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Williamstown dominant over Doddridge in semifinal, 43-0

Williamstown’s Rickie Allen (3) and Kent Wigal (22) try to bring down Doddridge County’s Jared Jones (5) during a high school football state semifinal game Friday in West Union. Williamstown won, 43-0. (Photo by Kerry Patrick)

WEST UNION — Williamstown painted the perfect picture for one half of football and ambushed Doddridge County 43-0 during Friday’s Class A state semifinal game at Cline Stansberry Stadium.

The sixth-ranked Yellowjackets improve to 11-2 and await the winner of the second Class A semifinal between Wheeling Central and Ritchie County, who meet at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Ellenboro.

At halftime against DCHS, there was barely a shred of evidence which would deny Williamstown a return to Wheeling Island Stadium for the Class A state championship for the first time since 2018.

“Now it’s about if we can take the next step,” Williamstown coach Chris Beck said. “We know whoever wins between Wheeling Central and Ritchie County, we will have to play at a high level again to have a chance next week. But to get to go to Wheeling, I’m just happy for our kids.”

By the end of the second quarter, Williamstown had scored on all six offensive possessions due in large part to two DCHS shanked punts which gave the Yellowjackets a short field, and a pair of turnovers (interception and fumble) which put the backs of the Bulldog defense against the wall as well.

“To make the semifinals, even though it’s not the ultimate goal — when we reflect back, I am going to be very proud of this team,” DCHS coach Bobby Burnside said after his Bulldogs capped off an 11-2 season and third final four appearance in the past four seasons.

Williamstown quarterback Maxwell Molessa, who did not dress because of an injury in the first meeting in regular season game No. 9 for both teams, was a key figurehead as to why DCHS trailed 40-0 going into halftime.

The sophomore Molessa rushed for four touchdowns and was on the receiving end for a fifth TD. He finished with 90 yards rushing on 23 carries and completed 4-of-5 passes for 45 yards.

Backfield mate Rickie Allen also ran for a touchdown and finished with a game-high 95 yards on the ground on 15 carries.

“I felt like if we played well, we would have a chance,” Beck said. “I never expected it would go the way it did in the first half. Our guys came out very intense and ready to play, and took advantage of some mistakes they made.

“We played at a very high level. As a coach and watching film, you could knit-pick at some things, but that was probably a perfect first half. I couldn’t be happier with how we played.”

With temperatures hovering near 30 with periodic light snow and gusty winds, DCHS’ fate was decided early. On the game’s second play from scrimmage, Yellowjacket defender Harbor Haught gained access into the Bulldog backfield and stripped the ball from quarterback Jared Jones.

The turnover resulted in a red zone possession at the DCHS 12.

After converting a fourth-and-3, Molessa carried the ball on the next play out of the fullhouse backfield for a 2-yard score. The Yellowjackets failed to convert on two consecutive extra points and a two-point conversion, but the offense kept churning out points.

The Bulldogs went three-and-out on their second possession and managed just an 8-yard punt. Starting from the DCHS 33, Williamstown needed just seven plays to reach the end zone on Molessa’s 13-yard jaunt.

Still in the first quarter, Williamstown wasn’t done. Haught made his presence felt again, sacking Jones for an 11-yard loss just three plays into the next DCHS offensive series. Another issue on special teams for DCHS, this time Williamstown getting a finger on a punt resulted in a 5-yard loss.

One play later and another Yellowjacket touchdown as Molessa scored again on the carry. With 1:18 showing in quarter No. 1, Williamstown led 18-0.

The DCHS offense experienced yet another setback when Williamstown’s Colt Hesson intercepted a pass on the second play of the ensuing possession.

Molessa the set up Williamstown in prime real estate near the goal line following a 37-yard run on the first play of the possession. Allen sealed the deal on back-to-back carries, including the 2-yard TD carry.

“When you fall behind four scores real fast, that makes it challenging,” Burnside said. “Both teams had to deal with the weather circumstances, but to try and mount a comeback throwing the ball was very difficult to do today.

“Everything that could have gone wrong in the first half, went wrong. At halftime, the message was ‘let’s battle as hard we can because that’s who we have been no matter what the score.’ Our kids could have rolled over, but they played hard to the end.”

The only first half possession in which Williamstown began on its own side of the 50 set up Molessa’s fourth TD, a 1-yard score which covered nine plays and 64 yards.

The best field position of the first half for DCHS followed and started at its own 41. The Bulldogs’ progress stopped shortly thereafter on an incomplete pass on fourth-and-6 from its own 45.

Just for good measure, Williamstown revealed one last trick before halftime. Colt Hesson switched positions with Molessa and Hesson connected with his receiver for a 21-yard touchdown reception to give the Yellowjackets a 40-0 cushion at the 1:23 mark of the second quarter.

“I can’t say enough — No. 7 is a special, special player,” Beck said. “Anytime he is on the field, you feel like you have a chance. He will be the first tell you,’ it doesn’t doesn’t happen without the guys up front who clock.”

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