2021 High School Football Previews: Doddridge County Bulldogs

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WEST UNION, W.Va. – For the first time in school history, Doddridge County has made it to the postseason each of the last four years.

Despite getting upset at home in the first round last season, the goal is the same entering 2021 as it was to start 2020.

“Making it back to Wheeling Island,” Dylan Knight said when asked about the team’s goal for this season. “We know what it takes to get there. The experience was amazing. I just want to feel that again. and everyone on the team does too.”

Dylan Knight is one of the top linebackers in Single-A, and is aiming to be the best running back in the class this season. (Photo by Ryan Decker / WBOY)

In order to do that, the Bulldogs will lean on the second-team all-state linebacker, Knight, not only to stop opposing rushing attacks, but to join the growing list of standout Doddridge County tailbacks.

“I’ve been behind two great back in Hunter (America) and Reese (Burnside). They showed me what to do at running back,” said Knight. “They were always about getting the yardage you can, going North and South. Our coaches are always saying one cut and get up the field. So, I mean, I always emphasize that.”

To join the likes of America and Burnside, Knight will need this Bulldogs line, made up largely of experienced juniors, to continue to win the battle in the trenches.

“We take a lot of pride (in blocking), because, I mean, the running backs, they need someone to open holes for them,” junior lineman, Ian Spadafore said. “They can’t do it all on their own. And we just love it. we like to bruise our way through, and get the running backs through, so they can score.”

In order to accomplish the ultimate goal of getting back to Wheeling Island Stadium, the Bulldogs will have to run through a regular season schedule that includes four 2020 playoff teams. Even though some of the names have changed, it’s largely the same plan of attack for Bobby Burnside and company.

Dylan Knight celebrates a play in practice. (Photo by Ryan Decker / WBOY)

“We have a brand of football that we like to play, and it’s old school. We like to run the football. Everyone knows that, it’s not a secret,” said head coach Bobby Burnside. We hang our hat on running the football, playing good defense, and those are the things we’re really working hard on.”

Burnside is 71-26 during his time with the Bulldogs, and has won, on average, nearly eight games per season.

Doddridge County’s season begins on August 27 at home against South Harrison, and the Bulldogs are hoping it once again takes them the postseason. However, they’re hoping to do something they’ve never done before — win a state title on “The Island” in Wheeling.

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