Year of the Mohigans

MHS took home three team, one individual state title

BY ERIC HERTER The Dominion Post

With three team state titles over the school year, the end of one of the state’s longest football winning streaks and one individual state title, this past high school season was definitely the year of the Mohigans.
Morgantown High won state titles in girls’ cross country, girls’ swimming and girls’ basketball this past season while exchange student Diego Duran took home the state title in the Class AAA tennis finals.
“I think we really had a good year,” Morgantown high school athletic director Dan Erenrich said. “We won some state titles and I think we won seven or eight NCAC championships. Our boys’ basketball team reached the semifinals of the state tournament — we have been blessed and had some fine accomplishments this past year.”
And what’s the common denominator for the MHS success? The kids, the parents, the athletic director?
“The kids are part of it, but I think we have some very fine coaches who really work with the kids and care about the kids as well,” Erenrich said. “I think the other thing is these kids are competing in the off season and working harder than ever before.”
While it might have been the year of the Mohigan, the Hawks, Knights and Bearcats had their moments along the way also.
Aug. 26, 2006
The 2006 football season wasn’t supposed to start like this for the Mohigans.
Winners of 28 straight, MHS was expected to win handily over H.D. Woodson to open the year, but instead the Mohigans faced an unexpected bump in the road.
H.D. Woodson beat the Mohigans, 21-10, to open the year and end MHS’s winning streak.
The Mohigans were expected to challenge Ansted High’s state record of 36 consecutive victories, but the Washington, D.C., school took a 15-0 lead at halftime and turned a desperate situation into big plays.
“We haven’t seen athletes like that,” MHS head coach John Bowers said after the game.
“They had a sound game plan and then came up with more plays than we did. I offer no excuses. They simply beat us, that’s the bottom line.”
Oct. 28, 2006
University’s boys and Morgantown’s girls each won cross country state titles as Monongalia County became the cross country capital of West Virginia for at least a day. The MHS girls won their third consecutive crown to edge out NCAC rival Preston, while University narrowly defeated Wheeling Park.
“It’s really exciting,” MHS senior Monica Chase said.
“No team in our school has ever won three straight state titles. It’s the one thing we’ve all been focused on since the start of the season.” While the MHS title was expected, for UHS it was the first in school history.
“I don’t think this is something that will settle in right away,” UHS’s Eric Frohnapfel said.
“It’s something to think about. A few days from now, it’ll be like, ‘Wow, we actually won it.’”
Also on this day, University’s Amber Riley finally got the better of her rival Preston’s Kaylyn Christopher.
Riley won the Class AAA individual state title with a time of 19:41.29 to set a course record.
“I had one day, one chance to make it happen,” Riley said.
Nov. 24, 2006
Morgantown saw its dream of a football threepeat end when it lost to Parkersburg, 42-14, in the Class AAA state semifinal game.
The Mohigans, who began the season with a 28-game winning streak intact, proved susceptible to Parkersburg’s strong running attack as the Big Reds ran right through the MHS defense.
Matt Lindamood rushed for 192 yards, and Charlie Taylor added 70 more as Parkersburg had 314 yards on the ground to end MHS’s twoyear reign as the AAA state champ.
“The last two times these senior seasons have ended, it’s been with two state titles,” MHS head coach John Bowers said.
“How many teams can say that?”
Nov. 25, 2006
Grafton’s football team couldn’t pull off one last upset as it lost to Wayne, 14-7, in the Class AA state semifinals.
With 19 seconds left, quarterback Zach Stemple’s pass was intercepted to end any chance of a Bearcat comeback.
“When I saw him throw the ball and it land in Justin’s [Followay] hands, my heart dropped because I knew we were going back to Wheeling to play for a state championship,” Wayne’s Harry Sowards said.
Wayne racked up 297 rushing yards on 57 carries against the Bearcat defense as Grafton struggled to find any offense of its own.
Grafton finally got on the board with 4:17 to play when Jarod Shaw scored on a 3-yard run. Feb. 16, 2007
Even with the state title well in hand, the Morgantown girls’ swim team wanted to win the last race of the day. Despite a push from rival University in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Mohigans won the race and clinched the school’s second state title. Cortney Kisner led the way for the Mohigans as she brought the team from behind in the final relay. “I saw how far behind we were and I just said, ‘My gosh, I have got to do this.’”
Feb. 21, 2007
Trailing by 14 points at halftime of the Class AAA sectional, the Morgantown girls’ basketball team had the perfect plan — get behind even more. The Mohigans trailed by 19 points at one point in the third quarter before rallying, and then beating, rival University, 59-56, to win the sectional. As the Mohigans won the title, it set off a wild celebration by head coach Allan Collins. “That’s the hardest I have worked in a while. It was a great win and I just got caught up in the emotion,” Collins said after the win.
Feb. 24, 2007
Grafton’s Cameron Gallaher achieved perfection when he finished the 2006-07 wrestling season with a record of 50-0 and a state title at 152 pounds. Gallaher won the state title with a 7-0 win over Oak Glen’s Cody Miller. “It’s a great feeling,” Gallaher, a sophomore, said. “It’s every kid’s dream to come down here and win a state championship.”
March 10, 2007
No one expected the Morgantown High girls basketball team to win a state title this season.
No one except for coach Allan Collins and his players.
So when the Mohigans wrapped up the 2006-07 season with an unbelievable run to the state championship game and then won with a, 59-55, decision over Huntington, it surprised everyone except for Collins and his players.
“It’s special because of this group of kids who are so coachable and have worked so hard. We came down here, and I don’t think anybody expected this, but we did,” Collins said.
Sophomore Stephanie Michael scored 15 of her game high 27 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Mohigans to the title.
March 16, 2007
A brutal opening schedule left the Morgantown boys’ basketball team with a losing record, but by the end of the season there weren’t too many teams better than the Mohigans.
Morgantown turned its season around after a rough start and finished with a tough, 50-48, loss to South Charleston in the Class AAA state semifinals.
A desperation shot by J.T. Lewis was blocked by South Charleston at the buzzer to end any chance of a MHS comeback.
Of course South Charleston got the unfortunate task of facing Huntington, and O.J. Mayo, in the state title game one day later.
“We were 1-for-11 from 3-point range. Generally, we’re better than that. We shoot 38 percent for the year. We’d take 38 percent tonight and be happy,” MHS head coach Tom Yester said.
May 12, 2007
It took just three days for exchange student Diego Duran to become part of Morgantown High tennis history. Duran, from Cali, Colombia, won the Class AAA boys’ No. 2 singles state title with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Ross Evans of Huntington.
“The score really didn’t tell the story of the match, because it wasn’t easy,” Duran said.
The MHS boys team also finished runner-up in the state to George Washington.
May 19, 2007
Preston’s girls track team took advantage of the system and won its second state title.
The Knights, who didn’t win a meet all season long, captured the state title with 62 points to edge out Buckhannon-Upshur (60).
“When the general public sees we haven’t won a meet all season and then we win the state title, they’re probably wondering what’s going on,” said Preston’s Kaylyn Christopher, who wrapped up her prep career by breaking her own record in the 1,600 meters (4:55.85), and then also broke the state record in the 800 meters (2:13.67).
Preston’s Josh Feather also won the state title in the 1,600 run.
It was the fourth straight year a Preston boy had won the state title in the 1,600 and it was Feather’s second straight.

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post file photo
Morgantown High’s Elliott Law takes a shot in an NCAC game against Buckhannon-Upshur at the MHS gymnasium. The Mohigans advanced to the state tournament before losing to South Charleston.

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post file photo Stephanie Michael (facing camera) hugs teammate Brooke Andrews after Morgantown High’s girls’ basketball team defeated Huntington to capture the Class AAA state championship. The title was the fifth for MHS coach Allan Collins.