Gavin Lochow enjoyed an outstanding junior season for Huntington High School’s football team in 2021.
The Highlanders finished 13-1 and came within one victory of capturing the program’s first state championship.
Yet for all of Lochow’s success last season — and there was plenty of it, as evidenced by him being a Class AAA first-team all-state selection and the recipient of the J.R. House Award — it’s the finale that’s most been on his mind since the Highlanders fell short in the title game on the first Saturday in December.
Martinsburg had its way to the tune of a 62-21 victory against Huntington and the Bulldogs set a Super Six record in the process by intercepting Lochow five times in the convincing win.
“It gives me a lot of motivation,” Lochow said. “I lean on it as something to learn from and learn how to improve from it. It was a rough last game, but it’s something we can learn from and it’s definitely motivating all of us.”
It’s been Lochow’s driving force during a busy offseason ahead of his senior season. The signal caller has kept busy at college camps and has already made appearances at Wofford, Youngstown State, Davidson, East Tennessee State, Dayton, Brown and Harvard.
Davidson and Dayton have offered him, giving the Highlanders’ quarterback two out-of-state offers to go with a pair of Division II offers from Charleston and West Virginia State.
“Not only do they get to work with me, but I get to work with them and see if I could myself playing for one of those coaches,” Lochow said of his experience at college camps. “Film only tells you so much, so this way they can see me in person. It’s a great experience to see what their team is like and how they coach.”
A few schools have hinted an offer could await Lochow pending his performance early in the 2022 season. For now, Davidson and Dayton, where his dad Steve played linebacker, are atop Lochow’s list of potential colleges.
“I loved everything about both schools and both coaches,” Lochow said. “I could see myself playing at both places and I felt at home at both places.”
Lochow plays only quarterback for the Highlanders, and became the first player in Huntington history to surpass 1,000 passing and rushing yards in a season as a junior. He threw for 1,952 yards and 19 scores while completing 125-of-207 passes and added 1,677 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on 254 carries.
“I would like to play quarterback in college,” Lochow said. “Some of the coaches have told me that I could come in as an athlete and get a look at different positions. Some have said they’d want me as a quarterback, but that option is available.”
Lochow thrived throwing long balls last season, and thus has devoted more attention in the offseason to in-between range passes.
“There’s been a few things I’ve worked on technique wise with my footwork and stuff,” he said. “I’ve really tried fixing that up. Arm slot angle wise, they liked it, but i’ve been trying to work more 15 to 20-yard passes. Last year, I was good throwing the deep ball, but had some trouble with intermediate range passes. That’s really what i’ve been working on.”
Lochow has also worked on enhancing his leadership qualities in his final season at Huntington.
“You can’t be a quarterback without being a leader,” he said. “This year, I’m trying to be more vocal. I try to work hard every day and try to give 110 percent effort so that the guys can follow. If not, I’ll let them know they need to work harder.”
Lochow and the Highlanders should benefit from the addition of South Charleston transfer Wayne Harris, a second-team all-state wideout last season as a sophomore.
Harris, also an all-state caliber basketball player, makes up for what he lacks in size with his speed, shiftiness and pass-catching ability.
“As soon as he came here, I was throwing him passes and he was making catches that were amazing and left me shocked,” Lochow said. “He’s super quick and an incredible athlete. He’ll be a huge help and not just him, because we have some younger guys coming up and we have a lot of guys that’ll make plays.”