To say that Wheeling Park Coach Chris Daugherty was less than impressed when freshman Zach Phillips showed up on the scene would be a major understatement. Phillips came in at a scrawny 117 pounds.
He split time during that preseason getting minimum reps with another freshman quarterback, the more brawny Matt Hackathorn.
Fast forward to 2013.
Both Phillips and Hackathorn are members of the Class AAA first team all-state squad, released Friday by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. Phillips is at quarterback, Hackathorn on the offensive line.
"We weren't really sure what we were going to do in the future (at quarterback) but we could see very quickly that, despite how small Zach was, he showed great poise, great leadership and an outstanding knowledge of the game," Daugherty said. "That he has come this far is a credit to Zach. He got in the weight room. He got bigger, and he worked at the position."
The knowledge was born at home. His dad, Keith, is the Park offensive coordinator, and a former college offensive coordinator. Phillips is now 6-foot-2, 180-pound college prospect.
On the season he completed 116 of 189 passes for 1,974 yards with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions.
"He gets the ball from Point A to Point B quicker than any kid I've had," Daugherty said. "It's hard to prepare for that when you don't see it every week. When you add his accuracy, he was a big, big weapon."
Hackathorn went from quarterback to an offensive tackle, not a traditional position switch. These days, Hackathorn is a 6-5, 255-pound college prospect.
"A lot of the coaches rave about his footwork, how fast he is for an offensive lineman," Daugherty said. "That comes from starting his career as a quarterback."
Morgantown running back Chazzy Thomas is captain of the first-team offense. Despite getting injured in the eighth week of the season, Thomas finished with 2,108 yards on just 174 carries (12.1 yards per carry) and scored 30 touchdowns. He was limited to three carries in the Mohigans' first-round playoff loss to University.
"He's a really deserving young man to be named captain," Morgantown Coach John Bowers said. "That was two years in a row he got injured and it robbed him of finishing the season. He was putting up some daggoned video-game numbers and then he got hurt."
Oak Hill senior Jalen Jones (221-1,647-21) and Capital junior Kashuan Haley (218-1,637-21) join Thomas in the backfield.
Along the offensive line joining Hackathorn are Cabell Midland's Cody Ballengee (6-0, 245 pounds), George Washington's David Smith (6-5, 300), Spring Valley?s Trevor Stacy (6-5, 290) and Morgantown's Stone Wolfley (6-4, 238).
Receivers are Kendell Smith of Washington (63, 1,034 yards and 12 touchdowns) and Ripley's Kade Harrison (44-988-11).
Shifty Martinsburg dual-threat quarterback Malique Watkins in the offensive utility player (232-1,790-20 rushing and 62 of 105 passes for 934 yards and 15 TDs) and Jefferson's Hunter Colbert is the kicker after booting eight field goals and 25 PATs in the Cougars' 10-game regular season.
Defensively, Nigel Cabell of Huntington, Tony Richardson University, James Walton of Capital, the Hunt Award winner as the state's top lineman and Troy Walker, son of Martinsburg Coach Dave Walker, are the defensive linemen.
The linebackers include John Marshall's Trevor Hardesty, Huntington's Greg May, University's Jack Armstrong and defensive captain and Huff Award winner Geremy Paige of Wheeling Park.
Paige, a senior, amassed 156 tackles, 12 sacks and two fumble recoveries for Park.
The Huntington duo of Clark Wilson and Nick Tubbs joins Lewis County's Brandon Moneypenny and University's Jack Armstrong as defensive backs and Hurricane's Zach Pate is the defensive utility player.
Parkersburg's Kyle Foster is the punter.
QB - Zach Phillips, Wheeling Park, 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, sr.
RB - Kashuan Haley, Capital, 6-0, 190, jr.
RB - Jalen Jones, Oak Hill, 5-7, 160, sr.
RB - Chazzy Thomas, Morgantown, 5-9, 155, sr. (Captain)
OL - Cody Ballengee, Cabell Midland, 6-0, 245, sr.
OL - Matt Hackathorn, Wheeling Park, 6-5, 255, sr.
OL - David Smith, George Washington, 6-5, 300, jr.
OL - Trevor Stacy, Spring Valley, 6-5, 290, jr.
OL - Stone Wolfley, Morgantown, 6-4, 238, jr.
WR - Kade Harrison, Ripley, 6-2, 169, sr.
WR - Kendell Smith, Washington, 6-5, 210, sr.
Utility - Malique Watkins, Martinsburg, 5-9, 170, sr.
K - Hunter Colbert, Jefferson, 6-1, 165, sr.
DL - Nigale Cabell, Huntington, 5-11, 235, sr.
DL - Tony Richardson, University, 6-3, 210, sr.
DL - Troy Walker, Martinsburg, 6-4, 235, sr.
DL - James Walton, Capital, 6-1, 245, sr.
LB - Trevor Hardesty, John Marshall, 6-0, 205, sr.
LB - Greg May, Huntington, 6-0, 220, sr.
LB - Geremy Paige, Wheeling Park, 5-11, 220, sr. (Captain)
DB - Jack Armstrong, University, 6-1, 165, sr.
DB - Brandon Moneypenny, Lewis County, 6-0, 160, jr.
DB - Nick Tubbs, Huntington, 6-1, 170, sr.
DB - Clark Wilson, Huntington, 6-0, 180, jr.
Utility - Zach Pate, Hurricane, 5-8, 173, sr.
P - Kyle Foster, Parkersburg, 6-2, 185, sr.
QB - Kentre Grier, South Charleston, 6-3, 160, so.
RB - Colin Gustines, Washington, 5-10, 180, sr.
RB - Savion Johnson, Wheeling Park, 5-10, 205, so.
RB - Deamonte Lindsay, Martinsburg, 6-2, 185, jr.
OL - Clint Arbaugh, University, 6-3, 250, sr.
OL - Amanii Brown, Morgantown, 6-5, 245, sr.
OL - Mitch Fitzgerald, Hurricane, 5-10, 297, sr.
OL - Alex Locklear, Spring Valley, 6-5, 300, jr.
OL - Daiveyon Monroe, Martinsburg, 6-1, 255, sr.
WR - Eric Banks, Wheeling Park, 5-8, 165, sr.
WR - Kevin Forrest, South Charleston, 6-0, 185, sr. (Captain)
Utility - Travis Renner, University, 6-0, 175, sr.
K - Zach Stevens, Huntington, 6-1, 175, sr.
DL - Jaisson Dyer, Capital, 6-0, 265, sr.
DL - Tyler Hayes, Cabell Midland, 6-2, 205, sr.
DL - Chalmer Moffett, Wheeling Park, 6-3, 210, jr.
DL - Arick Nicks, Huntington, 6-5, 245, sr.
LB - A.D. Cunningham, South Charleston, 6-0, 210, jr.
LB - Eli Gates, Hedgesville, 6-3, 195, sr.
LB - Zach Malone, George Washington, 6-0, 205, sr.
LB - Chase Walton, Point Pleasant, 5-10, 195, sr. (Captain)
DB - Alex Anderson, Morgantown, 5-11, 150, sr.
DB - Marquel Hampton, South Charleston, 5-9, 175, sr.
DB - Chase Hancock, Woodrow Wilson, 6-3, 190, sr.
Utility - Jacob Jackson, George Washington, 5-10, 170, sr.
P - Liam Casey, Wheeling Park, 5-10, 160, sr.
Special honorable mention
Eric Brown, Martinsburg; Skyler Carlton, Lewis County; Paden Christian, Huntington; Josh Cox, Cabell Midland; Scott Dixon, University; Shane Ennis, Hampshire; Antonio Gray, Oak Hill; Tate Hash, Washington; Austin Hensley, Hurricane; Logan Horn, Hedgesville; Nick Hunt, Winfield; Cody Jenkins, Martinsburg; Isaiah Kinder, Greenbrier East; Troy Lilly, Woodrow Wilson; Troy Markley, Hedgesville; Greg May, Huntington; Mark Metzgar, Lewis County; Tyler Miller, Martinsburg; Cody Mitchell, Point Pleasant; Josiah Nuse, Preston; Jon Peterson, Point Pleasant; Tyrhee Pratt, Capital; Josh Rein, Logan; Draven Riffe, George Washington; Taj Sho-Johnson, Princeton; Austin Skryzeki, John Marshall; Brynden Street, Logan; Kasey Thomas, Cabell Midland; Chris Turner, Winfield; Aden Yates, Point Pleasant.
Teran Barnitz, Cabell Midland; Jacob Bean, Hampshire; Zane Bradbury, Washington; Trevor Boot, Parkersburg South; Savion Brown, Capital; Charlie Carter, Oak Hill; Dalton Cline, Greenbrier East; Charles Crawford, Huntington; Seth Cutright, Buckhannon-Upshur; Jeremy Eckels, University; Brandon Ford, Hurricane; Dan Fox, Parkersburg; Logan Garrison, Capital; Ryan Gatrell, Huntington; Jarrell Green, Oak Hill; Jacob Grigsby, St. Albans; Tyler Hanson, Shady Spring; Preston Hepler, Logan; Shamar Ingram, Huntington; Will Jackson, Riverside; Khance Johnson, South Charleston; Seth Keith, Oak Hill; Clayton Marcum, Logan; Garrett May, Washington; Eric McCave, Wheeling Park; Nic Ossman, Brooke; Colin Peal, Point Pleasant; Zach Postin, Cabell Midland; Jay Richardson, South Charleston; James Richmond, Capital; Isaac Riggleman, Elkins; Will Rockis, Morgantown; Brendan Schwendeman, Parkersburg South; Jack Skidmore, George Washington; Trevor Tucker, Ripley; Brayden Underwood, Nitro; Ruan Venter, Morgantown; Aaron Walker, Brooke; Colby Webb, Spring Valley, Isaac Withrow, Winfield.