GLENVILLE, W.Va – If you ask around Glenville and the surrounding area, the feeling is starting to grow that Gilmer County football is on the cusp of something big.
With a 7-5 finish a year ago, the Titans posted back to back winning seasons for the first time since the mid-1980s, including an upset of top-seeded Cameron in the first round of the state playoffs.
As head coach Thomas Cogar begins his fifth year leading the Gilmer County program, his focus shifts from building up the program to turning it into a stable contender year in and year out.
“We’ve turned the corner. Last year was our second consecutive winning season. It’s the first time that’s happened in the program since 1985-86 so we’re turning the corner here. We’re not going back,” he said, “Those guys that went through here taught us how to work and we’re going to continue the work that they do.”
There are certainly some big losses to mitigate this season but Cogar believes his team will be better for the legacy that last year’s seniors leave behind.
A pair of first team all state selections depart with all-time leading passer Ean Hamric signing with the University of Charleston and all-time leading receiver Avery Chapman right up the road at Glenville State.
While the style on offense may be a little bit different, the head coach is confident his team has the pieces to keep the train moving.
“You lose a kid like that, not only what he was on the field but in the weight room and in the locker room, just the kind of leader he was,” he said, “Any time you lose the all-time stat leader in any stat like Ean and Avery Chapman also was it’s a big loss. We’ve got a lot of young kids that are coming in trying to fill those shoes and we’re building on what those guys have done.”
The experience on the offensive side of the ball for the Titans is certainly on the ground this year with Colton Hall returning in the backfield after rushing for over 800 yards last season.
After having a wide-open passing game with Hamric under center the last four years, Gilmer County may not look quite the same with the ball this year but Cogar expects them to be just as productive.
“The big arm we lost in the passing game, we’ve got to fill that somewhere and its going to be in the rushing game. We’re going to have to run it a little bit more. We were very balanced last year, almost 50-50,” he said, “It’s probably going to be 60-40, 70-30. We’re going to have to run it a little bit more this year.”
Now with a group of veterans coming in that learned from one of the most accomplished classes in school history, the upperclassmen on this squad for the Titans are fired up to keep the recent success of the program alive.
“It’s exciting. I think we’re going to do pretty good this year. We did good last year but I think we can do better this year. We’ve got a lot of upcoming kids that we like,” senior wide receiver and defensive back Cole Cogar said.
At the end of the day, the expectations have changed for Gilmer County both inside and outside the program. For the players, there is a pretty clear goal for how this team ends its season.
“I think we’ll make a deep playoff run,” senior lineman Cadence Miller said,” We had a great year last year. I think we just keep on building on that.
Gilmer County opens its season on the road this year, traveling to face East Hardy on August 26.