By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Malik Boatwright uses his quickness and elusiveness to be the most electrifying offensive weapon for unbeaten Greenbrier West.
He gets most of the headlines for that very reason.
Marquis Frazier, meanwhile, has emerged as arguably the top threat on a defense that has allowed fewer than five points per game. But he doesn’t get the same attention as his older brother.
As they say, offense sells tickets.
But that’s OK by Frazier. The way he sees it, he’s getting to do exactly what he would prefer.
“It’s like the running back scoring a touchdown, for me,” said Frazier, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior defensive end. “I would rather pick up that fumble or get that sack than score a touchdown.”
Boatwright and Frazier each has his responsibilities, and each is doing them well for the Class A No. 5 Cavaliers, who have easily their biggest challenge of the season tonight at Class AA No. 3 Summers County.
The fact they are siblings who make as significant impact on the football field as they do on the wrestling mat — Boatwright was a state champion in February, while Frazier was a runner-up — makes it even more fun.
“It’s awesome to be able to be on the same team as my brother,” said Boatwright, who at 5-4, 172 pounds, stands nine inches shorter than his “little” brother. “We can both be on the field doing what we need to do to make plays happen and whatever needs to be done.”
“It’s a blessing to be with him,” Frazier said. “He’s a smart player and means a lot to the team.”
Boatwright has been the offensive weapon he was expected to be, rushing for 475 yards and seven touchdowns on 48 carries. That’s 9.9 yards per attempt and 118.8 yards per game. The senior quarterback has also completed 11 of 23 passes for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“A lot of it has to do with our linemen,” Boatwright said. “They do such a great job of blocking and giving me time while the play develops. That way I have the opportunities to make big plays and do the right things and make the right calls.”
“Malik is the main cog in our offense,” West head coach Lewis McClung said. “He does a great job for us. He is our explosive playmaker. We look to him to make big plays.”
Using his philosophy of defense over offense, Frazier has actually had a more successful year, statistically, than Boatwright. Among his 28 total tackles, Frazier has eight sacks — six in the Cavs’ 6-0 win at Nicholas County in the season opener — and six tackles for loss. He has also recovered three fumbles.
He plays tight end for the Cavs, which translates to being a blocker in their offense. So defense is where Frazier finds his time to shine.
“(Defense) means a lot to me,” said Frazier, who added that he is trying to make up for lost time after an ankle injury forced him to miss most of last season. “It’s what I like to do. Getting in on a lot of tackles is one of my things.”
Frazier’s emergence has been no surprise to McClung. He feels having Frazier might have made a difference in West’s 21-12 quarterfinal playoff loss to eventual state champion Wahama last year.
“He gets after the quarterback really well,” McClung said. “He started coming on strong last year until he broke his ankle in the Webster County game. I wish we would have had him in the playoffs.”
As for the playoffs in 2013, tonight’s game could be big for both teams toward that push.
Summers (4-0) has not missed a beat coming off last year’s historic season that ended in its first postseason appearance since 1997. Led by quarterback T.J. Smith and running back Isaiah Brown, the Bobcats are coming off last week’s big 17-14 win over Wyoming East. Both teams were tied for fourth in the Class AA ratings going in.
McClung knows how big the game will be.
“They are a good team and have a lot of playmakers,” he said. “And their fullback (Jaquan Ayers), I like the way he plays. He runs hard and is real physical. They beat Wyoming East, which I think is an outstanding football team.
“It will be real challenge to play them at their place.”
The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in Hinton and can be heard on 102.3 ESPN Radio The Ticket.
— E-mail: gfauber