When the 2006 season was in full swing, there was a reason that the Indians started off to a 7-0 start. And that reason was wearing number 36.
Whether it was on the offensive side of the ball where he ran with fury, or on the defensive side of the ball where he hit his foes with the same amount of angry force, Aaron Echard was a player that opposing teams circled when scouting game film. When game time rolled around, it was safe to say that many of those same players were busy avoiding Echard at all costs.
By season’s end, Echard had left a wake of bodies in his path for the 8-3 Indians. Plenty of people took notice of that as he managed to earn Class AAA all-state first team honors at linebacker, he was first-team All-Harrison County, the captain of the All-Big 10 Conference Team, as well as All-North Central West Virginia.
“He was just a punishing, tough kid,” said one of the analysts shaping this 40 for 40 roster. “He was hard-nosed and strong. You could tell he was born to be a football player.”
Echard, a three-year letter winner, didn't leave his toughness to just the football field. He also was a standout wrestler for the Indians during his junior campaign. During that season he earned a state tournament berth.
Echard is a former 1,000-yard rusher for the Indians, as well. In that 2006 season, he ran for 1,005 yards. He finished his career with 1,570 yards on 230 carries. That comes out to an impressive average of 6.8 yards per carry. Among his showings were seven 100-yard games.
“The thing that always stuck out to me was that he worked so hard at it and he was extremely dedicated to the game,” the analyst said. “He went on to play in college football and had a pretty impressive career at the next level.”
Echard did, in fact, play collegiately in the West Virginia Conference. He was a contributor, and starter for more than one year, at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Editor's Note: Photo courtesy of the Bridgeport High School journalism department and director Mrs. Alice Rowe. Connect-Bridgeport would like to thank Mrs. Rowe for her cooperation in assisting with the 40 for 40 series and providing archives necessary to move the project forward. Information regarding number of letters earned, where listed, based on photos from former programs involving returning letter winners.
Link to Blog explaining selection process, and other information about this series:
Link to #40 on the "40 for 40" list.