By Gary Fauber
Register-Herald Sports Writer
There were plenty of turnovers, but they were the good kind as far as Greenbrier West is concerned.
Greenbrier West’s defense held Notre Dame to 49 offensive yards and forced four turnovers as the Class A No. 7 Cavaliers routed the 10th-rated Fighting Irish 54-7 Friday in a first-round playoff game.
Coach Lewis McClung had said early in the week that his team could not have a repeat of playoff games of the recent past, when the Cavaliers turnovers cost. Against the Fighting Irish, West gave the ball away just one time.
“We had the one interception, and, given the elements, to do that was a pretty good accomplishment,” McClung said. “We’ve been known to shoot ourselves in the foot before. It was nice to see our guys hold on to the ball.”
Senior quarterback Malik Boatwright ran for 108 yards and three touchdowns to lead Greenbrier West (10-1), which finished with 495 total yards.
Five different backs had over 60 yards for the Cavaliers. Jordan Tincher ran for 75 yards and two scores. Corey Cox added 72 and a touchdown.
It was the defense that again made for a long night for the opponent. West completely dominated, pressuring quarterbacks T.J. McKinsey and Jordan Miller as it has all season.
A steady rain that fell the entire game neutralized Notre Dame’s offense. The Fighting Irish (7-4), who turned the ball over four times, had only three first downs, the first coming at the 11:03 mark of the third quarter.
“We had studied their offense all week and knew what they were going to try to do,” said senior defensive lineman Chris Gabbert, whose fumble recovery at the Notre Dame 13-yard line helped set up Boatwright’s third touchdown, a 2-yard run that made the score 48-7 late in the third quarter.
“They are a passing team. I think the weather kind of had an effect on what they were doing.”
McKinsey started at quarterback but suffered an arm injury in the first half and did not complete a pass in five attempts. He was replaced in the second half by Miller, who 3 of 9 passes for 47 yards.
The Irish had minus-11 yards of offense at the half.
Santino Cava returned a kickoff 85 yards in the first quarter for Notre Dame’s only touchdown as the Cavaliers defense did not allow a point. But the 1,000-yard rusher was a non-factor offensively, gaining 35 yards on nine carries.
“I thought the defense played great, just lights-out,” McClung said. “With the elements, I thought they were having trouble getting their snaps (Notre Dame went under center just twice on the night). We’re pretty good on defense but I think maybe the weather affected them, or it appeared to.”
Mike Goddard had his fourth interception of the season in the third quarter. Tincher scored the first of his two touchdowns on the ensuing drive.
It was the Cavaliers’ first playoff win in Charmco since they beat Notre Dame 30-0 in the 2006 quarterfinals. Their previous two home playoff wins were at Greenbrier East High School.
Greenbrier West will travel to No. 2 St. Marys in the quarterfinals.
— E-mail: email@example.com and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber
ND (7-4) 7 0 0 0 — 7
GW (10-1) 7 21 20 6 — 54
GW—Corey Cox 2 run (Bradden Isaacs kick), 5:48.
NC—Santino Cava 85 kickoff (Adam McCunn kick), 5:34.
GW—Malik Boatwright 35 run (Isaacs kick), 11:53.
GW—Boatwright 7 run (Isaacs kick), 7:59.
GW—Jordan Grimmett 47 run (Isaacs kick), :57.
GW—Jordan Tincher 5 run (Isaacs kick), 7:09.
GW—Tincher 56 run (kick failed), 4:10.
GW—Boatwright 2 run (Isaacs kick), 2:26.
GW—Chris Patton 1 run (run failed), 2:29.
RUSHING — ND: Cava 9-35, Chase Riggs 1-1, Spencer Harlow 1-1, Jordan Miller 3-(-9), T.J. McKinsey 3-(-10). GW: Boatwright 19-108, Tincher 6-75, Cox 15-72, Grimmett 4-69, Isaacs 8-63, Chase McClung 8-42, Derek Coryell 5-32, Braxton Matheny 1-5, Jacob Witt 1-3, Patton 1-1.
PASSING — ND: Miller 3-9-1-47, McKinsey 0-5-0-0. GW: Boatwright 2-5-1-25.
RECEIVING — ND: Harlow 2-32, Jarrod West 1-15. GW: Cox 1-15, Mike Goddard 1-10.
TAKEAWAYS — ND: Harlow (INT). GW: Chase Harless (FR), Boatwright (FR), Goddard (INT), Chris Gabbert (FR).