By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
POINT PLEASANT —
A glance at the yardage totals for Wahama running backs Kane Roush and Zach Wamsley would suggest they were contained by Greenbrier West’s defense.
Actually, it was better than that. Roush and Wamsley were averaging 10.3 yards per carry combined for the Class A No. 3 White Falcons going into their playoff quarterfinal against the No. 6 Cavaliers. But West limited them to a combined 112 yards.
The only thing West didn’t do was win the game.
Wahama overcame the Cavaliers’ defense with timely key plays, and Roush’s 10-yard run with 5:02 remaining helped sew up a 21-12 win at Point Pleasant High School.
The Cavs (10-2) bottled up Roush and Wamsley better than any team has this season. Wamsley was held to 26 yards on 12 carries, including six on his first eight attempts.
Roush, who had been averaging 15.5 yards per rush, finished with 86 yards on 17 carries. But 21 came on his last carry with under three minutes to play and the White Falcons protecting their nine-point lead.
Wahama had 14 first downs — four in the first half and six on the game-winning drive.
“I was happy with our kids. I thought we played well,” West coach Lewis McClung said. “They just made a couple more plays than we did.”
Wahama, which remained perfect at 12-0, needed some big plays — quarterback Trenton Gibbs’ highwire act down the left sideline for a 46-yard touchdown among them — to keep West at bay. But there were two bigger moments that McClung lamented more.
The first came on a pass play by Wahama on third-and-8 at the 49. Gibbs threw over the middle to Colton Neal, and the pass was tipped up in the air by Malik Boatwright, a 5-foot-8 defensive back. Boatwright went down, and Neal was able to snare the ball and turned it into a 44-yard gain to the West 5-yard line.
Three plays later, Gibbs sneaked from the 1 to put Wahama ahead 14-6 less than four minutes into the third quarter.
“Instead of picking if off, we bat it up in the air,” McClung said. “I thought that was a big turning point in the game.”
Wahama later benefited from a trick play that didn’t work once before.
The Falcons were faced with a fourth-and-15 at their 41 early in the second quarter. Roush, a rugby-style punter, faked the kick and tried to run to the short side. West stopped him after a six-yard gain.
The second time was the charm, however, for Roush.
On what proved to be the game-winning drive, Wahama had fourth-and-6 at the West 44. Roush this time appeared to be sliding to his right for a punt, but instead tucked the ball and ran for a six-yard gain and first down at the 38.
His touchdown came six plays later.
“That was a big effort on his part to get that first down,” Wahama coach Ed Cromley said.
The Cavs knew it was coming. They just didn’t stop it.
“That’s why we only played one deep instead of two like we usually do,” Boatwright said. “But I guess we couldn’t stop it.”
“That was a big point in the game, too, because you get us down to where we only have three or four minutes, we’re kind of hurting trying to score fast,” McClung said.
Roush’s TD made it a two-possession game, and West had a chance to at least make things interesting when Mikey Goddard recovered a Wamsley fumble and returned it to the 14 with 2:03 to play.
Boatwright and Josh Martin connected on a 13-yard pass on the first play, but West could get no further. Boatwright was sacked by Wesley Harrison for an 11-yard loss on fourth down.
Boatwright was contained well by the White Falcons, finishing with 37 yards on 18 carries. He also left the game late in the first half after having his bell rung on a hit by Roush.
He left the game briefly at the end of the Cavs’ first drive of the second half after taking a hit to the midsection, and he missed two plays on the final drive after getting blood on his jersey. He came back wearing No. 13 instead of his usual No. 11.
“It wasn’t bad,” Boatwright said. “I’ve been hit (hard) at times. They got me good today.”
Senior Tyler Parker had a big close to his career with 152 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. His 18-yard TD run made it a 7-6 game going into halftime.
Boatwright scored from a yard out to make it 14-12 early in the fourth quarter.
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Wahama 21, Greenbrier West 12
GW (10-2) 0 6 0 6 — 12
W (12-0) 7 0 7 7 — 21
W: Trenton Gibbs 46 run (Zach Wamsley kick), 4:34.
GW: Tyler Parker 18 run (run failed), 10:02.
W: Gibbs 1 run (Wamsley kick), 8:19.
GW: Malik Boatwright 1 run (pass failed), 11:40.
W: Kane Roush 10 run (Wamsley kick), 5:02.
RUSHING — GW: Parker 27-152, Boatwright 18-37, Corey Cox 5-21, Chase McClung 3-12, Mike Goddard 1-2, Josh Martin 1-(-6). W: Roush 17-86, Gibbs 4-59, Wamsley 12-26, Crandale Neal 7-23.
PASSING — GW: Boatwright 4-6-0-56, Goddard 1-4-0-24, Parker 0-1-0-0. W: Gibbs 4-8-1-98.
RECEIVING — GW: Martin 3-57, Cox 2-23. W: Wyatt Zuspan 2-54, Colton Neal 1-44, Roush 1-1.
DEFENSE — GW: Martin (INT), Goddard (FR). W: Tyler Nutter (FR), Zuspan (FR).