Wheeling Central’s Adam Murray Captains All-State Defense
Teammates Waterhouse and Creighton, Tyler Consolidated’s Rucker secure first team honors
WEST UNION — Wheeling Central’s Adam Murray solidified his legacy on Saturday night with his third straight state championship victory.
After guiding the Maroon Knights’ defense through the postseason, Murray was named captain of the first-team all-state defense, as chosen by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Murray was the rock on which the Maroon Knights’ stellar defense was built on.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior led Central with 153 tackles and 20 tackles for loss, and ended his career with more than 600 tackles, a school record.
“He’s one of the greatest kids I’ve coached in all my years in the business,” Wheeling Central coach Mike Young said. “He’s put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into Wheeling Central football.
“His motor started running his freshman year and it has never stopped. The fact that he’s our school’s all-time leading tackler speaks for itself.”
Murray had two of his teammates join him on the first-team defense.
They were defensive back Jordan Waterhouse and Jalen Creighton at utility, both of whom had three interceptions.
Waterhouse also shined on offense where he ran for 1,343 yards and 12 touchdowns, including 90 yards and a score in the state title.
Creighton was the leading receiver this year for the Knights with 784 yards and 13 scores.
He turned in a 77-yard, two-touchdown performance in the state championship.
Joining the Central trio on first team is Tyler Consolidated senior running back Mark Rucker.
Rucker makes his third straight appearance on the all-state first team and did so in thrilling fashion this season as he rushed for 1,841 yards on 187 carries to average 9.8 yards per run.
He also caught 32 passes for 386 yards and was accountable for 33 total touchdowns.
Wheeling Central’s Curtis McGhee, who missed the final five games of the regular season and all postseason with an injury, captains the second team offense as a utility player.
Before his injury, McGhee ran for 657 yards and six touchdowns, while throwing for 546 and seven scores.
Ethan Cross of Paden City and Noah Neely of Cameron join him at second-team utility.
Cross threw for 1,189 yards and 17 touchdowns and ran for 1,098 and 12 scores, while Neely garnered 928 yards rushing, 625 yards receiving and 14 combined touchdowns.
Other local second team honorees include Wheeling Central’s Michael Horan (OL) and Vinnie High (LB), Tyler Consolidated’s Gage Huffman (P), Magnolia’s Mike Hamrick (DL) and Madonna’s Brennan Secrist (WR).
For most of the latter part of the 2019 season, Doddridge County held the No. 1 rating in Class A football.
Although the Bulldogs fell in the Class A title game to perennial powerhouse Wheeling Central, 38-21, this past Saturday, Doddridge’s 13-1 season didn’t go unrewarded.
Five Bulldogs were named to the Class A All-State Football team.
Dynamic running back Hunter America was named captain of the first-team offense,
America rushed for 2,176 yards and 25 touchdowns on 307 carries. He capped off his senior year by throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass to fellow first-teamer Griffin Devericks.
“In Doddridge County will remember Hunter America for many, many years to come,” Doddridge County coach Bobby Burnside said. “He’s a special player who has made so many big plays over his career.
“He’s very deserving of this honor.”
In addition to Devericks, who caught 42 passes for 992 yards and 11 touchdowns, Doddridge also had lineman Cole James named to the first team offense.
The remainder of the first-team offense includes quarterback Ethan Varney of Tug Valley, Noah Brown of Greenbrier West and Ty Moore of Williamstown in the backfield, with Parkersburg Catholic’s Jeb Boice and Greenbrier West’s Cole McClung the utility players. Varney’s favorite target, Caleb May, was the other receiver.
Moore was a big reason Williamstown made the semifinals, as he rushed for 1,969 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Joining James on the front line are Mount View’s Liam Fultineer, Midland Trail’s Cy Persinger, Sherman’s Hunter Bowling, and Williamstown’s Leewood Molessa.
The kicker is Atikilt Tamiru of Moorefield.
Doddridge County had linebacker Austin Kelley and defensive back Hunter Jenkins named to the first unit defense.
Kelley led Doddridge with 154 tackles and recovered five fumbles, while Jenkins intercepted nine passes.
Rounding out the first team defense were Van’s Hunter McMiken, Pendleton County’s Josh Alt, Buffalo’s Drew Clendenin and Parkersburg Catholic’s Jalen Brunney on the front line, Williamstown’s Eric Brown, Ritchie County’s Garrett Owens and East Hardy’s Austin Alt at linebacker and Wirt’s Nathan Murray in the backfield.
The second utility player was South Harrison’s Landon McFadden with Ravenswood’s Jacob Anthony the punter.
St. Marys quarterback Brennan Boron joins McGhee, Cross and Neely as a second-team utility.
The second-team backfield consists of Pendleton quarterback Isaiah Gardner, Ritchie County running back Tre Moss and Moorefield’s Matthew Jenkins, with Ritchie’s Gus Morrison as a wide receiver.
Second team linemen are Trey Waller of South Harrison, Park Michaels of Buffalo, Zach McClung of Greenbrier West and Zack Graham of Ravenswood.
DJ Devinney of Doddridge is the second team kicker.
East Hardy defensive back Andrew Tharp captains the second team.
Joining him in the backfield are Greenbrier West’s Kaiden Pack and Williamstown’s Kole Sutton.
The front line consists of Doddridge County’s Connor Cunningham, Buffalo’s Cameron Lovejoy and Tolsia’s Stone Sartin.
The linebackers are Hunter Claypool of Meadow Bridge, Trent Meador of Summers County and Williamstown’s Brady Ankrom.
Webster County’s Reece Nutter, Tygarts Valley’s Caden Boggs and Tolsia’s John Wilson are the utilities.