WEST UNION, W.Va. – The Doddridge County Bulldogs finished as runner-up in all of Single-A last year, and getting back to “The Island” is the goal once again this year.
Doddridge County was a few key stops away from potentially winning the state championship last year in Wheeling.
The Bulldogs graduated arguably its best senior class ever, but that doesn’t mean this year’s team feels it can’t get back to “The Island”.
“Our main goal is to make it to Wheeling and win a state title,” said senior wideout and defensive back, Hunter Jenkins. “We have a whole county behind us, wanting us to make it to Wheeling. And each and every one of us wants to be able to go and win a state championship. So, it’s really motivating to be able to want to go there.”
“For the team, I mean, I want to get to Wheeling Island,” said senior running back and linebacker, Dylan Knight. “Two years in a row, that’d be crazy. Being in Wheeling Island, it’s a big honor. And being two years in a row would be even better.”
Seniors like Hunter America, Noah Bumgardner, Cole James and Griffin Devericks have all graduated over the offseason, meaning seniors such as Hunter Jenkins, Levi Swiger, Reese Burnside and Simon James will be filling those roles.
“I got big shoes to fill in for Hunter. And, I mean, it’s good, because, being the leader of the offense, I gotta step up,” said Knight.
He and Burnside will lead a tandem Bulldogs rushing attack.
“Me and (Burnside), we’ve always been together. We’ve always been good backs. And just us being together, I think it’s more of a threat,” Knight said.
Even with 13 returning starters between the offense and defense, and an all-state kicker in DJ Devinney, Bobby Burnside’s club will be ushering in a number of players into new roles.
But with that combination of returning talent and new faces, the Bulldogs aim to be a team that gets better each week.
“That’s the key,” said Burnside. “I honestly believe you’ve got to stay healthy, you have to show progress, your players have to get better. Sometimes it takes a little bit of luck, but a lot of that is the hard work, the improvement and staying healthy.”
One spot the Bulldogs are ushering in new starter is under center, with junior Jared Jones taking over.
“(Jones) brings a new dimension to our offense this year. He’s a good athlete, he’s tough,” said Burnside.
The Bulldogs begin the season at home against Tyler Consolidated on Friday.