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GWellswalk

Marshall quarterback Grant Wells arrives during the Thunder Walk before the Herd’s home opener against North Carolina Central on Sept. 11. Wells and the Herd face Appalachian State Thursday night in Boone, N.C.

HUNTINGTON — For Marshall quarterback Grant Wells, it isn’t uncommon for him to be walking through the halls of the Shewey Building on campus and hear a teammate yell “G-Dub.”

Given his name, it’s a fitting moniker for the Thundering Herd’s starting quarterback.

Wells joked, though, that many who do it don’t know that he was able to proudly don his initials on his helmet every Friday night in high school, having gone to George Washington High School in Charleston.

“They still call me that — some people here,” Wells said. “They don’t realize that it was my high school. It’s funny to hear.”

On Thursday night, however, if someone yells “G-Dub,” there are likely to be several heads turn as George Washington High School will be well represented when Marshall travels to Appalachian State for a 7:30 kickoff at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina.

The game, which will be broadcast on ESPN, will not only feature Wells, but also App State head coach Shawn Clark and freshman kicker Michael Hughes — both of whom are former Patriots now with the Mountaineers.

It makes for fun banter and even a source of pride for the high school in Charleston.

“I was talking to [GW] Coach [Steve] Edwards the other day and we were talking about how funny this game is with Coach Clark,” Wells said. “Obviously, it’s the first time I’ll have gotten to see Michael in a while, too, so it’ll be good to catch up.”

While there is a correlation to the Charleston-based high school, Wells said that is the furthest thing from his mind.

Instead, Wells has to figure out how to finish drives for the Herd offense against a talented Appalachian State defense that returns many high-profile starters, including defensive end Demetrius Taylor, linebacker D’Marco Jackson and cornerback Shaun Jolly.

“There’s a lot more on my plate than that,” Wells said. “I’ll probably talk to those two after the game if we get a chance, but that’s definitely not my priority right now.”

Wells is coming off a career-high 433-yard performance in the 42-38 loss to East Carolina that saw the Herd with chances to put up nearly 60 points if execution had been solid.

Marshall wide receiver Corey Gammage fumbled away a would-be touchdown in the third quarter, then the Herd had three drives inside the ECU 25-yard line in the fourth quarter that all came away with no points.

The inefficiency is something Marshall head coach Charles Huff spoke of this week in leading up to the contest with App State.

“This turnover thing is becoming a habit,” Huff said. “It’s not something that’s sporadically happening, and it’s not one person or one group. It’s something that’s happening across the board.”

Since his arrival in January, Huff has spoken of creating a culture of winning with Marshall, which means executing at a high level while eliminating those mistakes from the first three games.

In his news conference on Tuesday, Huff said that culture is exactly what he sees when looking at App State’s program.

“It’s going to be a challenge — phenomenal environment, phenomenal football team, phenomenal football culture,” Huff said. “That’s what I told the guys when we did our pre-scout. This program that we’re going to play has been a successful program for a long time.”

App State’s success extends to the field where, offensively, running backs Camerun Peoples and Nate Noel are both in the top 50 in FBS in yards per game while quarterback Chase Brice has three solid targets to throw to in Thomas Hennigan, Corey Sutton and Malik Williams.

Grant Traylor is the sports editor of The Herald-Dispatch and covers Marshall athletics for HD Media. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.