WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Wheeling Park has made the playoffs a school-record eight straight years and with the players they have returning for the 2019 football season, the Patriots are trying to push that to nine.
Entering his 11th season as Wheeling Park’s head coach football, Chris Daugherty is excited about his team and their potential but also knows they face a tough road during the regular-season.
“Were going to have to show up each week,” said Coach Daugherty. “It’s not going to be a tough game and then off. We’re going to have to be able to play every Friday.”
One thing that will help is the return of senior Quarterback Alex Dunlevy, who threw for nearly 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior while also rushing for 456 yards and seven more scores.
“He (Dunlevy) put work in the offseason,” said Coach Daugherty. “He didn’t rest on that junior year. He’s gotten better, you know. I’m really happy with that and any time you return your quarterback, your returning the brains of your offense.”
Also returning for the Patriots in the backfield are seniors Kenya Robinson, who rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and nine TDs, and Raphael Bradley, who had 768 yards and five scores.
Junior Stevie Mitchell, who finished with 547 yards and seven touchdowns will return to the backfield and will also see some time as a slot Receiver.
The only returning Receiver is senior Xavier Morris, who had five touchdown catches as a junior.
Juniors Shaheed Jackson , Carson Namack, Nate Harriston, Sincere Sinclair and Torrence Walker will also figure into the passing game.
However, the key will be the offensive line as Coach Daugherty looks to replace all five starters from last season.
Juniors Caleb Bryan, Jack Saines and Qwentin Hibbitts along with seniors Tim McCabe and John Olako will look to fill that void.
“Been happy with their progress,” said Coach Daughterty. “Been happy with the guys that are out there right now. They’re new and so, everyday they’re getting a little bit better.”
Defensively, the Patriots will make a switch this year to the 3-5 stack defense.
Along the line, they return seniors Dustin Van Sickle, Matthew Reinacher and McCabe.
Senior Brandon Brown returns at Inside Linebacker, while senior Aden Edgmon moves from end to Inside linebacker.
With seniors Andrew Shelek and Seth Wood at Outside Linebacker. Sophomore’s Hunter Nixon and Colt Thomas will also see action at Linebcker.
Sinclair returns at Free Safety and Jackson at Corner with Walker and sophomore Nate Shelek also in the defensive backfield.
“We got to go out and see if we’re physical enough and make sure we can hold up to the demand inside the box,” said Coach Daugherty. “I think that those three guys on the down line are going to have a really good year but they got t go out and do that.
Wheeling Park gets its first chance to prove Coach Daugherty right August 30 when they host Brooke.