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Wheeling Central Standouts, Cameron’s Ball Named First Team All-State

WHEELING — Wheeling Central may not have been playing in the Super Six this year but it was certainly represented on the W.Va. Class A all-state team.

The Maroon Knights had the most first team selections in Class A with four players getting the nod.

Senior defensive lineman Ayden Baker, junior running back Lorenzo Ferrera, junior offensive lineman Deante Suggs and sophomore kicker Eli Tucker were all named first team all-state as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

In just his first season as a football player, Baker turned heads with 10.5 sacks, 13 TFL, 64 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.

“I can’t say enough about Ayden’s development in his first year out,” Central coach Mike Young said. “He was a raw player starting out but he got better every day and work hard on and off the field. Now he’s being highly recruited by Division I schools.”

Ferrera was lethal from anywhere on the field.

He galloped for 819 yards and 10 touchdowns, while turning in 258 yards receiving and three scores. On special teams he racked up 415 kick return yards and added four interceptions and 49 tackles on defense.

“Lorenzo runs the ball, he catches the ball, he can run the wildcat, he returns punts and kickoffs and he is devastating on defense with his interceptions for touchdowns,” Young said. “He’s exciting to watch and we’re hoping for more big things from him next year.”

Suggs helped lead that rushing attack all season and never stopped learning in the process.

“Deante was one of our most improved players over the year,” Young said. “He kept working hard and stayed focused. He is very coachable and we’re happy to see how he has developed. We are very proud of him.”

Tucker turned in 42 extra points and delivered 18 touchbacks, while collecting 12 tackles and a sack on defense.

“Eli is a threat with his leg on extra points and kickoffs,” Young said.

“He kept teams in a hole with his touchbacks all season. He’s also versatile in terms of playing outside linebacker.”

Cameron enjoyed a perfect regular season and was represented by senior defensive back and running back Isaac Ball on the first team defense.

Ball tallied 51 tackles and seven interceptions on defense and rumbled for 1,520 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns, along with four receiving scores.

Local standouts to earn second team knods include Central junior linebacker Riley Watkins, Cameron junior defensive back Payton Neely, Madonna senior QB Santino Arlia and senior receiver Evan Quering and Tyler Consolidated sophomore running back Sean Winfrey.

Ritchie County’s football team made history this year as it collected its first state title.

In the process, running back Gus Morrison ran for 947 yards on 116 carries and scored 16 touchdowns, while catching 50 passes for 802 yards and 12 more scores.

On defense, he was just as lethal. The strong-willed warrior secured 83 tackles and eight interceptions.

Those numbers along with his leadership on and off the field are why Morrison was named first team captain of the all-state offense selected for the second consecutive year.

“Gus was an all-state captain last year and you saw what he could do (in the state championship game),” Ritchie coach Rick Haught said.

What he did in the 2021 state title game was nothing short of amazing.

The senior utility man ran wild for 178 yards and four scores, while also racking up 44 yards receiving and another touchdown en route to earning MVP of the game and hoisting the state championship trophy.

“This has been a goal since last year when it got ripped away because of COVID,” Morrison said. “When that happened it just motivated us even more. To see it pan out and happen the way we wanted it to is definitely a dream come true.”

Joining Morrison on the all-state first team are his teammates junior Ethan Haught (quarterback) and senior Conner Shaffer (offensive lineman).

Ethan Haught entered his junior year with one goal in mind and he accomplished that goal in leading the Rebels to a state title. Along the way, he threw for 2,050 yards on 111 of 184 passing to go with 23 touchdowns. He also ran for eight scores.

Shaffer’s leadership on the line and his 41 pancakes gave his quarterback and running back plenty of time to make magic happen, as well.

Williamstown also punched its ticket to the state title game with three all-state first teamers leading the way.

Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Molessa earned a spot as a utility man for his ability to throw and run. He is joined by junior linebacker Rickie Allen and senior offensive lineman Colton Melrose.

Molessa turned in 1,660 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns this year to go with his 744 yards passing and five scores.

Allen garnered 100 tackles and came up with three interceptions to lead the defense, while collecting 1,490 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns at running back.

Melrose made his name heard in the state title game as he jumped on a loose ball for a fumble recovery.

Junior Ty Nickell of Greenbrier West was the other first team running back.

Receivers include East Hardy junior Dawson Price and Gilmer County senior Avery Chapman.

Price garnered 56 receptions for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Chapman racked up 49 catches for 964 yards and 15 TDs, while also supplying 695 return yards and two more scores.

First team linemen include senior Jakobey Meadows of James Monroe and junior Adam Burnside of Doddridge County.

Mount View senior Tony Bailey and Gilmer County senior Ean Hamrick round out the first team offense at utility positions.

Hamrick threw for 2,273 yards and 28 touchdowns, while rushing for 374 yards and five scores.

The captain of the first team defense hails from Buffalo in senior defensive lineman Drew Clendenin, who delivered 96 tackles, nine TFL, 3.5 sacks, one interception and two fumble recoveries.

Joining Clendenin and Baker on the D-line are seniors Malachi Hinger of Moorefield and Isiah Perdue of Van.

Filling out the linebacking corps are seniors Dylan Knight of Doddridge County, Aden Isaacs of Midland Trail and C.J. Winnell of Sherman.

The all-state defensive backfield includes ballhawk senior Jared Jones of Doddridge County, along with junior Eli Allen of James Monroe.

Senior utility players Wesley Hill of Ravenswood, Ayden Simms of Midland Trail and Garrett Gibson of Tygarts Valley and senior punter Riley Tackett of Tygarts Valley round out the first team defense.

Hill charted 87 tackles, 16 TFL, three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery at three different positions; Simms generated five interceptions with 47 tackles, along with 400 yards receiving and 10 touchdown grabs; Gibson finished with 122 tackles and nine interceptions and Tackett pinned 11 punts inside the 20.

Juniors Seth Richards of Doddridge County and Drew Boczek of Clay-Battelle captain the all-state second team.

Class A


WR – Dawson Price, East Hardy

WR – Avery Chapman, Gilmer County

OL – Adam Burnside, Doddridge County

OL – Colton Melrose, Williamstown

OL – Jakobey Meadows, James Monroe

OL – Deante Suggs, Wheeling Central

OL – Conner Shaffer, Ritchie County

RB – Ty Nickell, Greenbrier West

RB – Lorenzo Ferrera, Wheeling Central

QB – Ethan Haught, Ritchie County

K – Eli Tucker, Wheeling Central

U – Gus Morrison, Ritchie County (Captain)

U – Tony Bailey, Mount View

U – Maxwell Molessa, Williamstown

U – Ean Hamric, Gilmer County


DL – Drew Clendenin, Buffalo (Captain)

DL – Malachi Hinger, Moorefield

DL – Ayden Baker, Wheeling Central

DL – Isiah Perdue, Van

LB – Rickie Allen, Williamstown

LB – Dylan Knight, Doddridge County

LB – Aden Isaacs, Midland Trail

LB – CJ Winnell, Sherman

DB – Eli Allen, James Monroe

DB – Jared Jones, Doddridge County

DB – Isaac Ball, Cameron

U – Wesley Hill, Ravenswood

U – Ayden Simms, Midland Trail

U – Garrett Gibson, Tygarts Valley

P – Riley Tackett, Tygarts Valley

Second Team


WR – Evan Quering, Madonna

WR – Noah Lang, East Hardy

OL – Ian Spadafore, Doddridge County

OL – Chase Franklin, Greenbrier West

OL – Riley Boley, St. Marys

OL – Austin Morgan, Pocahontas County

OL — Gavin Bell, Ritchie County

RB – Carson Shriver, Clay-Battelle

RB – Sean Winfrey, Tyler Consolidated

RB – Blake Funk, Moorefield

QB – Santino Arlia, Madonna

K – Talon Shockey, Midland Trail

U – TJ Bell, Mount View

U – Seth Richards, Doddridge County (Captain)

U – Dustin Adkins, Meadow Bridge


DL – Ty Roles, Meadow Bridge

DL – Dale Hockman, East Hardy

DL – Austin Bartlett, Ritchie County

LB – Mason Miller, East Hardy

LB – Riley Watkins, Wheeling Central

LB – Tyson Adkins, Summers County

LB – Justin Grimmett, Man

LB – Ridge Flores, Van

DB – Payton Neely, Cameron

DB – Colton Hesson, Williamstown

DB – Levi Teets, Trinity

U – Duke Dodson, Summers County

U – Drew Bozcek, Clay-Battelle (Captain)

U – Chase McClung, Greenbrier West

P – Connor Bell, Webster County

Honorable Mention

Johnny Arnett, Clay-Battelle; Jaycent Ash, Doddridge County; Brady Baker, James Monroe; Joey Baker, Paden City; Marcus Barnes, Magnolia; Shaun Booth, Van; Parker Bunch, South Harrison; Gunnar Bryan, Cameron; Cole Burkett, Cameron; Noah Burnside, South Harrison; Colby Buzzard, Sherman; Mason Chisler, Clay-Battelle; Drake Cole, Summers County; Ethan Colegrove, Tug Valley; Rian Cooper, Meadow Bridge; Aiden Corbett, Williamstown; Peyton Day, Petersburg; Anthony Finn, Trinity; Erik Flynn, East Hardy; Brady Green, Van; Devin Greene, Montcalm; Jacob Haddix, South Harrison; TJ Hager, Sherman; Justin Haggerty, Mount View; Jeremiah Harless, Man; Cody Harrell, Midland Trail; Jayden Helmick, Tyler Consolidated; Josh Hypes, Richwood; Charles Ibbeson, Doddridge County; Kaden Johnson, Magnolia; Isaac Joy, Williamstown; Jakob Kassey, Clay-Battelle; Cameron Kearns, Buffalo; Tanner Kirk, Tug Valley; Kyle Knight, Trinity; JJ Knotts, Tucker County; Case Landis, Tyler Consolidated; Ethan Lane, Ravenswood; Grant Lively, James Monroe; Ryan Long, Mount View; James McClure, Meadow Bridge; Grady McFee, Wirt County; Bryce McKinney, Doddridge County; Coleman Mongold, Moorefield; Marlon Moore, Ritchie County; Rylee Morgan, River View; Connor Mullins, Meadow Bridge; Allen Nestor, Clay-Battelle; Wyatt Norman, St. Marys; Trey Ohlinger, Wahama; Kolton Parsons, Wirt County; Caleb Ratcliffe, Wheeling Central; Cooper Ridgeway, James Monroe; Dalton Rollo, Sherman; Josh Roush, St. Marys; Robert Ruffner, Midland Trail; Branson See, Moorefield; Gabe Stewart, Doddridge County; Dale Treadway, Greenbrier West; Sawyer VanMatre, Wahama; Caleb Webb, Montcalm; Zach Wise, Hundred; Josh Dickerson, Midland Trail.


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