Running backs like Jalen Jones don’t come around too often.
Neither does an all-around player like Chase Hancock.
Jones who ran for over 1,600 yards for Oak Hill, was named to the Class AAA all-state first team, announced today by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
“Jalen’s not getting anything he doesn’t deserve,” said Eddie Souk, who coached him at both Oak Hill and Mount Hope high schools. “He’s got speed, and he’s got vision. He sees things before they happen. Some people have it and some don’t. He’s got it.”
Hancock, who did everything but sell popcorn at Woodrow, is on the all-state second team as a defensive back.
“Chase is the definition of a team player,” coach John H. Lilly said. “He played everything and responded well.”
Jones had a banner year despite a high ankle sprain at midseason. He rushed 221 times for 1,647 yards and 21 touchdowns.
“We didn’t want him to play, but he wanted to, and we put him out there as a decoy. He said he would draw people to him,” Souk recalled. “But if a hole was there, he’d run straight up and take what he could get.
“As the season went on, he got back to where he was at. His numbers showed that. He made the most of it.”
Hancock had to play all over the field because of injuries to other players.
“We got into a heavy injury bug and used him where he was needed,” Lilly said. “He never complained.”
Hancock was second in team tackles with 85, including 49 solos. He had seven interceptions.
Just as impressive on the offensive side of the ball, Hancock carried 96 times for 563 yards and eight touchdowns. He had 35 pass receptions for 489 yards and five TDs, and he accumulated 1,558 all-purpose yards.
“Our last game we had all three quarterbacks out injured, so we moved Chase there and he throws for almost a hundred yards, runs for over a hundred and scored three touchdowns. He also intercepted three passes,” Lilly said. “What else do you have to do?”
Jones was considered a player of the year candidate before he was injured. Although not the biggest back (5-foot-7, 160 pounds) around, he was a legitimate threat to score on every play.
“Jalen had some God-given talent, and he’s honed his trade as he’s grown up,” Souk said. “He worked on his speed move and some cuts that made him a better back.
“He also became a pretty good leader for us. “We’re glad we had him on our team.”
n n n
Rewind to 2010.
To say that Wheeling Park coach Chris Daugherty was less than impressed when freshman Zach Phillips showed up on the scene would be a major understatement. Phillips came in at a scrawny 117 pounds.
He split time during that preseason getting minimum reps with another freshman quarterback, the more brawny Matt Hackathorn.
Fast forward to 2013.
Both Phillips and Hackathorn have earned first-team all-state honors, Phillips is at quarterback and Hackathorn on the offensive line.
“We weren’t really sure what we were going to do in the future (at quarterback) but we could see very quickly that, despite how small Zach was, he showed great poise, great leadership and an outstanding knowledge of the game,” Daugherty said. “That he has come this far is a credit to Zach. He got in the weightroom. He got bigger, and he worked at the position.”
Phillips, now a 6-2, 180-pound college prospect, completed 116 of 189 passes for 1,974 yards with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Hackathorn went from a quarterback to an offensive tackle, not a traditional position switch. These days, he is a 6-5, 255, college prospect.
“A lot of the coaches rave about his foot work, how fast he is for an offensive lineman,” Daugherty said. “That comes from starting his career as a quarterback.”
Morgantown running back Chazzy Thomas is captain of the first-team offense.
Despite getting injured in the eighth week of the season, Thomas finished with 2,108 yards on just 174 carries (12.1 yards per carry) and scored 30 touchdowns.
He was limited to three carries in the Mohigans’ first-round playoff loss to University.
Oak Hill’s Jones and Capital junior Kashuan Haley (218-1,637-21) join Thomas in the backfield.
Along the offensive line joining Hackathorn are Cabell Midland’s Cody Ballengee (6-0, 245 pounds), George Washington’s David Smith (6-5, 300), Spring Valley’s Trevor Stacy (6-5, 290) and Morgantown’s Stone Wolfley (6-4, 238).
Receivers are Kendell Smith of Washington (63, 1,034 yards and 12 touchdowns) and Ripley’s Kade Harrison (44-988-11).
Shifty Martinsburg dual-threat quarterback Malique Watkins in the offensive utility player (232-1,790-20 rushing and 62 of 105 passes for 934 yards and 15 TDs) and Jefferson’s Hunter Colbert is the kicker after booting eight field goals and 25 PATs in the Cougars’ 10-game regular season.
Defensively, Nigel Cabell of Huntington, Tony Richardson University, James Walton of Capital, the Hunt Award winner as the state’s top lineman and Troy Walker, son of Martinsburg Coach Dave Walker, are the defensive linemen.
The linebackers include John Marshall’s Trevor Hardesty, Huntington’s Greg May, University’s Jack Armstrong and defensive captain and Huff Award winner Geremy Paige of Wheeling Park.
Paige, a senior, amassed 156 tackles, 12 sacks and two fumble recoveries for Park.
The Huntington duo of Clark Wilson and Nick Tubbs joins Lewis County’s Brandon Moneypenny and University’s Jack Armstrong as defensive backs and Hurricane’s Zach Pate is the defensive utility player. Parkersburg’s Kyle Foster is the punter.
— Dave Morrison of the
Wheeling Intelligencer and
Dan Stillwell of The Register-Herald contributed to this story
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