The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

September 28, 2013

Bobcats stay perfect

Class AA No. 3 Summers County brings down Class A No. 5 Greenbrier West in a battle of undefeated teams

HINTON — Being moved from the quarterback position could be a blow to some players’ egos, particularly a high school senior. But T.J. Smith welcomes any move that will lead Summers County to as many wins as possible.

Besides, it isn’t like he was benched. No, he was right in the middle of the action, leading the Bobcats to their biggest win of the season.

Smith ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a scoring pass from new quarterback Matt Ryan, and Class AA No. 3 Summers took advantage of three Greenbrier West turnovers to win 27-20 Friday in front of a packed crowd at Garten Stadium.

The Bobcats, 5-0 for the first time since 1980, made their first playoff trip in 15 years in 2012, losing at Frankfort in the first round. They have never hosted a postseason game and would like to change that this season.

“(The win) means everything. It means a lot to the community,” Smith said. “We haven’t beat these guys in a long time. It feels good to take the next step in our ultimate goal.”

Summers gave the Class A No. 5 Cavaliers (4-1) a different look, although they did see it while scouting last week’s 17-14 Bobcat win over Wyoming East. Ryan took over at quarterback in the second half of that game, giving Summers an added threat in the backfield with Smith complementing fellow senior Isaiah Brown.

The new look worked right off the bat, with the West defense unable to stop the Bobcats on the game’s opening drive. Brown had a key 18-yard run on the drive, which ended with Ryan, a sophomore making his first varsity start behind center, hooking up with Smith on a 25-yard touchdown pass less than three minutes in.

It was the beginning of a big night for Smith, who also scored the go-ahead touchdown from 29 yards out with 49 seconds to play.

“All along, we’ve known he can run the ball just as good as he can pass it,” first-year Summers coach Nate Tanner said. “It’s a good problem to have, having so many athletes that can make plays. I was just trying to twist things up and figure it out.

“I think we figured it out.”

Moving Smith to running back makes Summers all the more difficult to stop. As good as Smith was, he was not the Bobcats’ leading rusher. That distinction went to Brown, who ran 17 times for 142 yards. His 68-yard touchdown run put the Bobcats ahead 20-14 with 1:41 left in the third quarter.

Summers ran for 295 against a defense that had only allowed 19 points through its first four games.

“We had seen it on film ... so it wasn’t totally unexpected,” West coach Lewis McClung said. “They didn’t catch us by surprise or anything like that. It gives them another weapon back there. I thought they were a little more physical than us; they got after us. You just have to give them credit.”

West was never out of the game, withstanding Summers’ early start to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.

Senior quarterback Malik Boatwright moved the Cavaliers on both scoring drives. His 10-yard touchdown made it 7-6 Summers with 9:58 to play in the second quarter.

The Cavs took advantage of the Bobcats’ only turnover to add another score in the second. Mike Goddard recovered a fumble at the Summers 23-yard line, and Boatwright again scored, this time from 1 yard. His two-point conversion made it a seven-point game.

The third quarter proved pivotal, with the Cavaliers turning the ball over on three of four possessions. The Bobcats turned only one into points, but were also able to score on a memorable run by Smith.

On first-and-10 at the West 26, Smith took a handoff from Ryan and got loose in the middle for a sure first down. But he kept running, even colliding with an official at one point, until he was met by three West defenders short of the goal line. They were unable to bring down the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Smith, who carried all three into the end zone for a touchdown and tie the game at 14-14.

“We had put in some new packages where I play some running back, and coach just told me to come out here and make plays,” Smith said. “None of this would be happening if our coaches didn’t put us in position to make plays. We have great guys up front blocking, so really all the credit goes to our coaches and the linemen.”

West tied the game at 20-20 on Chase McClung’s 3-yard touchdown before Smith’s game-winner.

The Cavs had one more chance and got a big play when the field opened up for Boatwright on a 20-yard run to the Summers 36. But before that play, the Cavs were forced to use their last timeout, and they ran out of time after Boatwright was tackled in bounds after a 2-yard gain.

Summers will visit Covington, Va., next Friday, while West goes to PikeView.

— E-mail: gfauber

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 spartans LOCAL ROUNDUP: Spartans win Spring Break Wooden Bat Classic

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. Joe’s Lewis named 2014 High School Coach of the Year

    Huntington St. Joseph girls basketball coach Shannon Lewis has made a habit of celebrating success in Charleston over the last few years.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014