RIDGELEY, W.Va. — In Kevin Whiteman’s short tenure at Frankfort, he has built the Falcons into a consistent playoff contender, making the postseason in three of his five years at the helm.
In each appearance, they have won at least one playoff game, advancing to the state semifinals in 2009.
“When I took over, I said there’s no excuse we can’t be a playoff team every year and we want to advance in the playoffs once we get there,” he said.
Despite having one of the lower Class AA enrollments, the Falcons have consistently competed with larger Class AA schools in their area like Keyser and Berkeley Springs.
“We’re kind of against the eight ball because the size of our school is at the lower end of Class AA,” Whiteman said. “There are schools that have 200 or 300 more kids in their school than we do. Out of 200 or 300 more kids, you’re going to get a good handful of good, athletic football players. I’m not making excuses because I think we do a good job with what we have, but those bigger schools have more to pick from.”
But Whiteman has planted in his players’ mind what it takes to contend for the playoffs each year.
“To me, it’s an honor to be one of the 16 teams that make it,” he said. “It’s not a easy feat. The kids have to work in the weight room — mainly in the off-season. You have to a good, disciplined program on and off the field.”
Still, Whiteman noted his program still has a ways to go to bridge the gap with the perennial Class AA title contenders.
“I know Keyser and Wayne are going to be good again this year and be very dominating teams,“ he said. “They will be hard to contend with. It’s amazing to see how some of these Class AA programs have advanced.”
Keyser will headline a demanding slate for the Falcons in 2013.
“They have an established program,” Whiteman said. “They played for the state championship last year. That’s a real big game for us. It might sound crazy, but Moorefield, a Class A team, is a big game for us.
“They had all those state championship years,” Whiteman continued. “Even now, they haven’t won a state championship for a while, they are still a playoff team. They look to Frankfort as a team they want to beat and we’re always in a dog fight with Moorefield every year.”
With second team all-state quarterback Gage Shaffer under center for Whiteman’s squad, there’s belief the Falcons will contend with every opponent on their schedule.
Frankfort also returns a tandem of solid running backs in Brady Watson and Cole Smith. And Watson is the centerpiece of not just the running game, but the team as a whole.
“He’s like a little pitbull,” Whiteman said. “He’s a very determined football player. You wish you could get every kid in every football program to work as hard as he does.”
Other players to watch for Frankfort will be offensive lineman Hunter Flanagan and receivers Trent Hamilton and Tyler Crock.
“These kids have started and they’ve been to the playoffs,” Whiteman said. “When you have a nucleus of six or seven kids coming back, it’s going to help your program.”
However, the Falcons do lack an experienced offensive line as they lost four of their five starters from last year’s 8-2 squad.
“We feel our biggest need to work on is our linemen on both sides of the ball,” Whiteman said. “If we can develop a line, then I think we will be a good team, a playoff team.”
2013 Football Schedule
|1||08/30/13 07:00PM||H||NORTH MARION||–|
|4||09/20/13 07:00PM||H||BERKELEY SPRINGS||–|
|5||09/27/13 07:00PM||A||NORTHERN GARRETT, MD H.S.||–|
|6||10/04/13 07:00PM||H||MOUNTAIN RIDGE, MD H.S.||–|
|7||10/11/13 07:00PM||H||FAIRMONT SENIOR||–|
– Wes McKinney