WHEELING, W.Va. — Fairmont Senior has dazzled and befuddled opposing defenses this year with a passing attack that has produced the top scoring offense in Class AA.
But in the state championship game vs. Bluefield, the Polar Bears rushed for 226 yards. And senior Breeden Gilbert ran itl 22 times for a game-high 115 yards and a touchdown.
“We are usually always a pass-first team, but tonight we were just handing the ball off to me and Rhett Heston,” Gilbert said.
“We were just getting the job done. Our coaching staff is definitely smart. They know when they have to change up what they do with their offense. And they’re good at it.”
Gilbert had missed half the season after suffering a knee injury in Fairmont’s Week 3 game at North Marion. Gilbert steadily received more carries in the latter stages of the postseason.
“That was a big-time performance by a big-time player,” said Fairmont Senior coach Nick Bartic.
“It is awesome because it is a senior season that he didn’t play the majority of it because of injury. He is able to come back an get a good playoff run and be the man in the championship game.”
“Five or six weeks in (to the injury), I felt like I knew I was ready to go,” Gilbert said. “But they were still wanting to hold me for precautionary reasons.”
Gilbert has only been a student at Fairmont Senior for about three and a half months. He transferred to the ‘Friendly City’ to be closer to his brother Bryson, a four-thousand yard rusher for the Polar Bears who now plays at Fairmont State.
When the game ended, Bryson was one of the first to congratulate his little brother at the fifty-yard line.
“It feels pretty good,” Gilbert said. “He’s excited. I know he wishes he could have gotten the same results out here.”