Senior Quin Thompson wants to see culture change with football team

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As Morgantown High senior Quin Thompson spoke to his teammates following Tuesday morning’s practice at Pony Lewis Field, it was hard not to sense a touch of bitterness in his voice.

He had a message for his teammates, fueled by two consecutive seasons of struggle on the gridiron.

“You want to know why we’ve had two straight losing seasons? This is why,” Thompson told his teammates.

“We need to focus up tomorrow and come in with a positive attitude. We all need to go hard enough that both you and the person in front of you gets better. That’s going to make the team better. We come in tomorrow, no goofing off, and we work hard. Got it?”

The senior running back, wide receiver and defensive back was responding to teammates who were chatting and laughing as the coaching staff attempted to wrap up the session — actions that Thompson views as part of a larger care-free and unfocused attitude that has invaded the program in recent seasons.

“During practice, no one was listening. There were a bunch of people sitting around talking in the back and when they were asked to go in, they didn’t,” Thompson said. “The coaches got mad and they made us run.

“To me, it’s just the frustration that they’re starting to turn to that culture that was here my sophomore and junior year at MHS, and I don’t want that to happen again.”

The Mohigans have a combined record of 9-13 the last two seasons — with two first-round losses in the playoffs. That’s uncommon territory for a MHS program that has had success in the past.

The issue of player attitudes arose last fall as well when the Mohigans hit a three-game losing skid midseason, which brought them on the verge of missing the postseason.

“My sophomore year things started going downhill because people started thinking they were the best,” Thompson said. “They didn’t want to play as a team. I want people to come out here and put in that work they need.

“It’s what I told the other coaches,” MHS assistant coach Sammy Lusk said. “That’s something we need. It hasn’t always been here for this program these past couple of years and to see kids like Quin want to make a change in the culture is a good thing.”

Lusk said the staff has discussed the issue over the past year, and has made a pointed effort to create an atmosphere that promotes a better mentality.

“We took a better initiative in the offseason and we decided that we wanted to set a different standard for this team,” he said. “We drilled that into their heads and they took it and ran with it. This group wants to be different and we’re seeing that a little bit.”

This year, Thompson wants to address and eliminate the problem early, which he sees as key to avoiding a similar situation to last season.

“If we work on it now, we won’t have to focus on it later,” he said. “If we hit it now, that first game we will be together — instead of finally realizing after the fourth or fifth game that things aren’t so hot and the senior leaders need to step up.”