MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Eight weeks remain on the calendar until the 2020 high school football season is scheduled to begin. 66 teams did not qualify for the postseason last fall. Here’s a look at some of the non-playoff teams who may be best setup for success this season.
Morgantown (3-7 in 2019)
- New head coach Sean Biser arrived from Keyser after leading the Golden Tornado to fourteen playoff appearances in sixteen years.
- Senior quarterback Gunner Lattimore (1,309 yds. of offense, 9 TD) returns.
- Senior running back Deondre Crudup finished second of the team last year with six rushing touchdowns. He is also the team’s leading returner in tackles (73).
- Senior kicker John McConnell (4-6 FG, 31-31 PAT, 36.4 punt average) has verbally committed to Marshall.
- Critical game – vs. University (3-7) on Oct. 30.
University (3-7 in 2019)
- The Hawks are coming off just their second losing season in the last 25 years. A pair of one-point losses (13-12 at Albert Gallatin, Pa. & 20-19 at Preston) denied University a postseason spot.
- Sophomore quarterback Chase Edwards (649 passing yards, 4 total TD) returns after a year in the starting spot.
- Second-leading rusher Eliki Barner (47 rush, 214 yds., 3 TD) returns.
- Team leader in interceptions Jaeden Hammack (5) is back.
- Critical game – vs. Preston (4-7) on Oct. 23.
Clay County (7-2 in 2019)
- In a highly competitive Class AA playoff field, the Panthers missed out on the postseason despite finishing five games above .500. Clay closed the season on a four-game win streak.
- Senior quarterback Grant Krajeski (2,367 yards, 30 TD) and senior running back Elijah Payton (1,307 yards, 9 TD) return.
- Critical game – vs. Nitro (4-6) on Oct. 9.
Independence (6-4 in 2019)
- The Patriots were one of six Class AA teams with winning records that did not qualify for the postseason.
- Junior running back Atticus Goodson returns after accounting for 2,321 total yards from scrimmage with 27 touchdowns.
- Critical game – vs. Midland Trail (6-5) on Oct. 9.
Point Pleasant (4-4 in 2019)
- For the first time since 2017, Point Pleasant is back up to a ten-game regular season schedule. The Big Blacks’ eleven-year playoff streak ended last fall, in part for having a game canceled in the middle of the season.
- Point closed the 2019 season with three consecutive victories, including a 7-0 triumph over a playoff team in Man.
- Hunter Bush (476 passing yards) returns.
- Critical game – vs. Keyser (10-2) on Oct. 9. It is the only home game in a five-week stretch.
Robert C. Byrd (5-5 in 2019):
- One of the state’s leading rushers in junior Jeremiah King (201 rush, 2,032 yards, 23 TD) is back to pace the Flying Eagles.
- Xavier Lopez returns for his fourth year as the starting quarterback. He was limited to four games last year due to injury.
- RCB has qualified for the postseason in 16 of their 24 seasons.
- Critical game – vs. Lewis County (7-4) on Oct. 2 (third of four consecutive games vs. 2019 playoff opponents).
- Buffalo won three of their last four games to close the season (lone loss was a 7-6 defeat vs. Midland Trail). Despite their winning record, the Bison were one of five Class A teams to miss the playoffs with six wins.
- Senior quarterback Jackson England (820 passing yards, 9 TD) and leading receiver Dalton Jones return.
- Critical game – vs. Man (8-3) on Oct. 2.
- The Cee-Bees must replace an impressive senior class led by running back Sean Hays (122 points scored).
- Clay-Battelle hasn’t had a losing season since 2010, but they haven’t qualified for the playoffs since advancing to the Class A semifinals in 2014.
- Critical game – vs. Tygarts Valley (7-4) on Sept. 25.
Mount View (4-6)
- The Golden Knights advanced to the Class A quarterfinals in 2018 and they welcome back third-year starting quarterback Jesse Rose.
- Mount View will open its new, on-campus stadium in the third week of the season.
- Critical game – vs. Greenbrier West (10-2) on Nov. 6.