’Jackets hit the road
No. 5 Williamstown (9-2) plays No. 4 Greenbrier West (10-1)
WILLIAMSTOWN — Williamstown High’s football team has a 3-plus hour drive ahead of itself to Charmco, W.Va.
The fifth-seeded Yellowjackets are scheduled to play host and fourth-seeded Greenbrier West High in a Class A quarterfinal playoff game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“Having the home field advantage never hurts,” said Cavaliers head coach Toby Harris, whose Cavaliers (10-1) defeated No. 13 seeded Tygarts Valley, 52-13, Saturday in their first appearance in the playoffs in five years. “I’m glad they’re (Yellowjackets) doing the driving.”
Last Friday evening, host Williamstown (9-2) blanked No. 12 Tug Valley, 42-0, to advance.
“I was there that night, and Williamstown has a really nice football team,” Harris said. “They’re faster than us, and they’re well-coached.”
But the Cavs do have a size advantage over the Jackets.
“They’re pretty big and athletic,” said WHS boss Terry Smith. “They mostly run the ball, and that could make it tough, especially if it rains.”
Against Tygarts Valley, GW had nearly three ball-carriers rush for more than 100 yards. Noah Brown, a 6-3, 220-pound senior running back, led the way with 133 yards while 5-10, 230-pound junior Cole McClung added 113 yards. Quarterback Kaiden Pack, a 6-1, 155-pound junior, finished with 97 yards rushing.
On the season, Brown has “gained around 1,700 yards and scored 28 touchdowns,” Harris said.
Also, McClung will position himself on the line as a blocker.
Against TV, Pack also completed 13 of 18 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns to junior Lawson Vaughan.
“Kaiden had a good day throwing,” Harris said.
Cavs junior Levi Weikle is another receiver the Jacket defense will need to keep an eye on.
A couple of other GW players who could have an impact on the game may be 6-2, 210-pound junior inside linbacker Zach McClung and 6-3, 250-pound senior lineman Isaac Brown.
“We have good size, and they can move pretty well,” Harris said. “But we’re not fast.”
Speed is one of Williamstown’s strengths, especially when 5-11, 187-pound senior RB Ty Moore touches the ball. On the season, Moore has gained 1,665 yards on the ground and scored 21 touchdowns.
“We figure Greenbrier West’s defense will be keying on Ty,” Smith said. “But Ty is up for the challenge.”
Thing is, Moore is far from the Yellowjackets’ only offensive weapon.
Junior QB Braden Modesitt has a good arm and is mobile. He also has good receivers in Eric Brown, Nick Bondi, Mason Deem, and Kole Sutton, and a couple of other backs in Logan Richards and Trevor Oates.
And, the Jacket line of left tackle Leewood Molessa, left guard Caden Tallman, center Nick Bower, right guard Brady Ankrom and right tackle Joshua Ingram are solid.
All of these O-linemen play on the defensive side of the ball as well.
Against Tug Valley, Ankrom led the Jackets in tackles, Smith said. But on the season, Brown, a 6-3, 218-pound inside linebacker, is the team’s top hitman.
Smith believes to be successful at GW, Williamstown will have to “minimize turnovers.”
“We’ve got to hold on to the ball,” he added. “We had none against Tug Valley but five in the Doddridge game.
“Also, we can’t give up the easy or big play.”
Harris said he “respects Williamstown very much.”
“We can’t make any mistakes,” he added. “And we need to take care of the ball and block well.”
“I hope we can contain their speed,” the coach continued. “And I hope that we can compete with them.”
Ron Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org