MILL CREEK, W.Va. – We continue our high school football previews by checking in with the Tygarts Valley Bulldogs, who enter this season with a simple motto for this year’s group of players.
“‘Maintain the gain.’ Make sure you at least maintain where these other guys ahead of you got you, and then try to go farther,” head coach, Rodney Bright, said.
Last year’s Tygarts Valley football team pulled a 16 over 1 seed upset in the postseason. That was the exclamation point on the careers of one of the most successful senior classes in school history, which led the Bulldogs to back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time in program history.
Now it’s up to a new group of Dogs to continue the success.
“We’ve got some guys that have been waiting in the wings. they’re ready to go. We had a couple really good seasons stung back-to-back,” Bright said. “A lot of these guys as underclassmen got a lot of playing time at the varsity level. We’re young and we’re green, but we still have a lot of varsity action for graduating (15) kids last year.”
It’s the same last name under center for the Bulldogs, but that’s where the similarities stop.
Bright’s youngest son — Lucas — takes over for older brother Josh. Young Lucas is taller, but is gunning for big brother’s record.
“My brother was a lot faster than me, he could actually scramble. Hopefully I don’t have to scramble much. I’m more of a set in the pocket and throw kind of guy,” said Lucas.
Which of his records are you most looking to break?, he was asked.
“His single-season passing yards,” Lucas said.
Josh Bright is one of 15 seniors that have to be replaced this season. There’s still plenty of experience on this roster, including multi-year starting lineman, James Liggett.
“We did lose a lot of seniors, but what they’ve taught us and everything that we’ve learned from them, has helped us be up to their level of skill. So, I think, even though we’ve lost a lot we still have just as much skill as last year,” Liggett said.
Tygarts Valley begins the season by playing three of four games on the road. It’ll be a good test for this group of Dogs looking to prove they have what it takes.
And the goal this year is simple.
“We want to be one of the first teams ever to get (to the playoffs) three times in a row. That’s our main goal, is getting to the playoffs. Going as deep as we can in the playoffs,” Liggett.
The Bulldogs start their season at home, next Friday against Valley (Wetzel).