By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Fans of old school football just might find heaven in Pleasants County today.
When No. 7 Greenbrier West visits No. 2 St. Marys for a Class A quarterfinal, it definitely won’t be a contrast in styles. Both teams like to run the ball — a lot — and each has gotten this far with a relentless defense.
Kickoff from Imlay Field will be 1:30 p.m.
If not for the purple-and-gold uniforms, Greenbrier West coach Lewis McClung might have thought he was watching his team when viewing St. Marys game tape.
“St. Marys is a lot like us,” McClung said. “They run the ball out of a lot of power sets. They’ll try to run some power football at us.”
Senior David Gray (5-foot-9, 205 pounds) ran for 849 yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season. Senior Noah Spitzer (5-11, 191) had 642 yards and six TDs.
Spitzer was the leading rusher in St. Marys’ 21-6 first-round win over No. 15 East Hardy with 100 yards on 16 carries, but junior Corey Stewart scored twice, each on 1-yard runs.
As with West, defense has been huge all season for St. Marys, which pitched three straight shutouts to close the regular season.
The Devils shut out East Hardy in the second half last week, punctuated by three stops in the red zone.
The defense’s play became more important when the offense sputtered in the second half. The Devils did not score after halftime, either.
East Hardy was held to minus-3 yards rushing on the night.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot in the second half and our defense kept bailing us out,” St. Marys head coach Jodi Mote told the News and Sentinel of Parkersburg. “We give a lot of credit to coach (Chad) Williams and his players. They did a heck of a job on us offensively. But our defense came up big when we needed it most.”
“They play an attacking defense,” McClung said. “I look for them to put a lot of guys in the box and man up on our outside receivers.”
Junior defensive end Bernie Northrop (5-11, 200) has three sacks, while linebackers Robbie Binegar (6-0, 170), Jason Allen (5-11, 194) and Jared Bills (5-7, 167) all have two.
The Cavs (10-1), meanwhile, are led offensively by senior quarterback Malik Boatwright (161 carries, 1,204 yards, 17 TDs) and senior halfback Corey Cox (147-831, 18 TDs).
Defensively, junior defensive end Marquis Frazier has been a force. He leads the team with 71 tackles, 18 sacks and five fumble recoveries.
Senior cornerback Mike Goddard has four interceptions.
West held Notre Dame to 49 total yards and forced four interceptions in last week’s 54-7 first-round win.
“Our defense played lights-out,” McClung said. “They did a lot of things well. That’s not a surprise because we have played well on the defensive side all year.”
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