Morgantown hosts Linsly on Senior Night for final playoff push

MORGANTOWN — For the past four years, a special group of players at Morgantown High School have displayed unparalleled resiliency. 

The group entered high school with the hiring of a new football coach, but also a worldwide pandemic that altered everything.

Now, the 25-member senior class prepares for its Senior Night this week on Pony Lewis Field at J.W. Ruby Stadium.

“They’re a tremendous group,” said MHS head coach Sean Biser, in his fourth year at the helm. “I’m blessed to have these guys as our senior class. They’re the first class that has been with us all four years. They’ve done everything that was asked of them. From Day 1, they bought into what we were building and helped change the culture. We’re definitely going to miss them when they graduate. I don’t think you can replace those kids. We’ll get a new group in and we’ll try to get them to match the effort of these guys. It’s a tall task because this is such a special group.”

While graduation isn’t until May 2024, the hope is that this football season continues to roll on for the next several weeks. The Mohigans can solidify their spot in the WVSSAC Class AAA playoffs, and likely secure a first-round home game, with a win tonight against Linsly.

The Cadets are 4-5, coming in off a 28-21 loss to Bridgeport. 

Morgantown is currently No. 10 in the playoff standings with a 12.69 rating. Only two other teams, No. 5 Jefferson and No. 7 Spring Mills, have a 7-2 record, like Morgantown.

“We can’t worry about the playoffs,” Biser said. “The playoffs will take care of themselves. We have a quality team coming in here. Watching them on film, they’re really good. We have a big challenge coming up this week before we can worry about anything else beyond that.”

In the recent loss to Bridgeport, Linsly was led by quarterback Braden Wade, who was 21 for 33 passing for 245 yards. His top targets are Melte Feil and Luca Trollous. The Cadets are certainly a pass-first team. Against Bridgeport, they were limited to just six yards rushing.

“Their record doesn’t show how good they are, but you see what they can do and you come away pretty impressed,” Biser said.

Linsly is not sanctioned by the WVSSAC, so it is not eligible for postseason play. This year, the Cadets have faced a tough regular season schedule which has included powerhouse teams from throughout the tri-state area like Dover (Oh.), Steubenville (Oh.), Trinity (Pa.) and now Bridgeport and Morgantown to close out the season.

“They don’t have a playoff or anything like that, so this is it for them,” Biser said. “They’re going to give us everything they got. They’re going to be ready to play and we have to be ready ourselves.”

Last year, the Cadets went 10-1 and claimed the OVAC 3A title with a season-ending 31-20 win against Morgantown.

“Last year is last year,” Biser said. “We just focus on being the best we can be right now. That’s what we do.”

The Mohigans are riding a two-game winning streak entering the regular season finale. Two weeks ago, they blanked John Marshall 48-0 and they are coming off an emotional MoHawk Bowl victory, 26-18, against University last week. 

Morgantown has qualified for the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

The group of seniors has been building for this moment to get back for a third.

“They were a very competitive group as freshmen and you could see the talent there,” Biser said of the senior class, back in 2020. “They had to get bigger, stronger and more mature. They really developed. That says a lot about the kids who have stuck it out through so many changes. None of that was easy, but they stuck with it, bought in and continued to grow.”