After another successful season that saw Bridgeport finish 11-2 and make it back to the Class AA semifinals, the football team was rewarded with the all-state team released today.
The Indians landed two members on the “AA” first team as well as a selection to the section team. The Tribe also had two players on special honorable mention and two on honorable mention as well.
Members of the West Virginia Sports Writers Association select the team. The WVSWA uses ballots from its members, coaches and a discussion by committee members to determine the selections.
Bridgeport managed to have one repeat selection and one first-time selection to the first unit. Running back Jake Bowen earned a nod as did defensive lineman Austin Sponaugle. Both players are seniors.
Bowen wrapped up a monster career with a monster season. The senior finished with 285 rushes for 2,270 yards in 13 games. He added 35 touchdowns for good measure that was the result of eight yards per carry and 174.6 yards rushing per game despite sitting out large portions of the second half of several contests.
“Jake was a pleasure for me to coach and fans to watch. The type of playmaking ability you saw from him is something you don’t see very often,” said Bridgeport Coach John Cole. “He’ll be missed.”
Cole said what makes Bowen’s numbers more impressive is that he ran behind an inexperienced line at the early part of the season.
“Jake had a pretty good line from the get go last year and this year it took a while for the line to come along,” said Cole. “He had to adjust and work harder. Once the line got to where it needed to be he was even more impressive and Jake was always the first guy to thank the guys blocking for him.
“The other thing this year was that he was durable,” Cole went on. “He did sit out a lot of second halves, but there were more games this year where he went deep into games and his load was higher than last year and he still came through.”
By the end of the year, Bowen had not only earned the rushing title for the Indians for the season. He had also became the school’s all-time leading rusher by passing Steve Stout. Stout had held the record since 1973.
While Cole expected Bowen to have a big season, he said the team needed Sponaugle to have one. And that’s what happened.
Sponaugle, chosen for his play at defensive end, was all over the field. He was second on the team in tackle with 73. He had a team-high 9.5 tackles for loss as well as a sack and a fumble recovery.
“Late last year he got to play defense and ended up starting a few games so we were hopeful he could produce,” said Cole. “What’s particularly gratifying about this is he’s not a God-given great athletes. He earned this through hard work.
“He’s not the fastest kid on the field, but he was always near the play to either make it or assist and he never quit on a play; not once,” Cole continued. “Here’s a kid who simply loved to play every down of every game and it showed on the field.”
Cole said Sponaugle will also leave as one of the best H-backs, or upbacks, he’s ever been around. In the Indians’ running game that’s critical.
“First, he had to play both ways and he exceeded everyone’s expectations. Second, we haven’t had an upback like that in a long time,” said Cole. “On defense, it was great to rely on a guy who went up against guys from Robert C. Byrd, Fairmont Senior, Bluefield and others that were just so much bigger physically and he never backed down. On top of not backing down, he also would make plays. He’s a prime example of the reward you get for hard work and effort.”
Bridgeport’s lone second team selection is an underclassmen. Junior Trey Pancake was chosen as a linebacker.
“He was a lot like the rest of the team in that I didn’t see him playing to his potential early. As the season went along he just became a force,” said Cole. “The talent is there and once he was full throttle on defense and offense he was a difference maker.
“Trey was versatile in that we played him at the Mike and we played him outside,” Cole continued. “He was also big with our offense being productive at fullback. The thing with Trey is that if works hard this offseason he has the potential to have not just a good senior year, but a stellar senior year. It’s up to him.”
Pancake was the Indians’ third leading tackler. He finished the year with 67 stops with six tackles for loss and one and a half sacks. He also led the team with three forced fumbles and three recovered fumbles.
Bridgeport had two players earn special honorable mention. Bridgeport’s leading receiver, backup tailback, punt and kickoff returner, and defensive back senior D’Andre Holloway was in that category. Cody Spring, who battled injury, was a two-way force for the Tribe as a force in stopping the run and opening holes for the run during his senior year.
Two juniors were named to honorable mention. Defensive lineman Michael Watkins and linebacker – and team’s leading tackler- Carson Winkie, who also saw time at end on offense were chosen.
The entire list of selections can be found below.
QB – Connor Neal, Fairmont Senior, Sr. (captain)
WR – Drew Hatfield, Mingo Central, Jr.
WR – Abe Farrow, Oak Hill, Sr.
RB – Jake Bowen, Bridgeport, Sr.
RB – Ghovan Davidson, Robert C. Byrd, Sr.
RB – Donavan Kirby, Weir, Sr.
RB – Ethan Payne, Poca, So.
OL – Zach Frazier, Fairmont Senior, Jr.
OL – Robert Arnold, Robert C. Byrd, Sr.
OL – Jacob Huff, Winfield, Sr.
OL – Mason Walker, Bluefield, Sr.
OL – Will Dean, Nitro, Sr.
K – Kaulin Parris, Bluefield, Jr.
UTIL - Jacob Hartman, Petersburg, Sr.
UTIL - Will Hackney, Sissonville, Sr.
DL – Sean Martin, Bluefield, So.
DL – Austin Sponaugle, Bridgeport, Sr.
DL – Terymykal Alexander, Shady Spring, Sr.
DL – Tyler Komorowski, Weir, Sr.
LB – Daniel Romans, Elkins, Sr.
LB – Hunter Moore, Lincoln, Sr.
LB – Mike Bartram, Wayne, Sr.
LB – Arnold Martin, Bluefield, Sr.
LB – Jared Sagraves, Nicholas County, Sr.
DB – Bronson Skeens, Poca, Sr.
DB – Juice Edwards, Bluefield, Sr. (captain)
DB – Elijah Posey, Fairmont Senior, Sr.
UTIL – Sebastian Spencer, Weir, Sr.
UTIL – Rhett Heston, Fairmont Senior, Sr.
P/UTIL – Cason Payne, Point Pleasant, Sr.
QB – Daylin Goad, Mingo Central, So.
WR – Jake Pitman, Fairmont Senior, Sr.
WR – Mayson Miller, Sissonville, Sr.
WR – Luke LeRose, Nicholas County, Jr.
RB – J.J. Davis, Bluefield, Jr.
RB – Evan Rose, PikeView, Sr. (captain)
RB – Desmond Fluharty, North Marion, Sr.
OL – Deiyantei Powell-Woods, Bluefield, Sr.
OL - Magnus Sheets, Fairmont Senior, Sr.
OL - Trevon Franklin, Point Pleasant, Sr.
OL - Nathan Pettus, Bluefield, Sr.
OL – Johnny Adkins, Wayne, Sr.
K – Jared Griffith, Lewis County, Jr.
UTIL – Khori Bass, Oak Hill, Sr.
UTIL - Zach Taylor, Oak Glen, Jr.
DL – Don Woodworth, Keyser, Jr. (captain)
DL – Jaden Marino, Robert C. Byrd, Sr.
DL – Colton Groves, Nicholas County, Jr.
LB – Ben Kee, Herbert Hoover, Jr.
LB – Seth Whitt, Chapmanville, Sr.
LB – Jacob O’Dell, Nicholas County, Sr.
LB – Trey Pancake, Bridgeport, Jr.
DB – Freddie Dawson, River View, Jr.
DB – Monroe Mohler, James Monroe, Jr.
DB – Reggie Redman, Keyser, Sr.
DB – Josh Wamsley, Point Pleasant, Sr.
UTIL – Chucky Felder, Logan, Sr.
UTIL – Owen McClanahan, Poca, Jr.
UTIL – Dalton Pollock, Frankfort, Sr.
P/UTIL – Reed Reitter, Weir, Sr.
Special Honorable Mention
Brady Adkins, Point Pleasant; Caleb Bish, Grafton; Caleb Bower, Wyoming East; Tyler Bragg, Shady Spring; Niko Burgess, Independence; Devon Burris, Point Pleasant; Danny Bush, Roane County; Haven Chapman, Shady Spring; Nick Chaney, Oak Glen; Jaden Clarkson, James Monroe; Brady Clay, Keyser; Chase Collier, Philip Barbour; Nick Collier, Chapmanville; John Covert, Winfield; Joel Cruickshanks, Clay County; Andrew Deal, Nicholas County; Isaac Dean, Wayne; Breeden Gilbert, Fairmont Senior; Michael Hall, Logan; D’Andre Hollaway, Bridgeport; Travis Honaker, Oak Hill; Colton Hovermale, Lincoln; Isaiah Johnson, Bluefield; Jacob Justice, River View; Jeremiah King, Robert C. Byrd; Nate Kowalski, Fairmont Senior; Nic Kuhn, Lewis County; Dalton Malcomb, North Marion; Shawntez Matthews, Logan; Jake McCoy, Weir; Seth McKinney, Liberty; Dakota Meadows, Poca; Ryan Metzgar, Lewis County; Gage Michael, Fairmont Senior; Doug Morral, Petersburg; Blake Moore, Grafton; Cody Moore, James Monroe; Drake Mullins, Bluefield; Brock Muncy, Man; Tanner Owens, Wayne; Phil Oxley, Chapmanville; Exavier Posey, Fairmont Senior; Jarrad Price, Lincoln County; Jaden Rollyson, Liberty Harrison; Gavin Shamblin, Sissonville; Aiden Slusser, East Fairmont; Ryan Shoemaker, Keyser; JD Smith, Fairmont Senior; Cody Spring, Bridgeport; Matt Stone, Poca; Austin Storey, Elkins; Ethan Travis, Oak Glen; Tanner Walls, Lincoln County; Hunter Williams, Independence; Tyce Wisnewski, Petersburg; Caleb Wynn, Clay County.
Connor Adams, Oak Glen; Josh Atwood, Chapmanville; Nate Barth, Point Pleasant; Chase Berry, Chapmanville; Erick Bevil, Shady Spring; Ronnell Blevins, Bluefield; Chase Brown, Winfield; Daniel Browning, Man; Chance Burdette, Elkins; Trevor Cayton, Grafton; Jacob Clevenger, North Marion; Nathan Clifton, Fairmont Senior; Garrett Conaway, North Marion; David Blanco, Frankfort; Zhantei Calloway, Nitro; Jay Cook, Poca; Seth Davis, Liberty Harrison; Damien Gonzales, Philip Barbour; Nathan Gordon, Liberty Raleigh; Erick Grimmett, Man; Gabe Hall, Point Pleasant; Aaron Harmon, Shady Spring; Gunner Harmon, Wayne; Payton Hawkins, Lincoln; Marshall Hobbs, Lewis County; Josh Huffman, Roane County; Cole Hughart, Sissonville; Josh Jackson, Oak Hill; Colton Kennedy, River View; Michael Lemley, Oak Glen; Jaylon Lewis, James Monroe; Camden Longwell, Fairmont Senior; Xavier Lopez, Robert C. Byrd; Nick Marley, Frankfort; Jonathan Massie, Grafton; Devon Matzdorff, Wayne; Carson McComas, Lincoln County; Seth McIntyre, Liberty Harrison; Hayden Miller, Independence; Sam Milton, Man; Billy Mitchem, Mingo Central; Jansen Moreland, Frankfort; Alex Oates, Keyser; Dominick Owens, Fairmont Senior; Toni Ovalle, Oak Hill; Lance Payton, Fairmont Senior; Jacob Perry, Keyser; Grant Postlethwait, East Fairmont; Logan Price, PikeView; Austin Ray, Mingo Central; Dalton Roberts, River View; Brock Robey, Robert C. Byrd; Dakota Rohrbaugh, Petersburg; Peyton Sindledecker, Petersburg; Trenton Sorah, Scott; Zach Spencer, Herbert Hoover; Andrew Sponaugle, Robert C. Byrd; Michael Starkey, Roane County; Deacon Stearns, Liberty Harrison; Andrew Stutler, Clay County; Thomas Talkington, Elkins; Dillon Taylor, Poca; Johnny Trail, Winfield; Robbie Valenti, Weir; Michael Watkins, Bridgeport;Hunter Watts, Wayne; Carson Winkie, Bridgeport; Devin Hatfield, Mingo Central; Dougie Dillon, Mingo Central; Chandler Cooper, Bluefield.