By Dave Morrison
Wyoming East four-year starter at center Josh Reilley knew he was in the right place when, while attending a try-out style combine at Concord, Mountain Lions coach Dave Walker called out his number.
Reilley ran over to the Pineville native who told him “I’m trying to get some Wyoming County boys up here.”
Reilley’s response was quick. “I told him, ‘I’ll be ready.’”
He definitely was ready and signed with the Mountain Lions recently, along with teammate Caleb Bower.
Reilley will be a defensive lineman when he reports to the team but he will always be remembered as a four-year starter at Wyoming East. If the best ability is availability, Reilley had that in spades. He never missed a game, starting 36 straight contests, including all five of his covid-shortened senior season.
“Coming up through high school I was always better at offense than I was defense, and I never got a chance at defense,” Reilley said. “I love defense, I’ll probably like that more than offense.”
Still, he will be the most difficult replacement as the Warriors move forward in 2021.
“Josh means everything to the program,” coach Jimmy Adkins said. “We had a coaches meeting this week discussing on who we were going to have to try to fill in at center this year and it was hard for us to decide on that. I said this earlier this year and and I’ll continue to say it: I think Josh is probably the most underrated kid in southern West Virginia. He has great work ethic. He’s yes-sir, no-sir. I’m happy for him.”
Which is why making the move to to defensive line won’t be a total challenge to the 6-foot, 240-pound Reilley.
“Yes and no at the same time,” he said of the challenge. “I’m quick off the ball so I feel like I can be pretty good at that. I’m going to use strength but I’m going to focusing on a lot of speed.”
Actually, he did play on the defensive line this season, and was second on the team averaging 9.6 tackles per game (48 total) with seven tackles for a loss of yardage with three sacks and a fumble recovery.
The second-team all-state offensive lineman said he picked Concord for myriad reasons.
“The campus is beautiful (which happens to be one of the nicknames of the school, The Campus Beautiful, they have what I want to major in (Criminal Justice) and the coaches seem like they do things right, they have a great work ethic.”
Wyoming East finished the season 1-4, that first win coming in the 51-24 victory against River View on Oct. 2. They Warriors, the first team in the state to reach four games played 10 days earlier, were done, as the county struggled to get out of the red on the now defunct covid reopening map.
“It sucked because I felt like our team could have done a lot more, we just had starting playing our best football,” Reilley said. “We got a new coaching staff so we had to get adjusted to things. We finally started getting adjusted to it in that fifth game.”
Reilley actually moved around on the line as the coaching staff worked to find the right chemistry.
“I was trying to do whatever it took to win so I was going wherever they told me to go,” Reilley said.
Reilley said his immediate goals was to get started in his major and hopes to become a DNR Officer after graduation.