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‘Jackets, Devils meet again

Williamstown’s Garrett Hill looks for running room against Marietta in a regular-season game. Hill and the Yellowjackets welcome rival St. Marys for a showdown of powerful foes Friday night at Yellowjacket Field. Photo by Neal Smith

WILLIAMSTOWN — Two bitter rivals prepare to battle, Williamstown and St. Marys jockey for position in a wide-open Little Kanawha Conference.

When the game kicks off at 7 p.m. in Williamstown, it’ll be WHS’s (2-1) first contest since a 49-7 loss to Fort Frye on September 18. The Blue Devils (4-0) enter hostile territory coming off a 60-8 win against Calhoun County which saw five players score at least one rushing touchdown.

Ben Long and Tre Moss both had two scores, while Brennan Boron, Noah Wince and Luke Powell all found paydirt on the ground once. Head coach Jodi Mote talked about SMHS’s ground game and how it controls the tempo of a game.

“It all starts up front. The offense is responding, and we need good efforts from all three phases of the game,” he said. Our running backs are so important, and we need to take advantage of good play up front.”

On the subject of Class A and how it’s shaping up, Mote doesn’t want his players to put too much weight in what happens around them. Even with perennial power Wheeling Central Catholic struggling as of late, Mote doesn’t want to count them, or any other team, out as of now.

“I obviously didn’t get to watch the Ritchie-Doddridge game (a 9-8 victory for the Bulldogs), but that was just a great game for fans of football,” he said. Both those teams being a part of the LKC just shows that the LKC is the best small conference in the state. You can’t count out Wheeling Central Catholic, either. Last year, their starting quarterback goes down, and they win the state title with a backup quarterback. Anything can happen, especially with how that school is set up.”

Due to Putnam County’s status regarding the state’s COVID-19 map, Buffalo was unable to travel to Williamstown. That left the Yellowjackets without a game to play, as they’ve had more time to focus on the Blue Devils.

“It’s definitely given us more time to focus on them,” head coach Chris Beck said. “As tough as the Fort Frye film is to watch, it highlighted what we need to work on. When you play as tough of a program as Fort Frye, you focus in on the film and where you need to improve.”

Beck highlighted his group of team leaders and what they’ll need to do to have a chance at taking down the No. 1 Blue Devils.

“I think St. Marys has either eight or nine seniors starting on both offense and defense, and that’s a lot in Single A. They’ve got a lot of weapons, and coach Mote does a great job getting them ready. I think if we can contain their offense, we have a chance on Friday. Our leaders do a great job preparing to play. It starts with guys like Leewood Molessa, Brady Ankrom, Josh Ingram and Trevor Oates. I think Leewood had 10 or 11 tackles against Fort Frye, so it really says something when you play like that against a team like Fort Frye.”

Both coaches caution that the LKC is loaded with talented teams looking to make an impression in 2020 and that Wheeling Central Catholic is far from out of the picture. Here in week 5, St. Marys and Williamstown take the field on Friday night to help make the Class A playoff picture a bit clearer. With teams like these two, Greenbrier West, Wheeling Central Catholic, Doddridge County and St. Marys as just some of the teams in the conversation, this game also has playoff seeding implications for those other teams.

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