Morgantown's Thomas captains Class AAA all-state first team
WHEELING, W.Va. -- Rewind to 2010.
To say that Wheeling Park coach Chris Daugherty was less than impressed when freshman Zach Phillips showed up on the scene would be a major understatement.
Phillips came in at a scrawny 117 pounds. He split time during that preseason getting minimum reps with another freshman quarterback, the more brawny Matt Hackathorn.
Fast forward to 2013.
Both Phillips and Hackathorn are members of the Class AAA first team all-state squad, released today by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. Phillips is at quarterback, Hackathorn on the offensive line.
"We weren't really sure what we were going to do in the future [at quarterback] but we could see very quickly that, despite how small Zach was, he showed great poise, great leadership and an outstanding knowledge of the game,'' Daugherty said. "That he has come this far is a credit to Zach. He got in the weight room. He got bigger, and he worked at the position.''
The knowledge was born at home. His dad, Keith, is the Park offensive coordinator, and a former college offensive coordinator. Phillips is now 6-foot-2, 180-pound college prospect.
On the season, he completed 116 of 189 passes for 1,974 yards with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions.
"He gets the ball from Point A to Point B quicker than any kid I've had,'' Daugherty said. "It's hard to prepare for that when you don't see it every week. When you add his accuracy, he was a big, big weapon.''
Hackathorn went from a quarterback to an offensive tackle, not a traditional position switch. These days, Hackathorn is a 6-5, 255-pound college prospect.
"A lot of the coaches rave about his footwork, how fast he is for an offensive lineman,'' Daugherty said. "That comes from starting his career as a quarterback.''
Morgantown running back Chazzy Thomas is captain of the first-team offense.
Despite getting injured in the eighth week of the season, Thomas finished with 2,108 yards on just 174 carries (12.1 yards per carry) and scored 30 touchdowns. He was limited to three carries in the Mohigans' first-round playoff loss to University.
"He's a really deserving young man to be named captain,'' Morgantown Coach John Bowers said. "That was two years in a row he got injured and it robbed him of finishing the season. He was putting up some daggoned video-game numbers and than he got hurt.''
Oak Hill senior Jalen Jones (221-1,647-210) and Capital junior Kashuan Haley (218-1,637-21) join Thomas in the backfield.
Along the offensive line joining Hackathorn are Cabell Midland's Cody Ballengee (6-0, 245 pounds), George Washington's David Smith (6-5, 300), Spring Valley's Trevor Stacy (6-5, 290) and Morgantown's Stone Wolfley (6-4, 238).
Receivers are Kendell Smith of Washington (63 catches, 1,034 yards, 12 touchdowns) and Ripley's Kade Harrison (44-988-11).
Shifty Martinsburg dual-threat quarterback Malique Watkins in the offensive utility player (232 carries, 1,790, 20 TDs rushing; 62 of 105 passing, 934 yards, 15 TDs) and Jefferson's Hunter Colbert is the kicker after booting eight field goals and 25 PATs in the Cougars' 10-game regular season.
Defensively, Nigel Cabell of Huntington, Tony Richardson of University, James Walton of Capital, the Hunt Award winner as the state's top lineman and Troy Walker, son of Martinsburg Coach Dave Walker, are the defensive linemen.
The linebackers include John Marshall's Trevor Hardesty, Huntington's Greg May, University's Jack Armstrong and defensive captain and Huff Award winner Geremy Paige of Wheeling Park. Paige, a senior, amassed 156 tackles, 12 sacks and two fumble recoveries for Park.
The Huntington duo of Clark Wilson and Nick Tubbs joins Lewis County's Brandon Moneypenny and University's Jack Armstrong as defensive backs and Hurricane's Zach Pate is the defensive utility player.
Parkersburg's Kyle Foster is the punter.
Kentre Grier, of South Charleston, is the second-team quarterback after the dual-threat sophomore led the Black Eagles to the first round of the playoffs. Grier passed for 2,244 yards, 29 touchdowns and six interceptions while rushing for 524 yards and six scores.
Wheeling Park's Savion Johnson (209-1,490-21), also a sophomore, Washington senior Colin Gustines (237-1,825-21) and Martinsburg junior Deamonte Lindsay (140-1,130-14) are the running backs and the receivers are Park's Eric Banks (46-791-8) and South Charleston's Kevin Forrest (49-870-10), the captain of the second-team offense.
The offensive line is made up of University's Clint Arbaugh, Morgantown's Amanii Brown, Hurricane's Mitch Fitzgerald, Spring Valley's Alex Locklear and Martinsburg's Daiveyon Monroe.
University's Travis Renner (154-852-9 rushing; 87-150-1,212-11 passing) is the offensive utility player and Zack Stevens of Huntington is the second-team kicker after making 51 PATs and kicking eight field goals.
One defense, Jaisson Dyer of Capital, Tyler Hayes of Cabell Midland, Wheeling Park's Chalmer Moffett and Huntington's Arick Hicks are the defensive linemen.
The linebackers are A.D. Cunningham of South Charleston, Eli Gates of Hedgesville, Zack Malone of George Washington and Chase Walton of Point Pleasant.
Morgantown's Alex Anderson, South Charleston's Marquel Hampton and Woodrow Wilson's Chase Hancock are the defensive backs.
The defensive utility player is George Washington's Jacob Jackson and Wheeling Park's Liam Casey is the punter.