Leader Times Q&A: West Shamokin's Andrew Wingard
Andrew Wingard and the West Shamokin football team are ready for their playoff debut.
The Wolves are the 14th seed in Class A and travel to face No. 3 Monessen on Friday for the first-ever postseason game in the 14-year history of West Shamokin football.
Wingard, a junior running back and linebacker, has played a crucial role in the team's success this season. He leads the team in rushing yards with 753 and receiving yards with 209, and his 12 touchdowns are also a team high. The junior is just as sound on the defensive side of the ball, as he led the team in tackles as a sophomore and has been all over the field again this year.
Wingard has performed against the best of competition — his scores on a 95-yard run and an 80-yard kickoff return against undefeated North Catholic are evidence of that — and he's striving for another big game against the highly ranked Greyhounds.
Q: What was it like after the Leechburg game, when you clinched a playoff spot?
A: It felt really good knowing it's the first time it had ever happened in our school's history. It was a really exciting night.
Q: Have any former West Shamokin or (its precursor) Shannock Valley players congratulated you?
A: The community has really come together and been supportive. Some of our older coaches used to play for Shannock, and they've been real supportive and happy for us.
Q: Was the seed and matchup expected?
A: We kind of expected to play Clairton or Monessen, someone like that.
Q: Have preparations for this week been different?
A: Our last two practices have probably been the most intense all year. Our scout team has stepped it up to get us prepared, and the starters have had to step up with that. It's been a great week of practice.
Q: What is the No. 1 thing to stop against Monessen?
A: We have to stop their run game. They have a real decent back (Clintell Gillaspie) who is real big. If we can stop him and get them to pass the ball, we should be in good shape.
Q: Regardless of the outcome, how great has the season been?
A: It's been phenomenal after being down low for so long. Starting with three wins last year was good, but this year has really lifted up the entire school.