HHS's Tubbs, Seals honored
HUNTINGTON -- Huntington High School dominated the major awards on the All-Mountain State Athletic Conference football team.
Highlander running back/defensive back Nick Tubbs was named as the league's player of the year and Billy Seals was selected coach of the year in a vote of MSAC coaches.
Seals and Tubbs combined to lead the Highlanders to a 13-1 record, the MSAC championship and a runner-up finish in the Class AAA state finals.
"Definitely anytime your colleagues and peers vote you an award, it's special," said Seals, who in his fifth season turned an 0-10 program into a state finalist. "It means more to me than the sports writers awards because these guys are out there putting in the time and seeing the things I'm seeing every day."
Apparently those coaches were impressed with Tubbs, who rushed for 1,000 yards, passed for 300 and scored 14 touchdowns on offense. Defensively, Tubbs started 14 games. He also starred on special teams, returning three punts and one kickoff for touchdowns.
"When you look at Nick and everything he did, he's very deserving as player of the year in the MSAC," Seals said.
The Highlanders placed four players on the all-conference first team defense -- linemen Nigale Cabell and Arick Nicks; linebacker Greg May and defensive back Clark Wilson.
Huntington High's lone representative on the first team offense was Zachary Stevens, who kicked 50 extra points and eight field goals for 74 points.
"I think it's a good showing for Huntington High School," Seals said. "Our kids did a good job this year. You only get to nominate a certain number or we might have had more. Those are the rules. That's the way it is and we'll live with it."
Cabell Midland, Spring Valley, Hurricane and Winfield were well represented on the team. The Knights placed two players -- running back Kasey Thomas and guard Cody Ballengee -- on the first team offense, along with defensive end Tyler Hayes on the first team defense. The Timberwolves placed both tackles -- Trevor Stacy and Alex Locklear -- on the first team offense. Hurricane quarterback Austin Hensley and utility player Zach Pate made the first team offense, as did Winfield tight end Chris Turner.
Thomas carried 179 times for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 134 yards.
Hensley completed 150 of 247 passes for 2,254 yards and 25 touchdowns, with nine interceptions.
"If he's not the best quarterback in the state, I want to see who is," Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor said of Hensley. "He played much of the second half of the season with a separated shoulder."
The second team featured several local players including running back Paden Christian and guard D'Whan Wheeler of Huntington High; defensive lineman Tyler Brown and Dylan Lageman of Spring Valley; linebacker Josh Cox and utility player Justin Leggett of Cabell Midland; wide receiver John Hathaway and defensive lineman Nick Hunt of Winfield; and defensive back Jeremy Francis, center Mitchell Fitzgerald and tight end Alex Wolford of Hurricane.