CHARMCO – The SSAC Quarterfinals. Some would say this is where the fun begins. If that’s true, get your popcorn ready folks. Greenbrier West and Wahama are on a collision course this Friday night in Charmco. Two of Class A’s undefeated will clash in a win or go home scenario that has football fans across the state salivating.
The matchup has all the juice of a heavyweight title fight. Greenbrier West, the four seed in the playoff field, has rolled their opponents to the tune of 534-59. 534 points is a program record, breaking the previous mark of 529 set over a 13-game span in 2010. This is only part of a balanced attack. This team can beat you by scoring or holding you scoreless. The 59 points allowed are the third lowest total in program history, and to be accurate, the starting defense has allowed only 37 of those. That’s 3.4 points per game. That will win you a ton of football games. The stingy Cavaliers have pitched six shutouts to this point, including last week’s whitewash of visiting Wirt County. It was West’s tenth playoff shutout overall, and third in the last four playoff games played in Charmco.
Wahama counters with the highest scoring offense in West Virginia high school football in any class. The White Falcons have put up 613 points in 2023, an average of 55.7 points per game. That’s right, Wahama is averaging more points per game than the Cavaliers’ starting defense has allowed in all eleven games. Wahama’s defense isn’t a slouch by any means, having given up only 179 points. The closest game Wahama played all year was their opener, a 36-18 win over another state quarterfinalist in East Hardy. What Wahama failed to do was put up a goose egg, but with an 11-0 record, who could complain?
West has so many weapons that it’s hard to know where to start. Cole Vandall has set passing records for completions, yardage, and touchdowns, all in a season and a career. He’s put up the only 300-yard passing game in the history of the school, and last week he broke Cavalier playoff records for completions and yards in a game. Not too shabby.
The West receiving corps has been phenomenal. Ethan Holliday led the team last week with five receptions for 79 yards and wowed the crowd when he leveled a Wirt County defender at the goal line. Tucker Lilly pulled down two catches, one for a 29-yard touchdown. Colton Dunbar had 4 catches for 44 yards and Jake Pate caught three balls for 22 yards.
The ground game was equally spectacular with a quartet of ball carriers. Pate rumbled for 89 yards and two touchdowns while Holliday scored the game’s first touchdown. Vandall and Isaac Agee got touches as well giving the Cavaliers four very capable in the backfield.
Wahama counters with some eye-popping players of their own. Senior quarterback Sawyer Vanmeter is imposing at 6’4”, 220 lbs. Junior wingback Connor Lambert is rumored to have 4.5 speed. Together, the duo launched Wahama into the offensive stratosphere. Vanmeter has a 200-yard passing game to his credit along with three 100-yard games. Vanmeter is a punishing runner, tallying 200 yards twice and over 100 yards in six contests. Lambert has six 100-yard rushing games as well to compliment his 21 touchdowns. Fullback Dillan Fields is an effective runner and had 3 touchdowns and almost 200 yards in the opening round playoff win over Summers County. Fields also tallied a 100-yard performance in Wahama’s win over Ravenswood.
Holliday continues to lead an opportunistic Cavalier defense. Holliday capped West’s 49-point night over Wirt with a 35-yard pick six last week. Lilly added a five-yard scoop and score, and Holliday nailed Chase parsons in the endzone for a safety to cap the third quarter scoring. Fourteen points put up by the defense is a hefty total. Holliday and Brandon Poticher led West with 12 tackles each. Jacob Whitt, Marcus Adkins, and C.W. Sturgell each collected 6 tackles. Adkins added an interception and Jacob Nutter picked up a fumble recovery. Dunbar had two sacks to lead the team, followed by Sturgell, Nutter and Trent Parker with one a piece.
Names to look for on the White Falcons defensive unit are middle linebacker Jake Roberts and 5’11”, 275 lb. Alijah Hicks. Ben Withrow has had some impressive games in 2023, including a 20-tackle night in the Falcons’ win over South Harrison.
Hayden Ridgeway has set the Greenbrier West single-season record with 63 PATs, breaking a tie he held with Cameron McQuain that was set in the 2010 season. Ridgeway now sets his sights on McQuain’s career record of 111 PATs, needing six successful attempts to break the mark.
Wahama relies mainly on the two-point conversion following their scores, providing quite a contrast between the squads.
Greenbrier West and Wahama met in the Class A quarterfinals during the 2012 season at Point Pleasant. The White Falcons won 21-12 despite the Cavaliers outgaining the White Falcons 331-288. Wahama went on to win the Class A State Championship, but Greenbrier West came away with the confidence that they were one of the top teams in the state, catapulting the Cavaliers into the 2013 state championship game. That meeting was the only one ever between the two schools.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 P.M. Friday night at Cavalier Field. Once again, digital tickets are the only means of entry. Fans can purchase tickets at www.gofan.com. Adult tickets are $8 while student tickets are $5. A $1.40 fee accompanies each ticket purchase. Local radio coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Rock 95 via terrestrial radio, Facebook, the TuneIn app, or https://twovirginiasmedia.com/radio-greenbrier/rock-95-3/. A livestream of the game can be found on Greenbrier Valley Channel via Facebook, YouTube, or Roku. The game will NOT be offered live on Optimum Channel 5 in the local market.
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