(WTRF) — After winning seven straight to close the regular season, Wheeling Park had their hopes of a strong playoff run end due to the COVID map.

Scott Nolte says the Patriots are focused on making up for that in 2021.

For the seniors on this year’s team, the way last season ended was motivation for them to prepare for this year. 

” Makes me want to grind all summer and grind all year just to get out there and do good in the playoffs and try to redeem what we could have done last year.” 

Nate Shelek

” All of the guys out here were it, it was a shame how we ended last year I feel like it was pages just ripped right out of our book.”

Hunter Nixon

 There is a lot of excitement and focus for this team the replace every starter on the offensive side of the ball. 

” That doesn’t mean we don’t have good kids but green is green and it’s going to take them a while and as much experience we can get were going to take.”

Chris Daugherty

As Doc says the talent is there but inexperienced. Junior Brett Phillips will take over at quarterback. Seniors Brandon Mundy, Hunter Nixon and junior Max Wiley will carry the ball. At receiver sophomore Jerrae Hawkins will lineup in the slot he had an outstanding freshman season on the track finishing second in both the 100 and 200 in the state meet. Also at receiver fellow Stephens, juniors Will James, and Isaih Zelaski, Christian Bryan and senior Nate Shelek.

Along the line they have senior Merrick Miller at center, Hogan Webb and Hayden Lewis at tackle with Zane Ackley, Zach Parsons and Evan VanSickle at tackle. 

” They are going to have to shake that young mentality but we do think we’ve got some good kids it’s just a matter of getting out there and letting them make mistakes and fixing those mistakes.

Chris Daugherty

 Defensively, it’s a different story as they return several starters. Along the line they have seniors Devon Rayford at tackle and defensive end Jacob Stewart, senior Brady Hupp will join them at nose guard. At linebacker they return seniors Colton Thomas, Trevor Howell and Nixon along with junior Erick Brothers summer competing in national wrestling tournaments. Shelek returns at free safety. Zelaski, James, Bryan, Hawkins and Brayden Lewis will all play in the defensive backfield. 

Park opens their season when they visit St. Clairsville Friday.