Philip Barbour, Elkins notch Big 10 awards
BRIDGEPORT — Philip Barbour and Elkins High players were included on the Big 10 All-Conference team, and the Colts’ leader was named the Conference Coach of the Year.
Hunter Mason, a PBHS senior, was recognized as the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year. Mason has been a leading tackler in the conference from his sophomore year on. During his final run for the Colts this year, he recorded 97 tackles, with 12 of them being for a loss. He forced 4 fumbles, and recovered a loose pigskin 4 times as well.
Russ Collett took over as the Colts’ new head coach last spring. After guiding PBHS to an 8-2 regular season for a Class AA playoff berth after the Colts had been blanked, 0-10 in 2016, Collett has been named this year’s Big 10 Conference Coach of the Year by his peers.
Longtime Philippi Middle head coach Nick Mayle moved up to varsity as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator on Collett’s staff. Additional assistant coaches included Marcus Johnson, Brandon Antion, Jeff Roy, Jamie Carpenter, Paul Gonzales, Frank Kyle, and Noah Shaffer.
For AA runner-up Fairmont Senior, the Polar Bears’ Bryson Gilbert was awarded Offensive Player of the Year. WVU commit Dante Stills, also a West Side Bear, garnered Lineman of the Year.
Four Elkins Tigers made the Big 10 First Team, with two EHS players garnering Second-Team nods.
With a leg that will be hard to replace, Elkins senior George Triplett, who is committed to the Naval Academy, nailed down the Big 10 Conference’s Punter of the Year award.
Garrett Smyton, an EHS senior offensive lineman. nabbed First-Team honors, as did fellow 12th-grader Zach Shreve on the defensive line. Junior Daniel Romans was recognized as a First-Team linebacker.
Thomas Talkington, a junior, was named a Second-Team running back, while senior Gabe Jordan was chosen as a Second-Team defensive back.
Under new head coach Evan Hott, Elkins shut the Colts out, 17-0, in week 2 when the Tigers opened their season on the road at George Byrer Field to hand PB their only home loss of the season at BC Bank Park. Recently moving from AAA to AA, the Fighting Tigers’ schedule still put them up against a buzz-saw of a slate that included contests against the likes of North Marion, Fairmont Senior, RCB, Bridgeport, and Lincoln, before romping 47-14 over AAA rival Buckhannon-Upshur to close out the schedule on the good foot.
Buckhannon’s Jonathan Warner and Lewis’s Ryan Metzgar were named Second-Team offensive linemen. Lewis County’s Jacob White was named a Second-Team running back.
Additionally for Philip Barbour, senior Hunter Gainer was named a First-Team defensive back. Fellow senior Matt McCoy garnered a Second-Team defensive back slot. Chase Collier as a junior, was named a Second-Team defensive utility player after posting more than 1,000 rushing yards this season.
Voting for Big 10 honors took place before the postseason began.