POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Following what seemingly was nothing more than a walk-through shutout victory over Class A nemesis Buffalo Putnam in the opening round of the post-season, Coach Ed Cromley’s third-ranked Wahama White Falcons advance to quarterfinal round action at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Point Pleasant High School against the visiting sixth-rated Greenbrier West Cavaliers.
Wahama will be coming off what is arguably their best outing of the 2012 grid season following its 38-0 whitewash over a talented Buffalo squad and will bring an unblemished 11-0 slate into its first ever confrontation with Greenbrier West.
The Cavaliers defeated 11th-rated Meadow Bridge 48-6 in its opening round playoff encounter and will sport a 10-1 record when they make the three hour journey to Mason County on Saturday afternoon for a crucial Class A quarterfinal round challenge.
Greenbrier West is currently the largest Class A school in the current WVSSAC state classification with 428 students as compared to the White Falcons 283.
A frequent participant in the postseason, the Cavaliers have bounced from Class A to Class AA and back to Class A during the past several years but that hasn’t stopped the southeastern West Virginia school from advancing to the playoffs in eight of the past 10 years.
As a Class A school Greenbrier West participated in post-season play in 2002, 03, 05, 06 and 07 before making the making the playoff scene in Class AA during the 2010 and 2011 campaigns. The Cavaliers advanced to the semifinal round in Class AA during the 2010 season and posted a 21-3 record while competing at the Class AA level.
Greenbrier West is coached by Lewis McClung who is currently in his 11th year at the school. McClung sports a young team this year with only six seniors adorning this year’s roster with six starters back on each side of the football.
The Cavaliers will bring a seven-game winning streak into Saturday’s outing against Wahama, with five of their 2012 opponents being Class AA foes and the other five contests being against Class A opponents.
Wahama and Greenbrier West have had two common foes during the current gridiron season in Buffalo and Fayetteville. Buffalo knocked the Cavaliers from its perch atop the Class A rankings in the fourth game of the regular season by a 29-20 decision.
Don’t let that outcome give anyone a false sense of security however as Greenbrier West coughed the football up five times during the game with Buffalo returning an interception 82 yards for a touchdown and 42 yard fumble recovery for a score to benefit the Bison cause considerably. The Cavaliers dealt Fayetteville a 44-21 loss with Wahama beating Fayetteville by a 35-7 margin while handing Buffalo consecutive 41-13 and 38-0 losses.
West faced and defeated two Class AA playoff contenders during the 2012 regular season while facing Buffalo and Meadow Bridge as Class A post-season members.
Greenbrier West turned back Class AA No. 9 Nicholas County 24-22; Independence 35-14; No. 11 Summers County 42-6; Pikeview 44-0 and Webster County 38-7 while beating Richwood 49-7; Pocahontas County 42-6; Van 46-28; Fayetteville 44-21 and No. 11 Meadow Bridge 48-6 in Class A circles.
The combined record of the 11 opponents on the Cavaliers current schedule is 48-62 while the combined record of the 11 White Falcon opponents was 41-59.
Like Wahama the Cavaliers sport a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in speedy junior quarterback Malik Boatwright (5-8 160) and bruising senior running back Tyler Parker (6-0 194). Boatwright has gained over 1,500 yards on the ground this season with Buffalo yielding 231 of those yards to the GWHS star.
Boatwright has thrown for another 400 plus yards and 19 touchdowns. Parker, a bruising fullback has been equally impressive on the season with just over 1000 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns.
Both Cavalier backfield stars scored three running touchdowns in their playoff win over Meadow Bridge last week with Boatwright also tossing a 50 yard scoring pass to his leading receiver senior Josh Martin (6-6 180). Martin has over 25 receptions and 600 yards on the year while hauling in eight scoring passes.
Junior Mike Goodard (6-0 155) is also utilized at quarterback with over 300 yards passing on the season while junior Logan Brown (6-1 166) has tallied over 350 yards rushing. Junior Cory Cox (5-10 160) also figures heavily in the offensive mix for Greenbrier West with six touchdowns on the year.
The Cavaliers huge interior line averages over 236 pounds per man and has enabled the Cavaliers to average over 350 rushing yards per game. Senior Zack Johnson (6-3 265) is the interior lines anchor with juniors Austin Yoney (5-11 245), Josh Hamrick (6-0 287) and Chase McClung (6-1 212) and sophomores David Murphy (5-8 188) and Jordan Robinson (6-0 231) rounding out the projected starters alongside Johnson.
Wahama will undoubtedly hope to sustain its devastating ground attack against Greenbrier West but if that aspect of the Bend Area team’s offense isn’t productive then veteran quarterback Trenton Gibbs will unleash an air assault that has yet to be utilized to its fullest potential throughout the locals 11 game card this season.
In its last two contests, the Mason County eleven has ran for 862 yards on the ground due mainly to the play of its junior dominated interior line. Junior center Zach Killingsworth is expected to get the start at center with junior Wesley Harrison and freshman Jesse Hesson perched at the guard positions. The tackles figure to be junior Weldon Sparks and freshman Clayton Sines with and junior Colton Neal filling the tight end position.
The Bend Area team features a pair of 1,000-yard ground gainers in junior Kane Roush (1,460) and senior Zach Wamsley (1,070). Roush was selected as the West Virginia Metro News Player of the Week following his 208 yard, four touchdown outing in the Bend Area team’s shutout win over Buffalo. Roush also caught one pass for 29 yards and intercepted a Levi Jordan offering in the first round playoff triumph.
Senior Crandal Neal (553) brings another added dimension to the Falcons backfield after overcoming a mid-season injury. Neal missed two games entirely and was used sparingly in a few other contests but has rebounded remarkably with substantial yardage in a limited number of carries. Senior quarterback Trenton Gibbs also has excelled running the football this year with 557 yards on the ground.
Through the air Gibbs has connected on 49 of 92 passes for 987 yards and 12 touchdowns with only four of his offerings being picked off. The White Falcons leading receivers include Roush with 16 catches for 256 yards, senior Austin Cole with eight receptions for 208 yards and junior Wyatt Zuspan with 10 grabs for 200 yards.
Defensively, Wahama has gotten outstanding performances throughout the season from Wamsley who is without a doubt one of the most productive football players on both sides of the football in the history of Wahama High School.
Colton Neal, Wesley Harrison, Crandal Neal and Garrett Miller are also coming off huge outings over the past several weeks and hope to continue that trend this weekend during the quarterfinal round playoff encounter.
WHS averages 44 points and 367 rushing yards per game offensively while adding another 92 yards per contest through the airways. The Bend Area team is allowing the opposition 12 points per game on 118 yards rushing and 148 yards through the air.
The Greenbrier West offense is scoring 39.2 points per game while averaging 375 yards on the ground and 63 yards per contest passing. Defensively, the Cavaliers are giving up 13.2 ppg to the opposition.
Saturday afternoon’s winner moves on to the Class A semifinal round against the Saturday night winner of No. 2 Magnolia and No. 7 East Hardy. Kickoff for the Falcons’ classic Class A quarterfinal round matchup is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Point Pleasant High School.