The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

December 4, 2013

West turns opponents blue

Cavaliers’ road to Wheeling Island has been filled with irony

Greenbrier West’s run through the postseason has been filled with irony.

In the Cavaliers’ 18-0 quarterfinal win over No. 2 St. Marys, they had to stop backs Noah Spitzer and David Gray. It wasn’t long ago that players with those same surnames were leading West as it continued to build its program — option quarterback Bryan Spitzer and running back Brian Gray.

Another piece of irony — each of the Cavaliers’ last two opponents had blue-themed mascots. St. Marys was the Blue Devils, then West beat the Magnolia Blue Eagles last Saturday in the state semifinals.

That trend will continue Saturday when the No. 7 Cavs (12-1) face No. 1 Madonna for the Class A state championship at Wheeling Island Stadium.

Madonna’s mascot?

The Blue Dons.

“That is some irony,” West coach Lewis McClung said. “I never thought about that.”

There will be irony within the irony awaiting the Cavaliers.

Last year, 6-foot-8 receiver Josh Martin posed matchup problems in the limited instances when West put the ball in the air.

In Madonna, the Cavs will face a senior offensive tackle/nose guard who stands 7-foot-2 and weighs 295 pounds.

His name?

Josh Martin.

The Blue Dons’ Martin has gotten national attention for his size, which has helped Madonna (13-0) average 48.7 points per game.

“He is a big kid who kind of dwarfs everyone,” McClung said. “He’s got good size. He’s not a skinny 7-2 by any stretch of the imagination.”

The Cavaliers have gotten this far with their defense, particularly a defensive line led by ends Marquis Frazier and Chris Gabbert, in addition to linebacker Logan Brown. As a team, the Cavs have 107 tackles for loss and 48 sacks.

Plus, West’s offensive line has been stellar in creating running lanes for the likes of quarterback Malik Boatwright and running backs Corey Cox, Chase McClung, Jordan Grimmett and Jordan Tincher.

Everyone will have to be aware of Martin’s presence at all times. At the same time, McClung doesn’t want his team to view Martin as the second coming of Anthony Munoz or Bruce Smith.

“It will be a little different, but I don’t want them to be in awe of him because of his size,” McClung said. “Sometimes there can be disadvantages to being that tall. But it is easier to get better leverage.

“We will have to be prepared, because he is a big boy.”

— E-mail: gfauber@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @GaryFauber

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