NEW MARTINSVILLE - Wahama senior Zack Wamsley is a man of few words, but when the White Falcons standout speaks, everyone listens.
"I wouldn't want the game in anybody's else's hands, but mine," Wamsley said following No. 3 Wahama's 10-7 victory over No. 2 Magnolia. "That's not to take anything away from my teammates, because we wouldn't have been in that position if it hadn't been for them.
"I just have that much faith in myself."
Photo by Alex Kozlowski
Magnolia’s Jacob Brill breaks through the Wahama defense during their Class A semifinal game. The White Falcons won, 10-7
That faith paid off Saturday afternoon at Magnolia High School as Wamsley's 27-yard field goal with 25.3 seconds left in the game broke a 7-7 tie and returned the Mason Countians to the Class A championship game for the second time in three years with a 10-7 victory over the No. 2 Blue Eagles.
"To be honest, we haven't even given it (the championship game) any thought," said Wahama head coach Ed Cromley. "When you get to this stage, if you make the mistake of looking ahead, you're collecting uniforms on Monday."
Instead, Cromley and his White Falcons, who lost to Wheeling Central in the 2010 title game, will prepare to No. 4 Madonna, a 20-14 double-overtime winner over No. 1 Tucker County in Saturday's other semifinal.
CLASS A SEMIFINALS
No. 3 Wahama 10, No. 2 Magnolia 7
Wahama (13-0) 0 0 7 3 - 10
Magnolia (11-2) 0 7 0 0 - 7
Magnolia: Tanner Hanna 1 run (Clemens Raitmayr kick) 9:41 2nd
Wahama: Crandale Neal 54 pass from Trenton Gibbs (Zack Wamsley kick) 10:50 3rd
Wahama: Wamsley 27 field goal 25.3 4th
Wahama: First downs: 8. Rushes-yards: 39-88. Passing yards: 63. Total yards: 147. Passing: 2-2-0. Fumbles-lost: 4-2. Punts-average: 3-36.0. Penalties-yards: 6-45.
Magnolia: First downs: 12. Rushes-yards: 35-99. Passing yards: 90. Total yards: 189. Passing: 7-11-2. Fumbles-lost: 7-2. Punts-average: 2-33.5. Penalties-yards: 5-55.
Wahama: Rushing: Kane Roush 11-61, Zack Wamsley 11-41. Passing: Trenton Gibbs 2-2-0, 63 yards, 1 TD. Receiving: Crandale Neal 1-54, TD; Austin Cole 1-9.
Magnolia: Rushing: Drew Keller 14-76, Kage Rohde 13-54. Passing: Tanner Hanna 7-11-2, 90 yards. Receiving: Stephen Rogalski 4-84.
Next game: Wahama will meet Madonna at Wheeling Island Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 for the Class A state title
No. 1 Cabell Midland 28, No. 8 Spring Valley 26
No. 5 Morgantown 35, No. 4 Huntington 14
No. 2 Martinsburg 50, No. 10 Musselman 7
No. 3 George Washington 41, No. 11 Lewis County 14
No. 1 Cabell Midland 35, No. 5 Morgantown 28
No. 2 Martinsburg 63, No. 3 George Washington 14
Super Six State Championship
No. 1 Cabell Midland (13-0) vs. No. 2 Martinsburg (12-1), noon Saturday, Dec. 1
No. 1 Wayne 47, No. 9 Nicholas County 0
No. 4 Robert C. Byrd 34, No. 5 Bluefield 20
No. 3 Bridgeport 28, No. 6 Frankfort 0
No. 2 Keyser 53, No. 7 Scott 8
No. 1 Wayne 18, No. 4 Robert C. Byrd 0
No. 2 Keyser 42, No. 3 Bridgeport 14
Super Six State Championship
No. 1 Wayne (13-0) vs,. No. 2 Keyser (12-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30
No. 4 Madonna 29, No. 4 St. Marys 14
No. 1 Tucker County 48, No. 8 Clay-Battelle 14
No. 2 Magnolia 19, No. 7 East Hardy 14
No. 3 Wahama 21, No. 6 Greenbrier East 12
No. 4 Madonna 20, No. 1 Tucker County 14, 2 OTs
No. 3 Wahama10, No. 2 Magnolia 7
Super Six State Championship
No. 3 Wahama (13-0) vs. No. 4 Madonna (12-1), 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
"This is great, but it is especially great for our seniors," continued Cromley. "Trenton (Gibbs), Zack (Wamsley) and Crandale (Neal) have really dedicated themselves to this season and their leadership has been key to our team's success this year."
The trio, as well as junior running back Kane Roush, were key to the White Falcons' victory on Saturday.
Trailing 7-0 at the intermission, Wahama took the second half kickoff and needed only three plays to even the score when Gibbs, who completed both of his passes against the Blue Eagles, found a wide open Neal behind the Magnolia secondary for a 54-yard score with 10:50 showing on the third quarter clock.
Wamsley's PAT knotted the contest at seven and appeared as if it would be the final points of regulation until a fumble recovery by the visitors' Garrett Miller gave Wahama a first-and-10 at the White Falcons' 45.
Six runs and one 9-yard completion to Austin Cole later, Wahama found itself with a first-and-goal at the Blue Eagles' 9.
Back-to-back procedure calls, however, put the White Falcons at the 19 facing a first-and-goal with less than 90 seconds to play.
A 3-yard run by Neal and a 6-yard loss when Gibbs was sacked for the seventh time in the game, placed the Mason Countians in a third-and-long situation with 30 seconds remaining.
"At that point all we wanted to do was run a play and get as many yards as we could, but most importantly keep the ball in the middle of the field for Zack," said Wamsley.
A 12-yard run by Roush, who finished with 61 yards on 11 carries, did exactly that -placing the ball at the Magnolia 10.
Wamsley, who had hit on both his field goal attempts during the regular season, made the most of his shortened attempt, drilling the 27-yarder through the uprights for the winning points.
"We had all the faith in the world with him (Wamsley)," said Cromley. "He has hit them from 45 yards out in practice and his long is 35 yards, so we knew if we could get it off, he could hit it."
He did and then sophomore Timmy Gibbs recovered the ensuing kickoff to end any chance of a miracle finish by the Blue Eagles (11-2).
Defense wins championships and No. 2 Magnolia had its defense working on Saturday as the Blue Eagles limited Wahama to three first downs and only 14 total yards in the first 24 minutes to take a 7-0 lead to the locker rooms at the intermission.
Playing most of the opening half in the White Falcons' territory, Magnolia finally lit up the scoreboard when Tanner Hanna culminated a 9-play, 50-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge with 9:41 left in the second quarter. Clemens Raitmayr added the PAT and the Blue Eagles had the lead, 7-0.
Those would be the only points of the half as both prevent units came up with big plays.