HAMBLETON, W.Va. – We continue our 2020 high school football previews with the Tucker County Mountain Lions.
Tucker County took a step back last year, going 0-10 after making a trip to the postseason in 2018.
AJ Rapp’s group this year is still young, like it was a year ago. This season, Rapp has just four seniors and plenty of underclassmen on the roster.
But the hope this year is that a talented group of freshmen, and a now-experienced group of sophomores, can ease the growing pains for the Mountain Lions, and lay the ground work for a return to the postseason.
“We’re still inexperienced this year. We have some athletic kids, I’m pretty happy with what we have out,” said Rapp. “I mean, this is probably the best balance of lineman and receivers. Right now we’ve got a good core of guys that are lineman, we’ve got a good core of guys that are skill.”
Among the young players that Rapp hopes steps up for him this year is sophomore quarterback Trent Wilfong.
Young players will play a lot of snaps, and a big role this year for the 17th year head coach Tucker County.
Rapp is joined by his son, Cole, who was a senior on the 2018 playoff team, and is now part of the coaching staff.
Only two of the four Mountain Lions seniors have been with the program all four years of their high school careers, including senior captain Jeremy Liller.
“We just have got to step up. We’ve got to teach the young guys the right stuff to do and if not we’re going to have another season like last year. You have to work hard,” said Liller when asked about he and his fellow seniors taking a leadership role.
When asked about the 2018 playoff team, Liller said, “A lot of those guys we had on that team were hard workers and dedicated themselves to football. If we want to win and we want to get back to that mentality of playoffs and stuff like that, we have to get in the weight room we have to get out here on the field and we have to show up.”
Fellow senior leader, Bode Shockley agrees that it’s up to the few seniors on this team to show the younger players what it takes to get back to the Mountain Lions’ winning ways.
“We had a lot of good positive role models on that team, as well, that taught us what to do so I think that we can kind of reflect that onto these guys, as well,” said Shockley. “Everybody wanted it really bad , you know those kids have never seen a winning season their whole year and they were seniors that year we had about 13 you know so we had a lot of guys that were willing to work and willing to put in the effort to get to the postseason and that’s just what we have to do again this year.”
Despite making the postseason in 2018, Tucker County currently owns the longest losing streak in the state of 14 games.
Tucker County begins the season on the road at Tygarts Valley, with the Mountain Lions looking to get their first win since October 5, 2018.