Creech played around 290 pounds and helped the Big Reds to consecutive playoff appearances.
“I’m proud of what I accomplished. I accomplished all my main goals,” Creech added.
“I got bigger, faster, stronger and the brotherhood I gained from my friends and all the experiences I got out of PHS football, it’s unbelievable.
“There’s nothing like the saying once a Big Red always a Big Red because that’s how I feel. I’m always going to be a Big Red. Long term, I just want to get a degree and be an all-conference player. Short term, I just want to play this year.”
Although Waialae and offensive line/strength coach Dan Hopkins aren’t making any promises, they hope Creech can come in right away and compete for a job.
“He came up to our camp. From there, it was a no-brainer,” said Waialae, who officially signed Creech earlier this week as the Big Red also heavily considered both Fairmont State and Shepherd. “Obviously, we feel very fortunate to get him. We know the attention that he got in a number of places who were recruiting him.
“It just happened to be our lucky day. He’s a great kid and fits in well with our players. Fortunately, he knew a lot of people here already so it was a perfect fit for us.”
Former Williamstown all-stater Trevor Hoosier, a defensive lineman, is one of those Creech knows quite well at West Liberty.
“I’ve known him since we were kids. It’s good to have him up there and I’ve played against a few of the guys up there,” Creech noted. “I believe that if I have a great camp, I think I can start next year, but it just depends on how the coaches feel about me, but they’ve been heavy on me for a while.”
During Creech’s first two years at PHS, the Big Reds went 4-6 each season before coach Mike Byus took the helm two years ago. PHS went 7-3 and qualified for the playoffs before losing at home in the opening round to John Marshall when Creech was a junior.
His senior year, PHS went 6-4 in the regular season and defeated Wheeling Park in the first round of the playoffs before giving Mountain State power Martinsburg one of its toughest instate tests of the campaign in a 49-20 road loss.
“Winning the first playoff game, that was a big deal for me, and making the playoffs for the first time in 10 years,” Creech stressed. “Just the fact we got the pride back around PHS, that’s awesome.
“The process was fun and being recruited is one of the best feelings, knowing people want you. When you find your home, it’s just an unbelievable feeling. I had a feeling after my official visit it was going to be my home. It just felt right.”