HICO — Right about now, Greenbrier West coach Lewis McClung has to feel like a man who cannot lose.
When junior quarterback Jaron Childers went down with a sprained left ankle, McClung was forced to move running back Trent Walker behind center.
Not only did Walker play as if he has been there all year, but the Cavaliers got a nice glimpse of their future in the process.
Walker and freshman Brian Gray both surpassed 100 yards rushing, leading Class A No. 2 Greenbrier West to a 42-12 win over No. 10 Midland Trail Friday at Patriot Stadium.
West finished with 443 yards of offense — all of it on the ground. Childers, who will have X-rays on his ankle today, attempted just one pass before his injury.
“Just run the football. That’s what we do,” McClung said. “If we do that well then we’re OK. If we don’t then it gets hard on us.”
The Cavs (9-0) were leading 14-6 late in the first quarter when Childers was injured on defense. Walker, who had scored each of West’s first two touchdowns, took over at quarterback on the team’s next possession.
That’s where Gray made his debut. With Walker running the option to perfection, Gray ran for 49 yards on eight plays on his first series.
“We’re comfortable with Walker at quarterback,” McClung said. “We practice it all week in case something like that happens.”
“Coach does a good job preparing us for that,” said Walker, who finished with 173 yards and three touchdowns.
Walker capped his first drive as quarterback with his third touchdown from 28 yards, but Gray had already made a statement.
And he wasn’t done. Gray finished the night with a game-high 185 yards and touchdowns of 20 and 6 yards.
“He runs hard,” McClung said. “We knew what he could do. He’s going to be a pretty good football player.”
Trail (5-3) was able to stay close thanks to its special teams. After West went ahead 8-0 on a 14-yard run by Walker, Corey Wilson returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown to pull the Patriots to 8-6.
“Our special teams did an outstanding job tonight,” Trail coach Joe Dean said.
The Patriots got to 22-12 on a 70-yard touchdown run by Anthony Grimmett. Wilson then had another long kick return, 50 yards to the Cavalier 25-yard line. But the Patriots were stopped on fourth-and-1, and West pounced on the opportunity.
The Cavs went 13 plays on the next drive and another back, junior Chad Briggs, scored from one yard to make the score 30-12.
Trail could not respond from there, turning the ball over on consecutive series. Both of Gray’s touchdowns came after those turnovers as the Cavs pulled away.
“We thought we had some momentum going (early in the third quarter), but we knew we would have to score three touchdowns,” Dean said. “We scored, but then they scored and got those points back. We moved the ball well at times but we just didn’t finish.”
Luke Morehead finished with 106 yards on 15 carries for the Patriots, who host Valley next Friday.
West will host Fayetteville next Friday.
Greenbrier West 42, Midland Trail 12
GW (9-0) 14 8 8 12 — 42
MT (5-3) 6 0 6 0 — 12
GW: Trent Walker 14 run (Walker run), 9:55.
MT: Corey Wilson 83 kickoff return (pass failed), 9:42.
GW: Walker 24 run (run failed), 2:43.
GW: Walker 28 run (Walker run), 7:08.
MT: Anthony Grimmett 70 run (pass failed), 11:10.
GE: Chad Briggs 1 run (Walker run), 2:01.
GW: Brian Gray 20 run (pass failed), 11:17.
GW: Gray 6 run (run failed), 10:29.
RUSHING — GW: Gray 24-185, Walker 20-173, Briggs 11-49, Kenneth Holland 6-37, Brandon Vanmeter 1-(-1). MT: Luke Morehead 15-106, Grimmett 5-86, Tim Drennen 8-15, Logan Caudill 4-4, Derick Neal 1-(-2).
PASSING — GW: Walker 0-1-0-0. MT: Drennen 3-10-0-21.
RECEIVING — GW: none. MT: Bo Kesler 2-8, Caudill 1-13.
TURNOVERS — GW: Roger Hamons (FR), David Martin (FR). MT: Grimmett (FR).