The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

September 28, 2013

Flying Eagles rally in second half to soar past Riverside

Ahead just 12-0 at the half Friday night at home against Riverside, Woodrow Wilson looked a whole lot more like the team that had lost to Winfield and Huntington than the one that put up 52 points in a win over rival Greenbrier East.

Coming off a bye week, the Flying Eagles turned the ball over four times in the early going and if not for a 20-yard Brent Osborne pass to Trey Cole just before the halftime break, the Woodrow advantage would have been just one score against the winless Warriors.

“We had a little bit of coming to Jesus,” said Flying Eagle head coach John H. Lilly of his message at halftime. “We just had to calm down. We came out so jacked up, and we made some mistakes.”

The meeting produced exactly the results he had hoped to see. Woodrow — playing without top receiver Donte Nabors, who left with an ankle injury in the first half after hauling in a 47-yard pass from Osborne on the Flying Eagles’ first drive — drove 61 yards in 10 plays, finding the end zone on a 1-yard Chase Hancock run to go up 18-0.

Then the rout was on. Woodrow (2-2) scored two more unanswered touchdowns — on a Hancock 5-yard run and a 70-yard Josh Creed punt return — to go up 30-0 and it cruised to a 50-10 victory.

“I thought it was really critical to come out and set the tone with a long drive in the second half,” said Lilly. “I thought that was the key to the game.”

Frustration snowballed for the Warriors (0-5), who managed just 108 yards of total offense and posted a negative number through the air.

A 46-yard Dajon Watkins fumble return got Riverside on the scoreboard, but it did little to change the momentum.

Hancock, who ended the game with 124 yards on 19 carries, found the end zone for the third time, this one from 19 yards out, to answer.

Creed then added an 8-yard run, and with the Woodrow reserves in the game late in the fourth quarter, Ronald Blanks took his only carry of the game 62 yards to paydirt.

“We were a little disappointed coming in at halftime, because we weren’t playing the way we wanted to play,” said Osborne. “We know next week we could really make a statement, and we wanted to get ready. We just had a little bit of jitters early.”

Riverside added a 25-yard Derik Chestnut field goal just before the final horn that did little besides create some bad blood between the two coaching staffs.

Woodrow got the job done on the ground, specifically on the read-option play, which Osborne ran nearly to perfection all night. The junior quarterback ended the game with 210 rushing yards on 12 carries to go along with 101 yards through the air.

“That play’s easy when your line’s blocking for you,” said Osborne. “All the rushing yards we had, that all came off our line. It was there all night.”

In total, the Flying Eagles amassed 423 rushing yards, wearing down the Riverside defense and asserting their will in a homecoming show.

“We’re still making some mistakes, but once we clean that up, we could be a good football team,” said Lilly. “I’m proud of the way we bounced back after a tough loss and a week off.

Woodrow will be on the road next week against Cabell Midland, which improved to 3-1 Friday night with a win over Hurricane. Riverside will be looking for its first win at St. Albans.

— E-mail: chuffman

@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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