— Story by Taylor Kennedy
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – After making the playoffs three of the last four years, the Winfield Generals are ready for the challenges next season brings. The Generals go into next season searching for players to fill big shoes.
“Hunter Morris, last year, was a nice playmaker for us. Nick Vance rushed for 1,500 yards and threw for 1,600 yards.” said Winfield head football coach Craig Snyder.
Despite losing Morris and Vance, Snyder still likes what he sees from rising senior John Covert. “John is just a heck of a football player. John is really a better linebacker than he is an offensive player. I think he can play at the next level,” said Snyder.
Along with Covert, Snyder has a group of experienced guys that know what it takes to get to the football playoffs. Winfield made the playoffs last season as a No. 16 seed and lost to top-seeded Fairmont Senior in the first round. Snyder remains optimistic about the group of guys he has coming back next season.
“I think we’re a perennial playoff team in AA,” said Snyder.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, it has been challenging for some teams to stay connected digitally. Different teams are connecting with one another via Zoom, group text messages, and different social platforms. Snyder has been connecting with his team on a weekly basis.
“I know a lot of people do Zoom meetings. I just do weekly group texts. I would reach out to the guys and say ‘Hey this is going on’ or ‘this isn’t going on.’ A lot of it was ‘How are you? Hope you are doing well. If you need me, reach out.’ Some guys would reach out to me individually. I created different group messages per class,” said Snyder.
Snyder and his coaching staff have been providing different workouts that their players can do to stay in football shape. Those different workouts have led some of Winfield’s players to take initiative and workout on their own. That drive to get better has not gone unnoticed by Snyder.
“I think it is very important, especially in a time like this. I think the key is staying busy, and feeling like you are still setting personal goals,” said Snyder.
Whenever the team got together for the first time this summer, Snyder saw that his players did more strength and lifting exercises than conditioning.
“What I found out last week was a lot of them were lifting, but a lot of them were not doing conditioning. We could have done the hour, but it was like 45 minutes. We did a mini CrossFit and some gradual build up in running just to move them around. They were hurting bad,” said Snyder.
The Generals will continue to grow and find answers going into the three phase process. It will be hard for some schools, including Winfield, to try and get as much information, activities, and protocol in the required time frame.
Winfield will begin next season at home against county rival Hurricane on August 28.