The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 17, 2012

Pioneers take out Grizzlies

WAYNE — When a team as successful as Wayne has been this season sets records, the performance must be exemplary.

The No. 1 Pioneers set a Class AA preliminary round playoff record with 680 yards of total offense in a 47-0 win over No. 9 Nicholas County in the state quarterfinals.

Wayne (12-0) will play host to No. 4 Robert C. Byrd (11-1) next week in the semifinals.

Mason Hodge ran for 144 yards and two scores, while also catching a 71-yard scoring pass. The sophomore scored on a 92-yard run on the opening play of the game.

“He’s a multi-faceted guy. He’s not necessarily a power runner and he’s not a scat-back,” Wayne coach Tom Harmon said. “He’s just kind of one of those tweener guys. Having the ability to get open and catch the football, those are all bonuses.”

Nearly lost in the shuffle for a change was senior running back Brandon Spurlock, who ran for 172 yards on 14 carries.  Spurlock surpassed the 1,800-yard mark, and set the single-season school record for rushing yards.

But the carry that set the record may be unforgettable for a different reason.

Spurlock broke into the open field with nothing but grass ahead of him, before pulling up with an apparent leg injury. He did not return.

Hodge also left the game with an injury to his ankle.

Both appeared to be in good spirits after the win.

Sophomore quarterback Grant Ferguson threw for 143 yards and ran for 34 more in the win. The Pioneers rolled up 537 yards on the ground, which tied the playoff record set by James Monroe in 2005.

The Pioneers were pinned deep by long punts and penalties early, which led to the large yardage totals.

Nicholas County (7-4) finished with just 139 total yards. The Grizzlies had only two first downs in the first half.

“Our coaches do a really nice job of getting our guys in the right place. From a coaching standpoint, when you get them in the right spot and in a good stance and taking the first few right steps, then it’s the players,” Harmon said.  “We’re fortunate we have players that really want to get to the ball and play aggressively.”

Wayne advances to the semifinal round for the 10th time in the past 12 years. Robert C. Byrd, which beat Bluefield 34-20, will be making the first semifinal appearance in school history under first-year coach Bruce Carey.

Carey coached Bridgeport to the 2000 AA state title, beating Wayne in Wheeling.

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