VAN, WV (WOWK) – Located just 12 miles south of Madison in Boone County, Van is rooted in its football tradition.

Despite being one of the smallest schools in West Virginia, the Bulldogs continue to excel on the field, completing an undefeated regular season in 2022 and making the state playoffs.

“It’s an exciting thing to watch,” senior Gavin Branham said. “Small town coming together to watch a good football team. It’s a lot of fun. The crowd helps us get going.”

Van fielded just 18 players at one point last season. This year’s numbers are slightly better at 21. Like many small towns Van is struggling to keep its population and finding players continues to be a problem.

“We don’t have the luxury of having a freshman standing on the sideline and grooming to maybe his junior, senior year,” Head Coach Mark Agosti said. “We don’t have enough kids to do [junior varsity]. These kids get thrown into the fire, and a lot of time, they’re a junior or senior they’ve got twice the playing time of other schools we played.”

Many of those kids play both offense and defense. Despite the low numbers, the team continues to find ways to win on the field.