Bridgeport and Robert C. Byrd made their presence felt in the state football playoffs this season. The Class AA state champs and the Class AAA No. 8 Eagles continued that trend, taking the majority of the spots on the All-Harrison County team.
The squad was determined by staff writers in combination with four of the six Harrison County head coaches who returned ballots.
The Indians, which defeated Wayne, 14-6, for the state championship placed 12 members on the first team, while Robert C. Byrd, which fell to eventual state champion Morgantown, 18-9, in the quarterfinals, landed nine. In addition, Bridgeport coach Bruce Carey was named the coach of the year.
Heading the offensive unit is the county's and Big 10's leading rusher, Robert C. Byrd's Scott Ross. The senior tailback gained 1,379 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and 15 touchdowns. The three-year starter is the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,409 yards and helped lead the Eagles to a 28-7 overall record and playoff berths in each of his three seasons.
Joining Ross is Bridgeport's Brian Berry and South Harrison's Drew Toth. Berry was an integral part of the Indians' 14-0 season, gaining 1,224 yards and a county-best 20 TDs on just 198 carries (6.2 ypc.). Toth took over the tailback spot for the Hawks after playing at fullback the past two seasons. Despite missing two games, Toth rushed for 1,213 yards and 13 TDs and is the only back to gain more than 200 yards twice in a game.
At quarterback is Robert C. Byrd's Andy Wilhelm. A three-year starter, Wilhelm finished with 772 all-purpose yards and threw for five TDs.
His favorite target, tight end R.J. Coleman, is one of the first team ends along with Liberty's Chad Southern. Coleman, in his first varsity season, finished with 13 receptions for 375 yards for an average of 28.8 yards per catch and five TDs.
Southern is a repeat first-team selection, and led the Mountaineers with 252 yards and two TDs on 15 catches.
Bridgeport dominated the offensive line selections. The unit, which helped lead one of the state's most prolific rush attacks, placed center Mike Derosa, along with tackles Jason Reppert and Aaron Horne and guard Doug Harvey on the first team. South Harrison's Billy Johnson was the other member of the unit.
The kicker is Bridgeport's Tyler Dodd. Dodd led all area kickers with 75 points, connecting on 66 of 68 extra point attempts and three of five field goals.
Lincoln's Cody Wilt was named first team utility player for the second consecutive season after accounting for 752 yards and two TDs.
Defensively, a strong linebacking unit heads the first team.
Robert C. Byrd's Mookie Mayer, who was named the Big 10's co-player of the year, is joined by teammate Sam D'Annunzio and Bridgeport's Josh Nicewarner (73 tackles) and Joel Horne (67 tackles), who won Most Valuable Player in his team's state championship win. Notre Dame's Sam Madia was also selected to the unit.
Up front, Bridgeport's Tim Lindsey and Robert C. Byrd's Steve Otto are the team's defensive ends, while Liberty's Justin Sinnett, Robert C. Byrd's Mike Walker and Bridgeport's Darin Floyd make up the interior linemen.
Bridgeport's Mike Honce finished with eight interceptions and leads the first-team secondary. Teammate C.R. Rohrbough and Robert C. Byrd's George Shehl are the other two selections.
The final member of the 2000 all county team is Robert C. Byrd's Heath Frazier who was named the first-team punter, averaging over 37 yards per punt and just less than 40 during the postseason.
The Harrison County Player of the Year will be named at the Athlete of the Year banquet at the end of the school year.
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at email@example.com