CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A.J. Harman has engineered five consecutive winning seasons as head coach of the Liberty Mountaineers and they have advanced to postseason play in three of the last four years. A 41-23 record in six seasons pushes the bar of expectations steadily higher on the west side of Clarksburg.
“It continues to show that hard work pays off,” Harman said. “Just getting there isn’t our goal. We want to get there and make some noise and compete for state championships at Liberty High School. Absolutely every year that we can get back into the playoffs is another step in the right direction.”
Last season, the Mountaineers clinched a playoff berth with a 21-8 win over North Marion in their regular season finale. A senior class of nine players secured the ninth postseason appearance in school history.
“That class had some good skill players. It is going to be hard to replace Noah Leggett, who was an outstanding quarterback. Seth McIntyre really elevated the toughness of our team on both sides of the ball. He is going to be hard to replace. Really every one of those seniors gave everything they had for four years. They left it all out here.”
Six weeks prior to the season opener, nearly the entire depth chart is up in the air. Seniors Sayveon Beafore and Nathan Ryan have the inside tracks on starting spots at running back and quarterback, respectively.
“Everybody is coming in on a level playing ground. It is going to come down to heart and toughness. Basically the toughest eleven guys we can put on the field that are going to be play in and play out guys that we can depend on. Every position is wide open right now. We don’t know who is going to be where.”
In a unique offseason, Harman is hoping his players can make up for lost time when school facilities were closed for nearly three months.
“The weight room for us is huge. It is kind of the cornerstone of our program. It has been what I attributed our success to over the past six years I have been here.”
Harman is confident that the Mountaineer program can continue to make strides with promising younger classes making their way to the varsity level.
“We’ve got a sophomore class we are really proud of. We have a freshman class coming in that is probably the best class we have had come in from a depth and a talent standpoint since I have been here. We are really excited about those two classes. When you match that with a deep senior class with fifteen seniors and juniors that are going to be starters for us, we are excited about where our program is right now.”