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Following Class A title appearance in ‘21, Beck and Williamstown High School reload

Williamstown tackle Aiden Corbett goes through warmups prior to last year’s Class A state championship game versus Ritchie County in Wheeling. (Photo by Neal Smith)

WILLIAMSTOWN — Year three of the Chris Beck era at Williamstown High School is in full swing, and the Yellowjackets have been utilizing the three-week summer coaching period with eyes set toward taking that final step this fall.

Currently, the ‘Jackets have 39 players out after finishing as Class A state runner-up a year ago to Ritchie County.

One thing coach Beck and his staff have stressed early on is to “compete, compete, compete” and “one day at a time, keep getting better” along with most importantly “we got to be one game better than we were last year.”

An 8-2 regular season led to a home playoff game against Greenbrier West, which resulted in a 48-20 victory. WHS then hit the road and won at East Hardy, 44-24, before rolling past host Doddridge County in the semifinals, 43-0, and eventually being doubled up by the Rebels in Wheeling, 42-21.

“You feel good about the run game, but other teams know that, too,” admitted coach Beck, who watched Rickie Allen and signal-caller Maxwell Molessa combine to rush for more than 3,000 yards last season. “We’re going to see stacked boxes and we have to take our shots and make plays on the perimeter when those opportunities present themselves.”

Overall, the ‘Jacket return nine on defense and depending on the package offensively it’s either eight or nine.

“The scheme and base stuff will stay the same,” Beck added. “You always add wrinkles in the offseason. I think we have to be better on defense at times. We were good last year. We were a consistently good defense, but we need to be a consistently great defense.

“Offensively, we would like to make more plays on the perimeter and down the field. I think the kids are expecting a great group of leaders. A great senior class as far as leadership goes. They’ve been busting their tail and doing a really, really good job of doing what’s asked of them.”

Allen and Molessa were named to the all-state first team and Colton Hesson returns after earning second team all-state as a defensive back.

WHS also returns a trio of linemen in center Jett Nestor, guard Gunner Henrie and tackle Aiden Corbett.

“He’s really good,” Beck said of Corbett. “He’ll be one of the best linemen in Class A. Might not be the best, but one of them.”

Despite having a solid group of returners, there are holes to fill and the big team goal never changes.

“Just like always, the expectation is to play on the island in December and hopefully finish,” said the coach. “You got to finish the job this time. I think we are 2-8 in championship games. We got to finish. That’s been the message. We got to be one game better. We’ve been trying to build that depth.

“We got a lot of young guys who need that time. That’s been a focus. How are we going to get some depth at some of these spots? We feel good about our ones and twos, but what do you have behind that. You got to keep developing that depth. Every year we have a couple of guys that surprise you and we are anxious to see who that’s going to be.”

The only change on the schedule for the Yellowjackets in 2022 is Buffalo has been removed in place of Marietta.

“It’s going well,” Beck added of the start to year three. “I’m enjoying the heck out of it. I said it when I got it, and I still believe it today. I don’t know if there’s a better small school job in the state. The community support, the family support, the effort our players give, it’s just second to none and it always has been.

“That didn’t surprise me when I got here and being a player and then an assistant you see it, but then you sit in the chair and you worry if it’s going to wane, and it hasn’t. I’m enjoying it. I’m just having a ball with it.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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