Injuries force unusual hat trick for MHS lineman Garrett Culton

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Morgantown High football coach Matt Lacy has an ongoing dilemma.

Lacy’s Mohigans are known for a power run game and aggressive offensive style on the field, but such play hinges on a strong, consistent offensive line.

That unit has thus far played up to expectations in Lacy’s eyes, but it hasn’t been a smooth journey, and it doesn’t look as if it’ll be any less hectic as the season wears on.

MHS has featured a variety of looks across the front line offensively this year, as injuries and position changes have resulted in the need to toy with just who is taking the field.

“In the beginning of the season we had a pretty good idea of what our line would look like,” said senior lineman Garrett Culton. “But as the season progresses, things change.”

The depth chart has indeed changed multiple times, most recently following last week’s injury to senior center Jaden Wolfley, which saw Culton slide into the slot to keep the line running smoothly. The switch completed a lineman’s hat trick for Culton — he’ll have started at center, guard and tackle this season after Friday’s trip to Parkersburg South.

“He’s a real utility guy,” Lacy said. “It shows you his talent to be able to learn positions that are a little bit different. Plus, he’s had to learn how to snap the ball.”

Such responsibility could prove to be a strain on a high school athlete and hamper a lineman’s ability to play at their top ability, but Culton has helped use his wealth of experience on the line to make it work.

“The biggest challenge is remembering that to do on each position at each play. Sometimes i’ll have to double check whether I’m at guard or tackle,” he said. “It’s more mental than it is physical. But luckily I’ve been playing for four years so it’s not that terrible.”

Other players have also stepped in when needed, such as junior Tyler Wilson, who earned early starting time on the defensive line but was later called up as a starter on the offensive side, or senior Matteo Darmelio, who served as an H-back last fall before being asked to help on the offensive line this season. According to Lacy, it wasn’t even a question that needed asked.

“We asked him to move down to guard and he didn’t question it. He’s started five games now at guard. He’s a completely unselfish person. It really shows his character as a player,” Lacy said. “And it also shows the character of this team that kids are willing to move to wherever they’re need to help.”

Lacy said his offensive line has seen at least nine players rotate through the ranks and nab playing time this year, and he currently has a rotation of six healthy players that are ready for varsity action.

“They have their own individual assignments they have to play to play as a team, and when you’re shuffling them around that’s hard. They’ve done a good job of plugging in and gelling as a unit,” Lacy said. “I don’t think the scores have been indicative of how well we’ve done as an offensive line. Overall they’ve done a fabulous job this year.”

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