Coach: John H. Lilly
2020 Record: 6-3
Postseason: Advanced to Class AA quarterfinals ( def. Frankfort by Covid forfeit in first round, lost to state champion Fairmont 43=15 in the quarterfinals).
Offensive starters returning: 9 (OL Logan Isom, OL Mike Cheek, OL Braxton McKinney, OL/TE Aaron Shiflett, WR Judah Price, WR Cyrus Goodson, WR Trey Bowers, RB Atticus Goodson, TE Logan Lester).
Defensive starters returning: 10 (DL Braxton McKinney, DL Logan Isom, DL Parker Withrow, LB Logan Phalin, LB Jordan Harvey LB Logan Lester, DB Judah Price, DB Trey Bowers, DB Cyrus Goodson, DB Atticus Goodson.
Offense numbers: Rush 311.6; Pass 118.0; Total off 429.6; points
Defense ppg: 149 points,18.6 average
Review: It was really a two-part season for the Patriots, but at the end of the day coach John H. Lilly’s team finally knocked down the postseason door and played its first season on the beautiful new turf field at Independence High School.
Over the first half, led by 745 yards and 15 touchdowns from junior running back Atticus Goodson, the Patriots started 3-0 by three convincing wins over PikeView, River View and Shady Spring, . Independence ran into roadblocks in the form of Petersburg and Liberty and finished that first half 3-2. And then Independence played the waiting game,
After a three-week Covid layoff, the Patriots responded with victories over Nicholas and Lincoln.
Covid again jumped back in the picture and Independence received a first round forfeit over Frankfort.
They would lose to eventual state champion Fairmont in the Class AA quarterfinals but the game was closer than the 43-15 final indicated, considering the team was without two starting linemen.
Goodson finished as a first team all-state running back after he rushed for 1,618 yards and 25 touchdowns in just eight games. He topped 300 once and 200 three other times and scored a rushing touchdown in all eight games, including a career-best six against Shady Spring.
His brother Cyrus emerged as one of the areas top receivers with 15 catches for 431 yards six touchdowns. The Patriots did not throw often but they did so with success, Judah Price adding nine catches for 216 yards and a score and freshman Trey Bowers six for 170 and two. Atticus added seven catches for 129 and a touchdown.
The line helped lead the way to 311.6 yards rushing per game and 429.6 total yards per game total offense.
Players to watch: Atticus Goodson should be a contender for the Kennedy Award after averaging 200 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns a game. All three receivers, Cyrus Goodson, Bower and Price who are back after averaging over 20 yards per catch. Three of those make up the defensive backfield along with Goodson. Bower, a versatile player, is definitely a prospect to watch.
Players who will open eyes: Offense: WR Colten Caron. Defense: Tyler Linkswiler.
Rush: Atticus Goodson 155-1,618-25 TD 202/3 ypg, 10.4 ypc. Pass Isaiah Duncan 38-63-4940-10 Receive: Cyrus Goodson 15-431-6 TD 53.9 ypg, 28.6 ypc.
Preview: Goodson should very well could run his way into Kennedy contention, he was among those mentioned for the award given to the state’s top player, a year ago. With a physical running style and four offensive linemen returning to the fold a year stronger, the sky would seem, to be the limit for the 6-foot-2. 220-pound rising senior.
Goodson has rushed for 3,385 yards and 44 touchdowns in two seasons. Lilly at the beginning of last season Goodson is probably a better receiver than running back and he does have 26 career receptions for 477 yards and four touchdowns.
The biggest question just might be at quarterback, where the job done by Isaiah Duncan was probably underscored, at least by people outside the Independence program. The graduated senior threw for 940 yards and 10 touchdowns, throwing for over 100 yards in five straight games to start the season (a career high 204 and 3 touchdowns vs. rival Liberty).
And he added three rushing touchdowns over the last three games and had 69 yards rushing, his second-best output of the season.
The answer might be in rising senior Logan Phalin, who showed reliability especially in the run game and had three rushing scores, including a memorable jaunt against Lincoln County in the regular-season finale. He has grown and dedicated himself to Lilly’s off-season workout regimen.
If Lilly and staff really wanted to keep up defensive coaches at night, he could put Goodson behind center. There was a package for just that last fall and it should be remembered Goodson possesses a fine arm as well.
With the line returning nearly intact, along with being a year stronger in Lilly’s off-season weight program, and 10 players back on defense – including the entire secondary – Independence is looking for make a repeat trip to the postseason and stay around for a while longer.
9-4 PikeView 71-0 W
9-11 RiverView 55-8 W
9-18 Shady Spring 56-8 W
9-25 at Petersburg 24-50 L
10-2 Liberty 36-26 L
10-23 Nicholas County 42-0 W
10-30 Lincoln County 68-14 W
11-13 at Frankfort forfeit W
11-20 Fairmont Senior 15-43 L
8-27 at Liberty
9-17 Shady Spring
10-1 at Midland Trail
10-8 at Summers County
10-22 at Nicholas County
10-29 Wyoming East
Coaches Quote: You either get better or worse, but never stay the same. Which will it be?