Pioneers put four on W.Va. first team
HUNTINGTON -- At the heart of every successful football team is belief in the concept that team comes before the individual.
Perhaps no program better exemplifies the idea than Wayne High School. After winning the 2011 Class AA state championship, the Pioneers were immediately tabbed as the favorite to capture the title again in 2012. They handled those lofty expectations by running the table with a 14-0 record that culminated with a second consecutive championship.
Along the way, Wayne extended the state's longest winning streak to 23 games.
The Pioneers didn't trail at any point in the 2012 season and posted three straight shutouts in the state playoff quarterfinals, semifinals and title game, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 110-0.
With that much team success, it's only natural that some individual honors fall into place.
The Pioneers have four players that earned Class AA first team honors on the all-state football team announced Thursday by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Running back Brandon Spurlock, the top overall vote recipient among writers and coaches, is the captain of the first team offense. He is joined by teammates Grant Ferguson at quarterback, Anthony Bryant on the offensive line and Mason Hodge at linebacker. Spurlock and Bryant are seniors. Ferguson and Hodge are sophomores.
"The best part about all four of those kids is that they buy into the team-first concept," Wayne coach Tom Harmon said.
"They would be the first to tell you that they couldn't accomplish what they did without the help of their teammates. They are also four very good football players and we're excited for them to get the recognition.
"I think Brandon really showed the state what he was capable of despite missing the semifinal game and basically playing on one leg against Keyser. Grant really improved throughout the season and gave us a really strong passing game. He also had to cover every team's best receiver on defense. Anthony was a dominant force on both offense and defense, and Mason, you just don't see a lot of kids built the way he is as a sophomore."
Spurlock was the team's leading rusher, with 2,003 yards an 28 touchdowns.
Ferguson completed 63 of 188 passes for 1,211 yards and 17 touchdowns with just one interception, while adding 516 yards on the ground with seven TDs. Bryant was the team's leader up front on both sides of the ball. Hodge was Wayne's leading tackler.
Mingo Central defensive back Joe May (49 tackles, four interceptions) was also part of the all-state first team.
Wayne players on the second team were offensive lineman Yosef Finton, defensive lineman Dwight Blankenship and linebacker Nathan Spurlock.
Class AA all-state football team