The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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September 14, 2013

Spartans, Cline run over Shady Spring

When Shady Spring head coach Vince Culicerto popped in the tape of Greenbrier East’s loss to Woodrow Wilson last Friday, he was floored by what he saw from the Spartans.

“They are an explosive team,” said the Tiger coach. “They’ve got some weapons, and I think they could have scored a pile more in that game. We knew we were going to be up against a tough bunch.”

Seeing it on tape, though, was a whole lot more comfortable than watching it in person.

Greenbrier East (2-1) scored 21 points in the opening quarter and never looked back on its way to a 56-14 thumping of Culicerto’s Tigers (0-3) Friday night at H.B. Thomas Stadium. The Spartans racked up 561 yards of offense and showed an improved defensive effort, shutting out Shady until the final quarter.

“We wanted our guys to come out and play hard,” said East’s second-year head coach Ray Lee. “We put (the Woodrow game) behind us and decided to focus on the rest of our season. All we want to do is improve each week.”

Lee’s offense, which made much of its noise through the air last week as quarterback Isaiah Kinder set a new school passing record, turned to its ground attack early on against the Tigers.

This time, it was running back Dalton Cline who flirted with a school record. The junior had 232 yards after just six carries, including touchdown runs of 65 and 72 yards in the opening quarter, and ended the game with 257 yards on 14 carries, falling just short of a record set by Seneca Wilmer in 1996 on the same field against the same Tigers.

“It was a great night,” said Cline, who shared carries with backup Zayvion Lawson for much of the second half. “We played very well together, and I give credit to my offensive line. They did an amazing job giving me holes. I just tried to hit them as fast as I could and keep my legs moving.”

Kinder, who was Class AAA’s leading passer coming into Friday’s game, struggled to find the mark early on, completing just two of his first 10 passes, but he turned it on after a rough start. He ended the game with 135 yards through the air and threw three touchdown passes, two to Ty Walker and the other to Kamen Reynolds. He also rushed for 102 yards on nine carries as the Spartans.

 Fullback Ben Allen got into the action, as well, with a 34-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. East, which had 323 rushing yards at halftime, ended with 426 yards on the ground.

Just as pleasing to the East coach, though, was the play of his defense. The Spartans didn’t give up a first down until late in the second quarter and held Shady scoreless through the first three quarters as it built a 56-0 lead.

“We went after the football a lot more and tried to eliminate some mistakes,” said Lee. “We made some adjustments, with schemes and personnel.”

Shady Spring, which managed just 152 yards of offense and had just 50 at the halftime break, found its first points of 2013 in the fourth quarter when quarterback Timmy Culicerto scored on a keeper from 1-yard out. The Tigers scored again with a little over a minute to play when Jonathan Hardy scored from 13 yards out.

Hardy was one of the lone bright spots for Shady Spring. The junior running back ended the game with 89 yards on 21 carries.

“They were a really good team, but we gave up too many big plays in the first half,” said Culicerto. “But in the second half, I thought we hit better and got more aggressive. We played harder and finally got us some points. We’ll build on it. We can’t crawl in a hole, so we’ll just keep trying to get better and fix the mistakes.”

Greenbrier East will begin a four-game homestand next week against Perry McCluer, Va. Shady Spring will be at Independence.

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