WEST UNION, W.Va –

The Doddridge County Bulldogs have been as consistently successful over the last few years as any team in Class A but one thing has eluded them.

A trip to the Super Six in 2019 is as close as Doddridge County has come to a state championship in a decade under head coach Bobby Burnside, despite plenty of regular season and playoff success.

The expectations are set high in West Union and the Bulldogs are working every day to live up to them.

“The expectations of our team, our community, they’re all very high,” he said, “Those expectations by themselves don’t do a thing. You’ve got to put in year-round hard work. The guys are doing that so now its about execution and getting better each day and we’re doing that.”

That mindset has carried over to the players as well with a desire from the team to give their fans something in return for their stalwart support over the years.

Playing for a community provides a much bigger motivator than just trying to win for yourself.

“It means a lot, coming out here every Friday night and seeing all the crowd and fans and stuff its just nice,” senior Adam Burnside said, “We just got a lot of guys that we love to play together out here and we just want to be the best that we can be.”

A big-time core of veterans that includes seniors in practically every position group gives the Bulldogs plenty of experience and plenty of motivation after many of them saw that trip to the Island up close as freshman.

Aiden Eddy is back as part of that group and makes it clear that the coaching staff is making sure this group is keeping from looking too far into the future this fall.

“They’re just telling us that in the end its going to be worth it so we just got to keep our heads down, keep grinding and be the best team out there,” he said.

The head coach echoes that sentiment. Burnside knows that his team has what it takes to make some serious noise this year but the focus at the end of the day is incremental improvement in every phase.

“We have long-term goals but right now, we’re, like I said, trying to show that daily progress, show that we’re getting better and with execution, with knowledge of assignments and that’s going to translate into victories,” he said.

While the day-to-day focus is on what is right in front of them, Doddridge County can’t help but look ahead to postseason possibilities after the level of success its been able to accomplish over the last few years.

“I think we’re a state championship team. We have the weapons in every single position. I think we’re ready to go when season comes,” Eddy said.

Doddridge County opens the 2022 campaign with a road matchup against South Harrison in Lost Creek.