A strong second half paces Yellowjackets
NEW MARTINSVILLE — In the first two weeks of the 2018 prep football season, Williamstown has taken on the top two teams in West Virginia. The Yellowjackets’ second foray into the Class A minefield turned out a lot more to Coach Terry Smith’s liking.
Carter Haynes scored on three short touchdown runs and the Williamstown (1-1) defense held No. 2 Magnolia (1-1) without a second-half first down until late in the contest during a 20-8 victory Friday night at Alumni Field inside Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium. The Yellowjackets were coming off a shutout loss at the hands of defending champ and No. 1 Wheeling Central.
”Our guys knew we got beat pretty bad last week but we had a good week of practice,” Smith said. ”I just wonder how really, really good Wheeling Central is. We felt it.
”My hat’s off to the seniors. They worked hard this week and didn’t miss a beat. I’m not surprised we won, and we didn’t squeak it out.”
Despite gaining 55 yards and three first downs in the first half, Williamstown had a 7-6 lead at halftime thanks in part to the Blue Eagles continually shooting themselves in the foot.
Magnolia turned the ball over five times overall — three fumbles — and committed 10 penalties that cost it 75 yards.
After the teams traded punts to open the second half, the Yellowjackets took over at the 50 with an even 9 minutes to go in the third quarter. It needed 10 plays and a pass-interference call in the end zone to get the necessary yardage, but when Haynes busted in from the 5, Williamstown grabbed a 14-6 advantage.
”We played that first game turnover-free but (Friday) it seemed like every time we got something going we would fumble it, have a bad snap or penalties on third down,” Magnolia coach Dave ”Doc” Chapman said. ”We got outplayed.
”Turnovers, yes, they are self-inflicted. But (the Yellowjackets) fought the fight. Every time we got the fight going back a little bit, something would happen.”
Magnolia took control at the Williamstown 41 on the ensuing possession, thanks to a 36-yard kickoff return from Jason Beisel. But a bad snap cost the Blue Eagles 10 yards on second down and Pat Mirandy was picked off by Williamstown junior Kole Sutton on the next play.
The Yellowjackets put it away on the next drive, moving 67 yards in 15 plays. Spanning the final 2:49 of the third and part of the fourth, the march at up almost 10 minutes of action. Haynes did the honors again, going in for his second 5-yard score and third touchdown overall.
”Carter is just always there. He’s a rock … gets beat up and keeps ticking,” Smith said. ”The problem is, we’ve got to have another play where we can take the ball out of his hands a little bit.”
Chapman said that drive was a back-breaker.
”I don’t know how long it was, but it had to be over 8 minutes,” he said. ”It takes it out of you.
”Defensively you just can’t get off the field.”
Mirandy attempted to lead Magnolia back, connecting with Dakota Litton for 21 and Sebastian Stickler for another 10 yards. After a penalty, he found sophomore Logan Beegle for a gain of 39 but the ball was stripped at the end of the play, with Williamstown’s Mason Deem falling on it at the 2.
The Blue Eagles got to within 20-8 when the defense rose up for a safety, but Sutton came up with his second interception following the free kick to seal a victory.
”It’s 7-6 at the half but I just didn’t feel it,” Chapman said. ”Even in pregame I didn’t feel like we had any energy and they did.
”And you can’t just flip the switch. I don’t want to not give Williamstown credit, because they beat us. But we didn’t help ourselves any.”
Each team scored once in the first half, with Beisel doing the honors for the Blue Eagles with a 20-yard burst up the sideline. Williamstown countered with a 1-yard sneak by Haynes.
The victory wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, but Smith isn’t about to give it back. The Yellowjackets were limited to 149 yards of offense, including 98 on the ground on 46 carries. Haynes led the way with 68 on 19 tries and also completed 9 of 12 for 67 more yards.
”The thing about Magnolia is, they’re always so good but we have good games with them. So we think we can play with them and the guys kind of know each other,” Smith said. ”We know them by name and we don’t know the kids from Wheeling Central, so it’s like they’re Superman.
”These (Magnolia) guys, it’s like, ‘OK, he is a 17- or 18-year old and we know him. So I think that helps us.”
Beisel led the Blue Eagles ground game with 90 yards on 10 carries, but only had three for 6 yards in the second half. Mirandy threw for 176 yards, including a seven-catch, 62-yard performance from Stickler.
”We could never sustain anything offensively,” Chapman said. ”I think our guys wore down a little bit with that drive in the third quarter and I point to that.
”We should have been off the field but we get that penalty. You could tell that took the air out of us a little bit. Credit to them. They played well enough to win.”