MASON, W.Va. — The Wahama White Falcons lit up scoreboards all over West Virginia last season. Wahama scored 47 points or more ten times. The Falcons went 11-1, advancing to the Class A quarterfinal round.
“We had a lot of seniors last year who had played a lot of football who started probably since their freshman and sophomore years,” said Wahama head coach James Toth. “We thought we were going to be good last year. We were very proud of what we accomplished with going undefeated for the sixth time in school history. It was a big deal to us.”
A dozen seniors have graduated and that list includes their top three tacklers.
“I am definitely seeing guys stepping in,” said Wahama senior quarterback Sawyer Vanmatre. “Our think our underclassmen coming up, I think they are willing to put in the work. I think they are willing to listen. As long as they do that, I think we will be just fine.”
Senior quarterback Sawyer Vanmatre returns after a junior season where he accounted for 2,660 yards of total offense and 50 total touchdowns.
“He has grown quite a bit,” Toth said. “He is about 6-3 now. He is about 215 pounds, up from about 190-195 last year. It is good weight, it is muscle. He’s going to have to carry more of the load than last year. He had a lot of seniors he could lean on. This year, this is his ball team.”
Junior running back Connor Lambert was the team’s second leading rusher as a sophomore. He toted the ball for 1,128 yards on just 75 carries and he found the end zone 15 times.
“Connor set the record last year for average per carry at our school at almost 15 yards per carry,” Toth said. “He wasn’t very big so we didn’t give him the ball a lot. He has put on some good weight. He has made tremendous strides, probably the best strides of any offseason guy in the weight room.”
“It is great to have Connor in the backfield. It is great knowing that whenever I get him the ball, I know he can make a move and he can get a few extra yards every play,” Vanmatre said.
In addition to last year’s success on the gridiron, several other teams at Wahama earned regional and state titles over the last twelve months.
“A lot of programs — state champion in softball and baseball — the basketball team made the state tournament for the first time in forever. And our football team is back on track,” Toth said.
“Our team goal is to make at farther in the playoffs than last year,” Lambert said. “If we have that goal every year, we will eventually make it to Wheeling and make it to the state championship.”