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Knights are sharp against ‘Jackets

Williamstown falls to rivals, 33-14

Photo by Scott McCloskey Williamstown’s Brayden Modesitt (1) looks to avoid the pursuit of Wheeling Central’s Trey Helms (15) during the ‘Jackets’ 33-14 loss to the Maroon Knights Friday at West Liberty University.

WEST LIBERTY — While there have been a lot of changes throughout this season when it comes to high school football, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: in big games, Wheeling Central will flex its muscles.

And on Friday night, that’s exactly what the Maroon Knights did. They also capitalized on their opponents’ mistakes.

Michael Toepfer totaled five touchdowns en route to a 33-14 victory over Williamstown Friday night at West Family Stadium on the campus of West Liberty University.

“Our kids played well for four quarters. I can’t say enough on how well they played,” Wheeling Central coach Mike Young said. “I can’t thank Williamstown enough for coming up and playing and especially at the last second. Our goal is to defend the state championship. Our goal is to be playing in the playoff and we normally play a schedule that is competitive enough to make us better, but also good enough to get us in if we win enough games. Williamstown has a real nice football team and (Coach Chris) Beck does a great job. We definitely saved our best game for (Friday).

“That says a lot about our kids.”

“I can’t thank West Liberty, (football Coach Roger) Waialae and his staff enough for hosting us here.”

The Maroon Knights’ started the game off going through the air. Thanks to a 37-yard reception in triple coverage by Jordan Waterhouse on the game’s second play from scrimmage, Wheeling Central was in business. Toepfer capped the opening drive with a QB sneak in the end zone. Two possessions later, Toepfer was back at it again. On a fourth-and-1, he scramble got outside, and scampered into the end zone from 14 yards out. After a successful two-point conversion, the Maroon Knights boasted a 14-0 lead with 9:56 left in the half.

Williamstown, though, responded in the best way possible. The Yellowjackets, starting on their 24, marched down the field eating up 9:48 of clock and converted on three fourth downs. Finally on the 21st play of the drive, Brayden Modesitt connected with Louis Goodnow from 5 yards out to make it a one possession game, 14-7.

And it seemed like the Yellowjackets had all the momentum going into the half. However, on the opening possession of the second half, Williamstown fumbled as Paxton Marling recovered for Wheeling Central. The turnover proved costly for the Yellowjackets as Toepfer and Waterhouse connected on the ensuing play from 41 yards out to make it 20-7 with 10:30 left in the third.

“That’s what good teams do,” Beck said. “We had the momentum at half and we shot ourselves in the foot. And Central does what good teams do and they took advantage of that. We had the fumble on the first drive and a couple drops. And we fumble again. You can’t do that and beat teams like this. It doesn’t happened and they proved that (Friday).

“That’s a good team in Central. That’s why we came up here this week and to see where we stood. We stacked up short. Bottom line. They were the better team (Friday).”

On the next Williamstown possession, the Yellowjackets dropped a pass on third down that would have moved the chains. Instead, again, the Maroon Knights took advantage. Toepfer and Waterhouse hooked up again this time from 29 yards out to make it 26-7.

“Turnovers are costly,” Young said. “We’ve had enough of those over the years, but the thing that made me most proud was we know they had that drive right before the half, but we still won the first half and we wanted to come out and win the second half. We knew if we could stop them right off the bat that it would be a momentum crusher for them and a momentum builder for us. That’s sort of how it all played out.”

The Maroon Knights were able to capitalize for a third time as well. The Yellowjackets fumbled inside the red zone and the Maroon Knights scored their final touchdown of the game after they recovered. Toepfer threw his third touchdown of the game to Vinnie High as the score read 33-7.

“Our goal was to send a message across the state to Single A to let them know that Wheeling Central is not out of this yet and that’s what my coaches were able to do.”

Thomas Billingsley scored the final touchdown of the game for Williamstown. Trevor Oates led the ground attack for the Yellowjackets with 116 yards.

For the Maroon Knights, Toepfer went 7 of 8 for 159 yards and three TDs.

Waterhouse gained 124 yards rushing on top of his two receiving touchdowns.

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