When the horn sounded at Liberty High School on Oct. 26 and the Lewis County Minutemen had just fallen to the Liberty Mountaineers 34-14 to end the regular season and saw their season record drop to 6-4 it looked as if the 2018 season had come to a close.
When the WVSSAC Rankings for Week 10 came out the following Tuesday, Lewis County checked in at Number 15 with one week of action left to play. The Minutemen had the week off while several teams closed out their regular seasons this past weekend. After play concluded this past weekend and the final WVSSAC Rankings came out on Saturday Lewis County earned the 16th place and qualified to make the Class AA Playoff field.
The Minutemen will be making their seventh playoff appearance in school history having made the field in 2001, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2017. This appearance is their first one since the 2014 season and also marks the first trip as a Class AA Team. The other six Lewis County appearances came as Class AAA participants. It also marks the first Minutemen appearance under Head Coach Dustin Cogar who is in his fourth season at the helm of his alma mater.
Lewis County will open the playoffs on the road when they travel to East-West Stadium, Saturday at 1:30 p.m., in Fairmont to take on the Number 1 seed Fairmont Senior Polar Bears who enter the contest with an unblemished 10-0 mark. The Minutemen and Polar Bears met each in Week 2 of the season with Fairmont Senior defeating Lewis County 53-7. This will be the 23rd meeting all time for the two Big Ten teams with Fairmont Senior holding the edge in the all time series 17-5. The Minutemen last defeated the Polar Bears in the 2014 season by a score of 23-7.
The trip to the state playoffs marks a huge turnaround for the Minutemen football program after going 1-9 in the 2017 season. Lewis County started the 2018 season against two of the top two seeds in the upcoming playoffs falling to Bridgeport 45-17 in Week 1 and Fairmont Senior in Week 2 53-7. Lewis County then made a trip to Elkins in Week 3 to face the 2-0 Elkins Tigers. The Minutemen began their turnaround when they defeated the Tigers 34-6 to get their first win of the 2018 season.
Then a pair of home games against Braxton County and Preston brought a pair of wins 21-12 over the Eagles and 41-7 over the Knights to put the Minutemen over the .500 mark for the first time this season at 3-2 with five games left to play. The winning streak would come to and end at Robert C. Byrd when the Flying Eagles defeated Lewis County 21-17.
Lewis County was a team that would not quit in games or the season the Minutemen returned home the next week and stopped their arch rivals the Buckhannon Upshur Buccaneers 14-6 to move their record to 4-3 on the season. Lewis County then closed out the home schedule with a 23-6 victory over North Marion to move to 5-3 with two games left to play. The Minutemen would get their third straight win when they downed Philip Barbour 10-0 to move to 6-3 on the season.
Lewis County ended its season with a 34-14 loss to the hand of the Liberty Mountaineers. Lewis County enters their playoff game with their 6-4 record and they scored 198 points on the season for an average of 19.8 points per game.
The Lewis County defense gave up 191 points for an average of 19.1 points per game. Out of the 191 points allowed by Lewis County 88 of those points came in the first two games of the season and only allowed 93 points during the eight game stretch when they went 6-2.
The Lewis County defense was a ball hawking unit that got 15 turnovers during the three wins over Buckhannon Upshur, North Marion and Philip Barbour. Lewis County would have 1830 yards rushing and 560 yards passing for a total of 2390 yards.
Regular Season Stats:
Marshall Hobbs 152-934-13 TDS; Chase Beam 58-278-1 TD; Caden Rohrbough 36-75-1 TD; Isaiah Burciago 71-441-4 TDS; Ryan Smith 21-101-1 TD; Shawn Moran 1-(-1); Hunter Blake 10-20 1 TD; Joe Spray III 4-5; Dylan Lawson 1-2; Aaron Beam 6-39- 1 TD; Seth Carpenter 1-0; Nic Kuhn 1-3; Totals 367-1830- 22 TDS
Lewis County Passing: Caden Rohrbough 47 of 103 for 560 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions; Nic Kuhn 0 of 1 for 0 yards; Totals 47 of 104 for 560 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions
Lewis County Receiving: Chase Beam 11-214- 1 TD; Marshall Hobbs 4-37; Hunter Rexroad 3-18; Aaron Beam 9-148- 1 TD; Isaiah Burciago 15-92- 1 TD; Nic Kuhn 5-51- 1 TD; Totals 47-560- 4 TDS
Lewis County Scoring: Jared Griffith 24 extra points 4 field goals 36 points; Marshall Hobbs 13 TDS 78 points; Ryan Smith 1 TD 6 Points; Chase Beam 2 TDS 12 points; Aaron Beam 2 TDS 12 Points; Hunter Rexroad 1 TD 6 Points; Isaiah Burciago 5 TDS 30 Points; Hunter Blake 1 TD 7 Points; Caden Rohrbough 1 TD 6 Points; Nic Kuhn 1 TD 6 Points; Totals 27 TDS 24 Extra Points 4 Field Goals 198 Points