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Bulldogs excited for 2nd chance against Williamstown

A member of the Doddridge County coaching staff talks to Jacob DeHaven (8) before a high school football playoff game against Midland Trail earlier this season in West Union. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)

WEST UNION — Doddridge County is familiar with Williamstown. And vice versa.

So Friday afternoon’s Class A semifinal game at Doddridge County High School boils down to execution, according to Bulldogs coach Bobby Burnside. Opening kick at Cline Stansberry Stadium between No. 6 Williamstown (10-2) and No. 2 Doddridge County (11-1) is set for 1:30 p.m.

“Both teams have an idea what the other brings, so it will be a matter who executes that night,” Burnside said now that his program is making its third Final Four appearance in the past three years.

The two schools met recently. In Game No. 9 of the regular season for both teams, Williamstown played without quarterback Maxwell Molessa. Colt Hesson stepped in for Molessa, who was nursing an injury from the previous week’s loss to Fort Frye.

Molessa has returned with a vengeance, rushing for 352 yards during last week’s 44-24 quarterfinal win at East Hardy. Both Molessa and Williamstown running back Rickie Allen have rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season.

“It will be a challenge trying to stop both of them,” Burnside said. “Our coaching staff is challenging the defense, and the kids have been working hard so that they will bring their best game on Friday. We need to move the ball well and be efficient on Friday.

“In that first game against Williamstown, they played better than us and they were the better team that night. We had a comeback, but we it wasn’t enough.”

Doddridge County’s 14-0 win against James Monroe in the quarterfinal round marked the fourth shutout turned in by the Bulldog defense. The Bulldogs are seeking to return to the Class A championship game – two years ago they lost to Wheeling Central, 38-21.

“There is a lot of excitement making the final four for the third time in four years and be practicing the week of Thanksgiving,” Burnside said.

James Monroe’s offense was reduced to a whisper as the Bulldogs allowed just 64 yards of total offense. The play of the game was turned in by Dylan Knight, who tracked down a James Monroe defender following an interception deep in Doddridge County territory and prevented a pick-six, while preserving a 0-0 score in the third quarter.

Doddridge Country eventually scored on fourth-quarter touchdown runs from Jared Jones and Seth Richards.

“That was a huge effort play by Dylan Knight,” Burnside said. “James Monroe was able to get down to our 26, but we stopped their drive on four plays. That was a big momentum play.

“As for our defense, they gave just an outstanding effort. They kept battling and whole game for us.”

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