Saturday, October 29, 2005
Greenbrier West finishes off Fayetteville
CHARMCO — Ten up, ten down.
Class A No. 2 Greenbrier West solidified its hold on a lofty position in the WVSSAC ratings with a 34-14 thumping of No. 19 Fayetteville Friday night to conclude the regular season at 10-0. It was the school’s fifth unbeaten regular season, but the first since 1991 and the first for fourth-year coach Lewis McClung.
“Honestly, our goal was to make the playoffs and maybe win a couple of games there; that’s the big thing for me,” McClung said in a jubilant West locker room afterward. “This is fantastic for our kids.
“They’ve worked hard, gutted it out and never got rattled.”
“It feels great,” chimed in senior lineman Eric Sorrells, whose fumble recovery early in the third period led to a key Greenbrier West score, a 36-yard pass hook-up between Trent Walker and tight end Darrell Shipe that gave the Cavaliers a 28-8 lead and closed the door on the Pirates. “It’s the best feeling in the world.
“We play hard and do what we can. Our backfield is incredible and our offensive line is top-notch.”
Fayetteville coach Frank Spangler was less than pleased with his team’s effort.
“They wanted it more than we did,” he said. “We were not ready to play.
“Evidently, we had something more important on our minds than the football game.”
The two teams traded TDs in the first quarter and the early part of the second, but Greenbrier West began to exert its dominance. On the play after FHS knotted the score at 8-all on an 11-yard pass from Jeff Preast to Daniel Lightner, GW freshman Brian Gray raced 61 yards down the left sideline for a six-pointer, and Walker’s run made it 16-8 to take away Fayetteville’s momentum.
With FHS facing a fourth-and-six from the GW 30 with 6:45 left in the second period, Gray turned defensive standout by leaping up to bat away a Preast pass, and the Cavaliers proceeded on a 10-play, 70-yard drive that culminated in a Gray two-yard tally to push the margin to 22-8 at halftime.
Big plays in that drive included a 37-yard pass from Walker to Chris Rowe on a third-and-eight and a Gray 12-yard off-tackle run on a third-and-nine.
“We had a couple of big plays on offense, and our defense played great all night,” McClung stressed.
In addition to Sorrells, Jared King and Kenneth Holland supplied fumble recoveries for the West defense.
Although limited on the ground, Walker completed 7 of 10 passes for 123 yards and the score. Rowe hauled in six of those passes for 87 yards.
For the second straight week, Gray cracked the 100-yard barrier in a relief effort in the backfield, carrying 23 times for 121 yards and three scores. He also turned in several solid defensive plays.
The Pirates (5-4), led by Ezra Lewis’ 81 rushing yards and 92 yards through the air by Preast, entertain Matewan next Friday.
Its unblemished mark — with an assist from the schedule makers — earns West a blessed week off in advance of the postseason.
“I’m glad we’ve got two weeks off,” McClung said. “We’re beat up right now, and this gives us the opportunity to get better.”
And the coach knows a 10-0 record doesn’t mean a whole lot once the playoffs begin.