Turf Wars

Morgantown’s AAA football teams battle to be the best.

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Morgantown High School is no stranger to winning. With numerous state championship titles under its belt—the most recent in 2005—the Mohigans football team and Coach John Bowers look forward to more wins in 2011.

Bowers, who just entered his seventh season as head coach, says his athletes are persistent and unwavering. “Our goals are never going to change,” he says. “We want to win our conference championship in the OVAC (Ohio Valley Athletic Conference) and qualify for the play-offs. We want to practice on Thanksgiving Day, which would mean we are in the semi-finals for the state championship, and we want to play on the first Saturday in December at Wheeling Island Stadium, competing for the state championship game.”

The accomplishments of Morgantown High’s football team stems from talented, well-prepared athletes and an environment that fosters success. Bowers says the Morgantown community plays a major role in the team’s achievements. “We’ve won multiple state championships and produced a tremendous amount of athletes who have gone to play at the next level,” he says. “Morgantown is a sports crazy town and we wouldn’t have everything we have if it wasn’t for WVU. We’re sharing the limelight, but it doesn’t mean that we’re neglected.”

Brothers Terry and Tommy Bowden are among a few of Morgantown’s athletes who have enjoyed playing time beyond high school. Terry coaches at the University of North Alabama; Tommy coaches at Clemson University; and both played West Virginia University football in the ’70s.

Bowers’ athletes strive for excellence on and off the field as members in organizations such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “We do things to make the kids better people,” Bowers says. “We establish a good work ethic, attention to detail, and the toughness factor. When they’re out there on the job and being fathers, we want them to do things the right way.”

Bowers says he knows the abilities of cross-town program University High School, but competition is good-natured. “We’ve got two excellent AAA schools in the same town and both have a tradition,” he says. “You can have side by side neighbors who go to different schools, yet they go to church together and play community ball together. There’s a certain rivalry, but I would say it’s a friendly rivalry.”

On a team that thrives off of natural speed, senior utility player Kevin Minehart, junior running back Conner Leone, and junior Jalen Thomas stand out on the 65-man roster and provide leadership at game time. But Bowers’ athletes show camaraderie, too. “They enjoy being around each other and going to battle with each other,” Bowers says.


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