FEATURED PHOTO OF REED WILLIAMS BY THE MOOREFIELD EXAMINER (2004)
Last season we had the honor of forming an official all-decade team for the 2010’s. It was an awesome moment in time where the present could reflect upon the past. Our anticipation was that it could bridge the gap between the stars of yesterday, the stars of today, and the stars of tomorrow. High school football is a magical thing filled with lore, debates, and stories. We have decided to dedicate every off-season to a new all-decade team.
The process for the 2000s was simple. We went out and selected eight coaches from each class to act as a voting committee. All coached for the majority of the decade or more AND each region is fairly represented: southeast (2), southwest (2), north/northwest (2), northern panhandle (1), and eastern panhandle (1). Coaches were provided a comprehensive ballot in which to rank all-staters from 2000-2009 based off high school performance, individual/team accomplishments, and some college/pro success. Players received more points for being ranked higher and the overall tally was created with the top vote getters earning a selection. The next three highest were awarded utility positions on both sides. Players who received votes for multiple positions were averaged out. The top three highest vote getters were awarded captain status.
*NOTE: to qualify for the all-decade team we decided a player needed to play two or more years within said decade. And, a player can only be on one all-decade team. Relevant to this team, Garin Justice (Gilbert – 1997-2000) will be on the 1990’s all-decade team. Dalton Brindo (Wirt County 2008-2011) has already been selected to the 2010’s team.
Class A 2000’s All-Decade Team
Sherman gets the nod as the top quarterback of the decade and the second highest receivers of votes. During his time at Moorefield, the Yellow Jackets made it to the state title game four straight seasons, winning two state titles while being one overtime loss away from a three-peat. Sherman was dynamic passer as he threw for over 4,000 yards as a junior and a senior. After 2003, few teams have ever challenged and defeated Wheeling Central as much as a Sherman-led Moorefield. He would go onto to play baseball at West Virginia State University.
Marion was the key contributor to one of the biggest turnarounds of the decade. As a junior, Mount Hope won only one game the season after coming off a semifinal appearance. In Marion’s senior year he led the entire state in rushing yards while taking the Mustangs to a 9-1 record. He tallied over 3,500 yards and 40 touchdowns in his final two seasons. Marion would spend some time playing for West Virginia University before finishing up at Concord University where he became an All-American defensive back.
Tracewell was the definition of an offensive machine. During his four years at Williamstown he tallied 4345 rushing yards, 1593 receiving yards, 1078 return yards, and 73 touchdowns. His numbers speak for themselves as one of the most elite do-it-all weapons in the history of Class A let alone the decade. Tracewell’s senior year was nearly perfect as Williamstown fell just short (20-18) to powerhouse Moorefield in the state title game. He would have a stint at the next level with Wittenberg University.
Joplin is contended to be the fastest Class A player of the 2000s. He is also noted to be one of the toughest and shiftiest runners in southern West Virginia history. Matewan found dozens of ways to get him the ball and he did the rest. His legend was cemented as a senior when he finished with 2,266 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns- nearly winning the 2001 Kennedy Award. He shattered all of Matewan’s rushing records and would play at the next level at UPike where he would set another slate of rushing records.
Henry tops the list of outside skill players for both sides after being the third highest vote getter. As both a receiver and defensive back, he possessed legitimate speed and playmaking ability. Through his career he would total several hundred receiving yards, handfuls of touchdowns, over 150 tackles and many interceptions. Henry would help lead the Maroon Knights to three straight state titles from 2004 to 2006.
As a sophomore and junior, Arlia helped lead the Blue Dons to two state title appearances where they fell heartbreakingly short. However, his senior year would be much different as he assumed larger roles on offense and as a renowned linebacker. The gritty playmaker was an area leader in yards and helped Madonna put on one of the best seasons in state history- finishing 14-0 while only allowing under four points per game. Arlia would go onto to earn a scholarship at West Virginia University before finishing his career at West Virginia Wesleyan and Kent State.
From 2001-2004 the Yellowjackets had one of the most captivating rushing offenses in the state. A good portion of this was due to excellent line play led by Braden Schaad. A fast-moving big man, Schaad’s ability on both sides saw Williamstown only have five losses in four years and one state championship appearance. Defensively, he recorded 259 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, and 12 sacks. He would go on to play for Marshall University.
Lafferty is the most decorated lineman of the decade. After a 2-8 freshman season, Lafferty’s prowess on both fronts saw Fayetteville to three straight seasons over nine wins and quarterfinal appearances. He would be a rare two-time Hunt Award (Stydahar) finalist while recording nearly 300 career tackles and 15 sacks. Lafferty accepted an offer to play at Fairmont State University.
Kesner comes into the lineup as one of the highest voted lineman of the 2000s. He captained an offensive line that dominated Class A and produced over 36 points per game three out of four seasons. His career was marked by a 1999 and 2001 state championship win. The Yellow Jackets would finish runner-up in 2000 and 2002. Kesner was a highly noted lineman from most of the committee.
Belt is the lone South Harrison representative on the team and his placement is well-deserved. With him on the front line, the Hawks put up their best season in over a decade. During Belt’s junior and senior year. they found themselves in the quarterfinals twice while boasting back-to-back 10-win seasons. He would go on to attend the Virginia Military Institute.
Evans finishes off the linemen group as one of the biggest and strongest players of the decade. With Evans punishing opposing lines, the Pirates collected three straight winning seasons. He also collected plenty of post-season accolades and next-level offers. Evans would choose to play at Marshall University where he would eventually start.
Tucker was a highly respected back during his time at Wheeling Central. He was the highest vote getter outside of the selected 11 and with good reason. With him playing virtually everywhere, the Maroon Knights would win three state titles with many dominant wins along the way. As a senior, Tucker tallied well over 2,000 rushing yards and helped raise the standard further for Wheeling Central backs.
Few have accomplished what Peluchette has. From 2004 to 2007, he won four straight titles with the Maroon Knights including going 28-0 as a junior and senior. He dominated as a dual threat quarterback with 3205 passing yards and 1368 rushing yards along with 24 touchdowns. No Class A since has achieved four rings. Peluchette would go on to play for West Virginia University.
The Crusader offense thrived with Black toting the rock. He rushed for over 2,100 yards while scoring 344 total points- leading West Virginia in scoring both as a junior and a senior. His strong running led Parkersburg Catholic to the quarterfinals as a senior as he was named all-state captain. Black would sign to play with Fairmont State where he was an all-conference linebacker.
Few defensive linemen at any level possess statistics nearly as incredible as Buttrey. His career 520 tackles, 53 tackles for loss, and 37 sacks helped the Yellowjackets reach the state championship three out of four years. They would never lose more than one game with Buttrey on the roster. His dominance and skill landed him an opportunity to stay in-state and play for the Mountaineers at West Virginia University.
Hill was revered as a force on the defensive side. As much as Moorefield’s offense boomed, their defense was equally impressive. With Hill on the front, the Yellowjackets reached Wheeling four consecutive years while winning two state championships. Hill would take his talents to the next level where he was an all-conference performer in the Mountain East Conference at Fairmont State University.
Before Matheny’s arrival Williamstown had lost several heartbreaking title games. As a freshman and sophomore this continued but with Matheny acting as a gritty line player on both sides, the Yellowjackets captured that elusive state title. With team success came individual success as the defensive lineman finished his career with 361 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 26 sacks, and four forced fumbles.
Perhaps the most unsurprising selection was Williams. He led votes by a wide margin and with good reason. As a Yellow Jacket, he averaged 130 tackles and 7.5 sacks per season over four years while also being a force at wide receiver. This incredible production helped lead Moorefield to two state titles and a scholarship at West Virginia University where he had a successful career- highlighted with winning the 2007 Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP.
Gordon was bigger than many of the linemen he faced and faster than lots of runningbacks. He was a punishing tackler that led the Maroon Knights to three state championships that included a 28-game win streak. He was apart of potentially the most dominant Class A team and defense in state history- finishing his career with 380 tackles, 19 sacks, 4 fumbles forced, and two interceptions. Gordon would go on to play at Robert Morris University.
As a sophomore and junior, Comis lost back-to-back state championships in agonizing fashion. However, as a senior, Comis’ play at linebacker allowed the Blue Dons to have one of the most impressive state title runs ever. They would finish 14-0 while allowing an incredible 3.1 points per game. With many stars on that Madonna team, Comis stood out to the coaches around the state as a sideline to sideline all-timer.
Contraguerro was another product of the Wheeling Central linebacker machine. Known for tenacious tackling and an ability to put pressure on the quarterback, the outstanding defender would win four state titles in his career. His impact was undoubted with 334 career tackles, 19 sacks, 8 fumbles forced, and 8 interceptions. After doing everything possible in high school, he would accept an opportunity to play at West Virginia University.
Smith was pivotal in the rise of Williamstown football. Before his arrival, the Yellowjackets only reached the postseason four times since 1960. He would lead them to four playoff appearances in his career including two semifinals and one state championship loss. Smith was a tenacious quarterback but was untouchable as a defensive back as he pulled down a state record 32 career interceptions including 15 in one season. He would go on to play collegiate baseball at Potomac State and West Virginia University.
Powell was the leading force in securing Williamstown’s first state championship after three straight losses in the title game. His speed and playmaking ability were entirely needed on both sides. During his career he totaled over 2,500 yards of offense and 35 touchdowns. Defensively, he brought down 15 interceptions including nine his senior year. A true ball hawk of the decade.
Nogay was one of the most versatile athletes of the decade. While playing multiple positions including quarterback and safety, he helped lead Madonna to three state title appearances including a legendary win in 2009. Named MVP in the title game, he finished his senior season with 40 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 4 fumbles. He would win multiple state championships as a senior in several sports before accepting a scholarship offer to West Virginia University in baseball where he had a noteworthy career.
Black gets onto the list as one of the earliest 2000s star. Prior to his time as a Crusader, they had only reached the second round twice in school history. With Black being a vital component on offense and a top-tier defender, Parkersburg Catholic reached the state semifinals in 1999 and in 2002. Known for his physicality and athleticism, he would end up playing at Fairmont State University where he would become an All-MEC linebacker.
Few defensive linemen were as disruptive as Contraguerro. With true quick twitch and strength, he commanded scheming by the other side. His presence on the front helped Wheeling Central captured two state titles from 2001-2003. He recorded over 300 tackles and 20 sacks in his storied career. Contraguerro would move on and play at West Virginia University.
Before the 2000s, Wheeling Central had only won one WVSSAC state title (1979). Gordon was a major factor in their rise to dominance. Gordon’s tackling ability perhaps kickstarted the Maroon Knight linebacker factory. Captaining the defense, Wheeling Central would win the 2000 state title and narrowly lose in 2001. He tallied 405 career tackles with 19 sacks before taking his talents to West Virginia University.
Holt is one of the most decorated individual defenderx of the 2000s. He was named all-state all four years at his time with Matewan. Along the way, his prowess inside the box helped his team reach four consecutive quarterfinals. Also being an effective runningback, Holt ended his career with 369 tackles, 15 interceptions, 13 fumbles forced, and 3612 rushing yards. He would attend and play for Emory & Henry College.
For three seasons, Palm set the standard for kicking in Class A. With the Yellowjackets being an annual title contender, a weapon in the kicking game made their offense even more lethal. As a junior and a senior, he totaled 16 made field goals. On his career, he finished with 176 points that included 128 made extra points. He was the undisputed selection as the kicker of the decade.
Big, strong, and with a huge leg- Ueltschy was the runaway favorite for the best punter of the decade. Though Valley (Wetzel) was not a powerful contender in the 2000s, Ueltschy was apart of the 2004 team that has had the best season since 1998. Averaging well over 40 yards per punt, he was a vital weapon and recognized multiple times as the first-team all-state punter.
Legendary coaches littered the decade. Moorefield’s Alan Fiddler added two state titles to his collection while Mike Young would win three from 2005-2010. Madonna’s Bob Kramer took the Blue Don’s to three straight title games- finally winning in 2009. Terry Smith helped Williamstown to four state title appearances and a conclusive win in 2008. The voters chose Jim Thomas though who kickstarted the Maroon Knight title dynasty in 2000. From 2000-2004, Wheeling Central would go 55-12 , appear in four state championships, and win three of them.
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