ST. MARYS, W.Va. - Jodi Mote knows that going undefeated is both rare and special.
Mote, who has been either playing or coaching football for most of his life, finally felt first-hand what it was like to go 10-0 when his St. Marys team won its final regular season game last Friday night at Doddridge County, beating the Bulldogs, 21-0.
That marked the fourth time in the history of St. Marys football a team has gone without a loss, joining the 1948 team coach by the legendary L.P. 'Horse' Ingram; the 1963 team that went undefeated and unscored upon coached by Bill Hanlin, a member of Mote's staff; and the 1984 team, the first year Steve Deem took over the program from Mote's father, Gail Mote.
JEFF BAUGHAN Special to The Times
Ravenswood’s Ben Johnson is gang tackled by St. Marys’ Bret Fetty, Ryan Miller, Corey Stewart, and David Gray on Nov. 1. St. Marys won, 12-0.
Jodi Mote was a member of the 1990 St. Marys team that won its first eight games and found itself paired against 8-0 Spencer. But the Yellow Jackets won that game, spoiling St. Marys' chance at football immortality.
That immortality has come this season as the Blue Devils have won the Class A championship of the Little Kanawha Conference.
"This is an honor," said Mote, who has resided in St. Marys since attending kindergarten. "It's an exciting time in St. Marys. People tell you to take a few minutes to stop and enjoy it. My challenge is to soak it in while preparing for the next opponent."
That would be East Hardy, which will bring a 7-3 record and a No. 15 ranking to Imlay Field come Friday night.
As the No. 2 seed, St. Marys will keep playing at Imlay Field either until it loses or it qualifies for the Class A state championship game. Mote notes that St. Marys will be getting a new school building and a new football stadium come 2015.
But he will concern himself with that later. For now, the focus is on East Hardy.
"They throw the ball a lot," Mote said. "They have speed. We had one of their players when we coached the North-South game and you could tell he was well coached. This will be a good matchup."
Mote said many factors have contributed to his team's perfect regular season.
"We've stayed healthy," he said. "The ball has bounced our way. And we've got great kids and a great staff. We've had 2-8 and 4-6 seasons here before, so we certainly have enjoyed going 10-0."
Ask Mote his biggest problem and he tells you that there is only one football allowed on the field. He's blessed to have four running backs who can take the football and run to the house at any time. David Gray, Noah Spitzer, Corey Stewart and Jeremy Pratt all are a threat to score every time they touch the football. Yet, they must share playing time and that football. All four understand that and have made the most of the opportunities that have come their way.
St. Marys has 46 players on its roster. That's a lot for a Class A school. But football is a tradition here as evidenced by its past success.
Come Friday night, empty seats at Imlay Field and nearby parking spaces likely will be scarce commodities.
This community is ready to celebrate its undefeated football team.