Champions look to notch one more in North-South Classic
INSTITUTE, W.Va. — When asked about their role in the West Virginia North-South All-Star Football Classic recent Wayne High School graduates Brandon Spurlock and Dustin Hatfield said specifically they wanted to win a “championship” for the South team.
That’s a word the duo can use without any scrutiny.
As part of the Class AA Wayne Pioneers, Spurlock and Hatfield were instrumental in back-to-back Class AA state titles, including a 2012 campaign when Wayne went undefeated and outscored its opponents 110-0 in the final three games of the playoffs.
“This is just like state again. To be here, you have to be the best,” Hatfield said during media day Tuesday. “After two state championships, I guess we know a little about that now.”
The line was delivered with a barely audible, humble chuckle that defines the attitude of both players. They said time and again what an honor it was to be selected to the South team, and how much they’re looking forward to the game that kicks off at 7 p.m., Saturday, at Charleston University Stadium/Laidley Field.
“I wouldn’t rather play for any team other than Wayne, but this is a privilege,” Spurlock said. “Everyone here is good. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be here. And it’s just cool meeting new people and coming together as a team — that’s football right there.”
Spurlock, who earned the moniker “Bam” at Wayne, was named as the MVP of the 2012 state title game, a 35-0 win over Keyser.
The name is appropriate for a 5-foot-7, 185-pound bruiser of a running back, who rushed for 2,003 yards and 28 touchdowns last season.
Hatfield is a tall, rangy tight end and defensive end at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds.
Spurlock had to rehabilitate his hamstring a bit after the football season ended, but has been training regularly. Hatfield has been hitting the weight room, and also ran track in the spring which helped keep him in football shape.
Both said they are pumped up to represent Wayne one last time on the gridiron.
“To go out with that W on your helmet, there’s no better feeling than that,” Spurlock said.
There’s another pair of state champions on the South squad who sport a ‘W’ on their headgear and won a state title in 2012.
But for Trenton Gibbs and Zach Wamsley, representing Wahama in the North-South Classic is about pride, and proving they belong.
The White Falcons captured the Class A state title in 2012, the first in school history, after Gibbs ran in a two-point conversion to defeat Madonna, 43-42, in overtime. Wamsley had 112 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the contest.
“It’s not that people look down on us, but they think that we don’t have as many talented athletes because we’re not a big school,” Gibbs said. “I assure you, we have plenty of athletes who are just as good as the guys at the bigger schools.”
“We come out and give our all just as much as anybody else,” Wamsley said.
The Wahama players said they’re proud to represent their school and hope they can create more notoriety for the White Falcons.
“It’s a big deal to us, to win the first championship for a school that’s always been kind of quiet and then make it to a North-South game,” Wamsley said.
Gibbs and Wamsley will continue to play football at Concord University in the fall.