North-South Classic: Fairmont's Gilbert brings title game experience to North Bears

Fairmont Senior star Bryson Gilbert talks about competing in the upcoming WCHS-TV/FOX-11 North-South Football Classic. (WCHS/WVAH)

One of the standouts in the North Bears’ camp this week hails from the city of Fairmont, the friendly city.

Bryson Gilbert is a standout for the Polar Bears, not just in football, but also in basketball. He hopes to shine for the North Bears in the WCHS-TV/FOX-11 North South Football Classic at South Charleston High School.

Coverage begins at 12 p.m. Saturday on WCHS-TV and online here. There also will be a parade at 3:30 p.m. Friday that will be streamed on our station's Facebook page here.

Playing for championships, that is the goal, or at least it should be for every competitor. Bryson Gilbert knows all about that life. While at Fairmont Senior, his Polar Bears have played in the state boys state basketball championship game four times, winning twice. And the boys football championship game, two more times.

“Each year was a different experience,” Gilbert said. “The years we won were the best. This year, when we lost in football and basketball, there’s always things you wish you could have done and had a different outcome, but you’ve got to live with the consequences. The feeling and all the emotions we weren’t through, I wouldn’t trade for the world.”

Now a new experience for Gilbert, playing the WCHS-TV/FOX-11 North South Football Classic at South Charleston High School – an opportunity Gilbert thinks he will cherish forever.

“It means everything. It’s a great opportunity. I talk to all my coaches about it. They say it’s going to be one of the best weeks in your life, so I’m just going down to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Gilbert played for a bunch of great coaches – four years of lessons learned from Dave Retton on the basketball court. Two different coaches on the football field – J.L. Abbott and Nick Bartic. All different personalities, but men who Gilbert loved to play for during his time at Fairmont.

“They’re all different characters, but they are guys who grow onto you, and you learn to love them. There’s not a thing you wouldn’t do for them because you know they would do anything for us,” Gilbert said.

While Gilbert was a standout basketball player, football is where his future lies. And he will not have to travel far as the wide receiver will play for Fairmont State University. Staying home is something Gilbert is excited about.

“I get to stay home and see my family. My friends in high school can come see me. It just means a lot,” he said.

But first, one final time on the high school stage, and a win against the South would mean a lot as well.

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