Tucker County has a wealth of youth, senior leaders this season

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Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:48 PM EDT
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TUCKER COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Tucker County football has a wealth of youth at its disposal this season.

Tucker County has 13 freshmen players on its roster this season. Alongside the young squad, there’s a group of senior leaders that have been playing together since their first tackles.

“We’ve been together through thick and thin. We have each other’s backs,” senior Hayden Smith said. “We’ve got numbers in case someone gets hurt. We’ve got numbers to fill in. We’ve got a good handful of skilled guys coming up. We have 13 freshmen. We got it, we’re going to be pretty decent this year.”

With a team that has so much experience playing together, the senior leaders of the team are hoping to leave a mark while also contributing to the future of the program.

“We’ve been playing together for a long time. Had a lot of rough years the past few years. A lot of losing. We look, this year, to turn that around,” senior Jakob Barret said.

The Mountain Lions community is rich with development. Enrollment for youth football is at a high despite the fallout in most counties.

“In the last several years, football itself has been taking a hit,” Coach Rapp said. “Our little league now, I think, has 100 players and three teams. From flag to b-team A-team, you know, it kind of stair steps up. Middle school, we all use the same field. These kids have played a pile of football on this field. We were talking about it last night. Some of these kids here, they practice after us. They said, ‘Hey, that’s the same jersey I wore growing up.’ and that’s great. They play together from year to year to year.”

After last season’s top seed upset in the single A playoffs, teams are on watch. Everyone knows that all you need is a chance to go all the way.

“Everybody’s goal is to be in that top 16 at the end of the year,” Coach Rapp said. “If you’re 17 you’re out of luck, but if you’re 16 you have a chance. And that’s our goal, to get to that chance.”