MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Larry Thompson engineered one of the best statewide stories of the 2018 football season, guiding Mount View to their fourth double-digit win season in program history. The Golden Knights went 10-2 and advanced to the Class A quarterfinals, falling to eventual state runner-up Williamstown.
MVHS climbed to the top of the SSAC ratings midway through the season and they entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed.
In January, Thompson accepted the head coaching position at Wyoming East. The Warriors are four years removed from their last postseason appearance and they are coming off back-to-back two-win seasons.
“I enjoy rebuilding programs,” Thompson said. “There’s a lot of buzz going around, and with buzz comes excitement and pressure. But I live for that. It is why I enjoy coaching the game of football.”
With an entire offseason to instill the building blocks of the program, Thompson has been encouraged with the results from the recent three-week summer practice window.
“We competed on a daily basis. We got better during the three weeks. For me, we are still trying to build a program and develop a relationship with the community, the parents and the kids.”
“Working on the pass game all the way through June really helped them. We will get into the run game and into the power game once we get back on the field in August.”
Thompson plans to tailor his offensive and defensive concepts to the strengths of the returning players.
“I like to coach towards the personnel I have. With the being said, the personnel I have at Wyoming East is almost identical to, if not a little bit deeper than what I had at Mount View. I had some special players over there (at Mount View) and I have some special players here. I think we can spread the ball out. I think we can run the ball when we need to and I think we can do a lot of misdirection as well.”
The Warriors will feature a large senior class when they take the field this fall. It is a group led in part by Tanner Jenkins, Clay Lester, Alex Hall, Jacob Bishop and Caden Lookabill.
“We have a very large senior class coming up. Those kids have been playing since they were freshmen. I made it very clear that no one has a starting spot and these kids came to compete everyday.”
The offense will be led by senior signal caller Seth Ross. He passed for 830 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
“I have known Ross for a few years. I have coached basketball at Wyoming East for two years. Even on the basketball court, we have talked football. He has a very good understanding of the game. He understands coverages real well. He is a very smart kid on and off the field. He is a great leader and the kids look up to him.”
The Warriors also return their leading rusher in junior Caleb Bower. He found the end zone 13 times and rushed for 1,290 yards.
“Caleb is obviously the frontrunner. He is probably the strongest skill player in the state. I mean that when I say it. The kid is a freak. If we keep him healthy, the kid will be a force.”
Larry Thompson led Mount View to a 10-win season in 2018.
The 29-year-old Thompson played his college ball at Concord University. He admits it was difficult to leave Mount View but is excited to see what the Golden Knights can do this fall with a strong core group of players returning in Welch.
“It was very hard for me to leave. I built a strong bond with the community. I tried to leave Mount View in good hands and I wish them success going forward. They have dominant kids coming back this year and I think they are going to make a run.”
In a unique scheduling quirk, Wyoming East will have their bye week in week one. Their previous opening week opponent, Fayetteville, closed after consolidation. Essentially, the Warriors preseason training camp will be extended by a week.
“There’s pros and cons to it. I love the extra week of work. But at the same time, that first week of football, everybody wants to gear up and play underneath those Friday night lights.”
As the Warriors seek their first winning season since 2014, Thompson will also focus on creating a foundation for success in future seasons.
“Not only are we trying to make a run this year, we are trying to build a program. That’s exactly what we are going to do, starting from the ground up. I am not guaranteeing any type of record or any type of championship but I am guaranteeing that the effort will be there every single play and every single night.”