PRIDE – Warrior Football 2019 Preview

The 2019 Pocahontas County High School Football Warriors, front row, l to r: Devyn Young, Dalton Hendrick, Dustin Fitzgerald, Dillon Shinaberry, Reese Kelley, Brody Buzzard, Isaac Evans. Second row: Jarrett Lucabaugh, Ty Cochran, Logan Ryder, Jacob Barkley, Keaton Baldwin, Jesse Bostic, Jacob Davis, Matthew Hipe. Third row: Ryan Robertson, Cash Keating, AJ Madison, Ethan Hamrick, Cage Burdette, Frankie Burgess, Bryson Carroll. Fourth row: Waylon Lucabaugh, Connor Taylor, Austin Morgan, Braeden Hayhurst, Ryan Halterman, Gage Wilson, Ryan Friel. Fifth row: Holdon Sharp, Ryan Roy, Josten Moyer, Logan Wimer, Nakota Smith, Traves Lewis, Nathan Boylen.

Aaron Pugh
Contributing Writer
A half century of Warrior football has produced some storied teams and players for the most sparsely populated county in the state and its Warriors.

This year is showing that there is still pride to be had in Pocahontas County. Coach Doug Burns returns for his seventh season to lead a packed team of 39 Warriors into the 2019 season. The prospect of having nine returning starters from the previous season,  some first time help from some upperclassmen and a super-sized freshman class show signs of a good year ahead after a fair to middling 5 – 5, 2018 season.

The Warriors will go into this season with seven seniors, nine juniors, eight sophomores and 15 freshmen. The commitment of these young men has been a cut above average.

After dealing with a hot and humid August of hard work and preparation, and traveling to two scrimmages – first with AA James Monroe in week two of pre-season, then the Grid-O-Rama in week three where the Warriors had an excellent showing against a large AA program at Clay County, and Webster County, which has some of the fastest skilled players in the state. After this the Warriors are still at 39 athletes and ready to roll into regular season play, having no players quit since day one and only a few that have dealt with injuries.

Senior Reese Kelly has high hopes.

“We have great potential,” he said, “if we continue to work and push each other.”

The prospective starting lineup for the Warriors this season in the skilled positions will be anchored by senior Dillon Shinaberry at 6’3”/220 lbs., who will take the helm for his second season as QB/LB. Backing up Shinaberry is a returning cast of seniors: Brody Buzzard WR/LB, Dalton Hedrick WR/DB, juniors Keaton Baldwin RB/QB/LB and Jacob Barkley FB/DE/DL-all returning for their second year of full-time varsity play. They will be joined by a young host of Warrior skill consisting of juniors Logan Ryder RB/LB, Dakota Dunbrack FB/LB and Jacob Davis, Kicker – on loan from the Warrior Soccer team. Rounding out the skilled lineup will be shifty sophomore duo Cage Burdette WR/DB and Frankie Burgess WR/DB.

Coach Matt Buzzard said it is encouraging to have young athletes stepping up, others improving, especially in the secondary and in the passing game. The Warriors anticipate a very stout run/run defense game and some serious improvements in the passing, secondary defense and kicking game.

The “Hogs’ are bringing their A-game, too.

The offensive line will be led by senior and three-year starter Reese Kelly G/DE, alongside fellow seniors Isaac Evans T/DL, Devyn Young C/DE and Dustin Fitzgerald T/DL/DE. The junior class will supply Jarrett “Luke” Lucabaugh T/DL and Matthew Hipes T/DL and the two utility men, Jesse Bostic playing C/G/DL/DE/LB and Ty Cochran at C/G/DE/DL. Aspiring sophomore AJ Madison G/DL and freshman fireplug Austin Morgan G/DL/LB finish up the Warrior frontline.

The young guns and future of the team hope to have a great JV run and continue to build this program. Leading this young lineup will be sophomores Cash Keating QB/LB, Jonny Valido FB/LB, Ethan Hamrick RB/LB, Foye McLemore T/DL and Ryan Robertson C/LB. The freshman class has charged into their PCHS careers with 15 players – including three more Ryans – including Ryan Halterman WR/DB, Ryan Friel FB/DE, Ryan Roy G/DL -Nakota Smith RB/DB, Connor Taylor WR/DB, Gage Wilson WR/DB, Logan Wimer G/DE, Braeden Hayhurst RB/LB, Josten Moyer T/DL, Holden Sharp WR/DB, Traves Lewis T/DL, Waylon Lucabaugh G/DL, Nathan Boylen C/DL, Brycen Carroll WR/DB and for those who were counting, the aforementioned Austin Morgan.

The Warriors are coached by Head Coach Doug Burns, defensive coordinator Matt Buzzard, linebacker and running back coach JR Kiner, offensive and defensive line coach Aaron Pugh, much appreciated volunteers Ray Hendrick and Justin Kerr, and the lovely and indispensable trainer, medic and team mom, Jessica Shinaberry.

The Warriors will start the season with three home games.

First, with a rematch against the Tucker County Mountain Lions on August 30, followed by hosting the Moorefield Yellow Jackets on September  6 and rival Pendleton County Wildcats on September 13.

Homecoming will be against long standing adversaries the Richwood Lumberjacks on September 27.

Kick-off for all games is 7 p.m.

Please join us this fall for Warrior Football.

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