By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
If not for a turnover-filled performance against Buffalo in Week 4, Greenbrier West might have gone undefeated for the second time in three regular seasons.
Of course, 9-1 isn’t bad.
The Class A No. 3 Cavaliers led 30-0 at halftime behind a balanced offensive attack and went on to beat winless Fayetteville 44-21 Friday at Fletcher Arritt Stadium.
Senior receiver Josh Martin caught two long touchdown passes in the first half and finished with three grabs for 125 yards — all before halftime.
The Cavaliers are idle for the final week of the season and will wait to see how things play out before playoff seedings are officially announced either late Saturday, Nov. 3, or the following day.
“We’ve got to get healthy,” West coach Lewis McClung said. “We will work pretty hard two or three days, but a lot of it depends on the weather.”
The possibility of high winds and rain or even snow — a weather event dubbed “Frankenstorm” — threatens the area just before Halloween early next week.
At times, West looked like a monster against the Pirates, who have struggled through an 0-9 season. But the Cavs let off the gas in the second half, running only one drive in the third quarter before playing their reserves in the fourth.
That’s not to take anything away from Fayetteville, which played hard the entire way.
“They came out and really popped us,” McClung said.
Pirates quarterback Aaron Krise led a Pirates offense that had some positives despite the decisive loss. Krise ran for a game-high 98 yards, including a 40-yard touchdown run, on 19 carries, and was 12 of 22 for 79 yards and touchdowns of 10 yards to Hunter Pullens and 11 to James Criss.
The latter came with 27.1 seconds left to play.
Fayetteville, a perennial playoff contender that advanced to the Class A quarterfinals a year ago, is down to 18 players, many of them sophomores.
“It has been a tough year,” veteran Fayetteville coach Frank Spangler conceded. “We’ve had some ups and downs — more downs than ups. But one thing I will say, our kids have played hard. They come to work every Monday and they have the same (positive) attitude every week.”
Tyler Parker, whose 5-yard touchdown opened the scoring, ran 18 times for 93 yards for Greenbrier West. Cory Cox, who had a 29-yard score in the third, had 91 yards on nine carries.
Martin came up with big plays for all three of his catches, using his height advantage over Criss to pull down the ball. Martin, a 6-foot-6 senior, easily made the grabs over his 6-1 defender.
“(Criss) had position, he just didn’t make the plays,” Spangler said. “He’s going to be better. He was under a lot of pressure tonight and he accepted it.”
“They were blitzing us like crazy,” McClung said. “Josh just had the height advantage there.”
While the Cavaliers wait, Fayetteville will close out its season next Friday at home versus Independence.
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Greenbrier West 44, Fayetteville 21
GW (9-1) 16 14 8 6 — 44
F (0-9) 0 0 7 14 — 21
GW: Tyler Parker 5 run (Josh Martin pass from Malik Boatwright), 4:21.
GW: Martin 60 pass from Boatwright (Chase McClung run), 1:39.
GW: Boatwright 15 run (McClung run), 3:45.
GW: Martin 34 pass from Mikey Goddard (run failed), 1:13.
F: Hunter Pullens 10 pass from Aaron Krise (Krise kick), 5:52.
GW: Cory Cox 29 run (Parker run), 1:15.
GW: Jordan Grimmitt 25 run (pass failed), 10:28.
F: Krise 40 run (Krise kick), 7:31.
F: James Criss 11 pass from Krise (Krise kick), :27.1.
RUSHING — GW: Parker 18-93, Cox 9-91, Grimmitt 4-57, Boatwright 5-47, McClung 2-9, Logan Brown 2-5. F: Krise 19-98, Pullen 4-43, Tasheem Collins 8-38, Jacob Alton 1-0, Tracy Lovins 2-(-3).
PASSING — GW: Boatwright 2-2-0-91, Goddard 1-1-0-34. F: Krise 12-22-0-79.
RECEIVING — GW: Martin 3-125. F: Alton 8-47, Pullen 2-12, Criss 1-11, Collins 1-9.
TURNOVERS — GW: none. F: none.