Blue Devils, Tigers look to get back on track
By JOE ALBRIGHT
Associate Sports Editor
ST. MARYS — St. Marys and Wirt County football had yet to taste defeat through four weeks of the 2020 season.
Four quarters later, Williamstown and Doddridge County knocked the Blue Devils and Tigers from the ranks of the unbeaten. Jodi Mote’s group hurt itself by committing five turnovers, while Jason Hickman’s team played the logo and not the Bulldog players according to their leader.
So, when the squads clash at 7 p.m. Friday inside Bill Hanlin Stadium, the goal is clear for both teams: Find a way to get back on the winning track.
This want is going to be easier said than done for Wirt County. It is no secret the Blue Devils have played in, lost, and then recovered after more big games under Mote than Wirt County has in the last five years.
Because of this fact, it appears the Blue Devils possess the mindset and focus for a faster recovery from a big setback.
Regardless, Hickman and his group are jumping at the chance for another opportunity to build a similar culture in Elizabeth. “We have to go play the game and not the logo,” he said. And that starts by taking out the intimidation factor and being honest with expectations. “Players need to know that our ‘best shot,’ isn’t acceptable,” Hickman said. “If we play how we are supposed to and come up short on the scoreboard I can live with that. But we have to expect to win. Teams like St. Marys and Doddridge expect to win and that is where we need to get to.”
The Tiger leader isn’t wrong.
Mote and company expect to jump back on their winning ways one week after taking a shot to the jaw from their rivals, the Yellowjackets. They focused all week on correcting mistakes, players and coaches getting better, and being up to the challenge.
Mote knows Hickman brings an eager squad to Pleasants County.
“Jason has done a great job. He will have them ready and we have to be ready,” he said.
What they need to be ready for is a defense who is looking to get better play from up front to complement its linebackers and secondary.
Logan Powell certainly is going to do his best to make sure everyone is ready to play on the defense. His 21 tackles last week against Doddridge County could come in handy again this week as well. The Blue Devils bring a similar offensive package to the game as Doddridge County did last week.
Quarterback Brennan Boron drew praise from Hickman along with running backs Tre Moss, Ben Long and many other of the Blue Devils potent weapons on the offense. Those three along with Cyle West and Logan Rice have scored more than one touchdown this season. It is a tall task but the Tigers aren’t backing away from it.
“We have to play hard and together, believe and do the things necessary to win a game like this. It is unlikely we are going to be gifted five turnovers the same as Williamstown was last week. They do a lot of good things and attack you in multiple different ways. As a coach the other thing you worry about is St. Marys has played in a game like this before and we are going to get their best effort and have to make sure to give ours.”