2017-12-06 / Sports

Morgan Messenger & Hancock News 2017 All Area Football Team

Tobin Whittington named offensive Player of the Year Evan Wachter named defensive Player of the Year
by Jamie Harris
& Bill Sterner

The sports writers from The Morgan Messenger and The Hancock News partnered with the athletic directors and head coaches from Berkeley Springs High School, Hancock High School and Paw Paw High School to select an All Area team for the fall varsity sports that the teams compete in. With each all area team there will be a player of the year for both the male and female athletes selected by the sports writers.

On the gridiron, only Berkeley Springs High School and Hancock High School fielded football teams.

The Indians finished their season with a 6-4 record while the Panthers finished their season with a 3-6 record. On November 3 the Berkeley Springs Indians defeated the Hancock Panthers 63-0 in the season finale for both programs.

Berkeley Springs 6-4 record was the first winning season in 10 years for the Tribe and finished as the third highest scoring team in school history.

On the offensive side of the ball, it was heavily loaded with players from both teams.

On the offensive line from Berkeley Springs are seniors Mason Sipes (Jr. 6’5 305 lbs.), Desmond Bamber (6’1”, 225 lbs.), James Barnhart (5’11”, 225 lbs.) and Matt Cowles (5’11”, 180 lbs.).

Representing Hancock is senior Evan Wachter (6’3”, 255 lbs.).

Those five individuals were the key anchors to each team’s offensive line and opened up holes for their team’s run game and provided strong pass blocking.

The offensive backfield of the All Area Team includes Berkeley Springs senior quarterback Tobin Whittington who is repeating as The Morgan Messenger & Hancock News All Area Offensive Player of the Year. Whittington was the leading rusher and passer for the Tribe’s high octane offense. Whittington completed 145 passes out of 259 attempts for 2,110 yards and finished the season with 23 touchdown passes. Whittington also carried the ball 87 times for 684 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

Joining Whittington in the backfield is teammate freshman Peyton Thompson and senior Michael Hovermale.

Thompson burst onto the scene with some explosive runs and finished as the second leading rusher for the Indians with 321 yards and three touchdowns.

Hovermale missed the first half of the season for the Indians and it really hampered the Tribe’s running game. However, when the senior returned to the gridiron Hovermale was able to carry the ball 43 times for 252 yards and three rushing touchdowns.

Hancock placed senior running back Ethan Souders on the squad. Souders carried the ball 117 times for 879 yards and six touchdowns for the Panthers. Souders also saw duty as a quarterback for the Panthers and finished the season with 20 completions out of 49 attempts for 316 yards and three passing touchdowns.

The receivers are led by Berkeley Springs senior CJ Ryan. Ryan had a monster year for the Indians leading the Tribe with 51 receptions for 825 yards and 10 touchdowns. Ryan also had three punt returns for touchdowns. Ryan led the Indians with 84 total points.

Also representing the Indians are senior Josh Hartman (46 receptions for 636 yards and seven touchdowns) and junior Ty’Jae Armstrong (17 receptions for 325 yards and four touchdowns).

Hancock placed senior wide receiver Garrett Golden on the squad. Golden had 22 receptions for 351 yards and six touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, Hancock’s Evan Wachter was tabbed as the Defensive Player of the Year. Wachter recorded 91 tackles and 10 quarterback sacks in just nine games for the Panther defense.

Joining Wachter on the defensive line is Berkeley Springs big men senior Mason Sipes (39 tackles and one fumble recovery), sophomore Michael Hinkle (28 tackles) and junior Noah Kelly (24 tackles).

Manning the linebacker positions are Berkeley Springs seniors Matt Cowles (91 tackles, four fumble recoveries, and one interception. Cowles also returned a fumble for a touchdown.

Joining Cowles is senior teammate Patrick Raymond. Raymond finished the season with 28 tackles. Junior Trenton Ratcliff makes his first All Area team for the Indians. Ratcliff finished the season with 47 tackles for the Tribe.

Hancock’s Ethan Souders joins the linebackers. Souders was a Co-Defensive Player of the Year last season and was one of the Panthers main defensive players once again this season.

In the secondary the Indians placed seniors CJ Ryan (47 tackles and one fumble recovery), Tobin Whittington (29 tackles and four interceptions) and Josh Hartman (21 tackles and two interceptions). Joining the Berkeley Springs defensive backs from Hancock were senior Garrett Golden (six interceptions) and sophomore Reese McLean (79 tackles as a cornerback).

Berkeley Springs junior Remington Hiles joins the All Area team as the place kicker. Splitting time between varsity soccer and football Hiles came into his own as a place kicker for the Indians this season. Hiles connected on 31 extra point attempts and hit one field goal for the Tribe’s special teams to score 34 points.

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