CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Several teams advanced into the latter stages of the playoffs in 2020, only to see their season end by the COVID metrics map. Robert C. Byrd defeated Elkins 33-6 in the quarterfinals, and quickly saw the map turn against them, bringing their season to an untimely end with an 8-2 record. After initial disappointment, head coach Josh Gorrell hopes the squad can use that season as a building block for future success.
“It is disappointing on one level, but at the same time I am super-proud of that group of guys and what they accomplished,” Gorrell said. “I think it has made us a lot hungrier coming into this year. Our numbers have been tremendous in the weight room. The guys have really prepared well. I think that we are headed in the right direction. I think it really gave us a guiding step for what we are trying to do this year.”
“It was really tough to put all that work in and then have your season end without really losing,” said RCB senior lineman Trace Wagner. “It was a hard mental battle but it made us stronger and we are going to be even hungrier this year.”
RCB has enjoyed an impressive string of talented running backs over the last decade and senior Jeremiah King has already separated himself from the group. He became the school’s all-time leading rusher last season and is quickly closing in on the 5,000-yard mark. King accounted for 2,055 yards from scrimmage in ten games last fall with 24 touchdowns.
“I think he is explosive, strong and physically ready to take the punishment he is going to have to take this year to carry the football. He has exceeded what I thought he would do in the weight room by leaps and bounds. I am extremely pleased with his work ethic, his desire and how he has grabbed the leadership role and what he has done to get himself prepared,” Gorrell said.
“At the end of basketball season, I was 185 (pounds). Now I am 210, so I have gained 25,” King said. “I have put on a lot of weight and have gotten quicker.”
King will be joined in the backfield by a new quarterback. Four-year starter Xavier Lopez has moved on, leaving junior Nick George and senior Jaidan Willis to battle for the starting spot.
Gorrell is entering his eighth season as RCB’s head coach and says this year’s line could be one of his best groups. Bridgeport transfer Wyatt Minor joined the program and he’ll be surrounded by several returning starters.
“We’ve got Trace Wagner, Drew Paugh, Logan McCartney, Jonathan Arnold, Tristan Cumberledge, we’ve got guys. We are eight to nine deep up front,” Gorrell said.