By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
How good is Greenbrier West?
Cavalier fans may want to start looking at hotels in Wheeling.
Class A Greenbrier West dismantled Class AA Independence Friday night 55-0, improving to 3-0 on the season and showing why it is a force to be reckoned with.
The Cavaliers’ offense exploded early, putting up 41 points in the first two quarters and accounting for 387 of their 465 total yards.
But it wasn’t just the offense that made an impact. West’s defense held Independence to just 11 yards in the first half and just 58 yards after the break.
“I think right now — right now we’re playing as well defensively as we’ve seen around here in a long time,” Cavaliers coach Lewis McClung said. “I can’t say I ever remember us playing as well defensively as we are right now.”
Combine that defense with the dynamic offensive power of Malik Boatwright and Corey Cox and the Cavaliers will be sending waves from Charmco clear to Wheeling Island and the state playoffs.
Cox (95 yards on 11 carries) and Boatwright (105 yards on eight carries) combined for five touchdowns in the victory, with Cox scoring four.
“Corey’s really a halfback by nature and we’ve moved him to tailback, so he’s still developing,” McClung added. “I thought he played really well hitting the holes tonight.”
“I felt like I executed well tonight,” Cox said. “I hit the holes well and was able to get behind my blocks. I give all my credit to my linemen.”
Cox and Boatwright were able to connect through the air, as well, with Cox picking up a 34-yard completion for a score early in the second quarter.
“Ya know, we’re not a big passing team, but we can be if we need to be,” Boatwright said. “A lot of teams don’t know that. It’s something else for them to have to watch for.”
Boatwright averaged 13.1 yards per carry on the ground, proving that the 5-foot-5 senior may be one of the smaller players in the region, but also one of the hardest to bring down.
“Malik does a nice job,” McClung added. “He runs hard. He’s got a little bit of shiftiness. He’s explosive, not a huge kid, but he’s able to run through some tackles.”
Boatwright says for him, it’s all a matter of thinking on the run — literally.
“Honestly, I’m not sure if I want to keep the ball or if I want to pass it,” he said with a laugh. “Sometimes I get too excited and when that happens, instead of tossing it I try to make the play.”
Boatwright and Cox weren’t the only Cavaliers to score. Bradden Isaacs, Jordan Tincher and Logan Brown all found the end zone, giving West plenty of scoring options as the season progresses.
“It’s good for that to happen. It improves morale,” McClung said. “Offensive balance is good. We want to be able to spread it out. It’s a good thing.”
The loss for Independence was a tough one, but one from which coach Chris Vicars feels his team can learn.
“I don’t think we ever quit. We had a lot of things go against us, but we never quit,” he said. “We’ve got to get better at blocking. But they’re a very good team.”
One bright spot for Independence was the play of punter Robert Cuthbert. Cuthbert struggled in the first two games this season, but was able to get the ball off seven times Friday night, with an average of 32.1 yards, including a long of 56.
“We worked on it a lot the last two weeks,” Vicars said. “He was able to help us get some field position. If we can keep improving on that and we can find a way to get our offense going, we’re going to be OK.”
Greenbrier West will travel to Buffalo next week, while Independence will open its newly-renovated George D. Covey Field against a Shady Spring team looking for its first win of the season.
— E-mail: jrollins@
register-herald.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.
I 0 0 0 0 — 0
GW 14 27 6 8 — 55
GW — Corey Cox 4 run (Bradden Isaacs kick fails), 8:01
GW — Cox 5 run (Jordan Grimmett run), 3:23
GW — Cox 34 yard pass from Malik Boatwright (Isaacs kick), 11:32
GW — Boatwright 21 run (Isaacs kick), 7:48
GW — Jordan Tincher 33 run (Isaacs kick fails), 4:36
GW — Logan Brown 13 run (Isaacs kick good), 1:01
GW — Corey Cox 5 run (Isaacs kick fails), 8:21
GW — Bradden Isaacs 5 run (Marcus Fowler pass good), 9:54
RUSHING — I, Colton Ward 3-15, Brian Sexton 4-(-30), Dustin Justice 11-27, Dillon Burdiss 1-2, Alex Daniels 2-14, Brandon Treadway 4-7, Chance Rhodes 5-13, Chris Mills 6-19, Thomas Williams 5-57. GW, Jordan Grimmett 2-55, Corey Cox 11-95, Malik Boatwright 8-105, Dustin Yoakum 1-13, Brandon Isaacs 9-21, Jordan Tincher 3-70, Dakota Feamster 2-12, Logan Brown 4-21, Chase McClung 3-18.
PASSING — I, Brian Sexton 1-8-0-(-2). GW, Malik Boatwright 3-5-0-41.
RECEIVING — I, Dustin Justice 1-(-2). GW, Jordan Grimmett 1-10, Mikey Goddard 1-0, Corey Cox 1-31.
TAKEAWAYS — I, none. GW, Justin Simms (fumble recovery), Kain Foley (fumble recovery), Jacob Whitt (fumble recovery)