The biggest play for Atticus Goodson during his career-high 318-yard rushing performance Saturday might be one he didn’t make.
It was one his brother Cyrus made, a 52-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Logan Phalin that set the wheels in motion.
Following the long hookup, 10 of Goodson’s final 19 runs went for 10 yards or more.
Lilly said the passing game must evolve if the Patriots are to flourish.
“For us to take the next step in our program we’ve got to get better at passing,” Lilly said. “We basically took the end of the third quarter to work on the pass game. I thought we executed pretty good.”
When you look at Independence, and you look at Goodson’s numbers, it makes sense to take away the run. The trouble lies on the outside, as the Patriots illustrated and is the reason Lilly wants to perfect the passing game.
Lilly said offensive line coach Kevin Grogg, a state champion head coach at Wyoming East (1999), brought up doing just that at the half, reasoning that with a 32-6 lead it was a good opportunity to try and work on getting the all-important timing down between quarterback and receivers in a live game situation.
“When you’ve got a small number of kids, you can’t (replicate) that kind of timing against another team’s secondary (in practice),” Lilly said.
Phalin finished 9-of-16 for 193 yards Friday (the third highest in the Lilly era at Independence, behind Phil Spurlock’s 240 against PikeView in 2019 and Isaiah Duncan’s 204 against Liberty in 2020), but when the Patriots went into their passing game work in the third, he was 6-of-10 for 119 yards.
Phalin realizes he is blessed with an arsenal of talented playmakers, and he said he simply must get them the ball.
“I know I can throw a short pass and they can still score off it, even if it’s not a deep pass,” the quarterback said. “They’re all really good athletes and I feel safe throwing any of them the ball.”
The simple part comes, Phalin said, when teams do exactly what every team thinks it must do, which is stack the box to stop Atticus Goodson.
“When they stack the box, it leaves these guys wide open, which, in my mind, is pretty stupid because it leaves these guys wide open and they’re all great receivers,” Phalin said.
Last year the trio of Goodson, Trey Bowers and Judah Price averaged over 20 yards a reception. For the season.
This season they are near that.
Simply put, ball control passing is not what Independence wants to do. They have an all-state running back to do that.
“We like to start the game off with a firework or something like that,” said Trey Bowers, recipient of the other touchdown pass from Phalin. “I think it’s nice to score on a long pass on a big play.”
“If we do come out with a firework early in the game they might start spacing out and then it’s up the middle (runs) all game,” Cyrus Goodson said. “If they load the box, it’s passing game all game so … ”
So pick your poison.
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It was not a good night for offenses coming into Greenbrier County Friday night.
Greenbrier West won its third game in a row, beating Webster County 58-6 and Greenbrier East rebounded from its first loss of the season last week by beating Buckhannon-Upshur 56-14.
Greenbrier West’s convincing victory was the 100th career win for coach Toby Harris.
The Cavaliers offense was impressive, rushing for 336 yards and seven touchdowns. A total of 10 different players logged carries in the game. Quarterback Cole Vandall, whose play has improved with each game, ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for a couple more and Ty Nickell, who has four straight plus-100 rush games, scored twice.
More impressive, yet not surprising, was the play of the defense.
In limiting the Highlanders to six points, the defense did not allow a pass completion (0-9) and just 135 yards rushing.
At Fairlea, things were even worse offensively for Buckhannon-Upshur. The Bucs mustered just 82 yards of total offense, 60 rushing for an average of less than two yards per carry, and 22 passing.
Offensively for the Spartans, quarterback Monquelle Davis, coming off a 6-of-17 passing for 70 yards a week ago in a loss to Robert C. Byrd, was a perfect 10-for-10 for 111 yards and two touchdowns and he rushed for another. Sophomore running back Ian Cline had his best night of his young career with 197 yards and two touchdowns.
A meaningless, but nonetheless interesting stat: Opposing quarterbacks were 2-of-18 for 22 yards in Greenbrier County Friday night.
The starting quarterbacks from the two Greenbrier County schools were 15-of-16 for 199 yards and four touchdowns.
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Oak Hill’s Leonard Farrow continued his big play in the first half of the 2021 season, putting together his fourth straight 100-yard game, rushing for 122 and three touchdowns in the Red Devils’ 44-41 loss to Lincoln County Friday at Red Devils Stadium.
This time he added a new dimension.
Farrow caught two passes for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Oak Hill came into the game with a combined three receptions for 54 yards in the first three games and he had one of those.
Farrow was the first Oak Hill player to go over 100 rushing and receiving in the same game since his brother Abe did it on Oct 26, 2018, in a 26-20 loss to Midland Trail.
That season Abe Farrow finished with 988 yards rushing and 935 receiving. He had 15 rushing touchdowns and 14 receiving touchdowns.
This season Leonard Farrow, more of a threat rushing in the Wing-T offense, already had 610 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns.
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Liberty coach Mark Workman lamented the fact that he had two freshmen on the line in the season opener Aug. 27 against Independence, which resulted in a 47-0 loss.
He also said that was the last time his team would use youth as an excuse.
His point was taken Friday in a 20-14 victory against previously undefeated Logan.
Talk about the difference a couple weeks makes. The win righted the ship.
Workman said the team got back Chris Mickey on the line and his team played tough for four quarters.
Ryan Simms scored all three Liberty touchdowns and had 78 rushing yards. Logan Doddrill added 117 yards as the Raiders rushed for nearly 200 yards after amassing just 50 against Independence.
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You can file Wyoming East’s 70-6 loss to Herbert Hoover Friday night under Murphy’s Law. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, from the Huskies returning the opening kickoff 90 yards for a score to three interceptions being returned for a touchdown in the first half. In fact, the final score was the first half score.
It was a long night, eased by a running clock in the second half.
Save Tucker Cook’s three-catch, 122-yard and a touchdown performance, there wasn’t much to glean from the game film. The Warriors had just 27 offensive yards aside from Cook’s three catches.
It was thought to be the largest margin in a loss in school history, surpassing a 61-0 loss to Man on Oct. 23, 2009.