Greenbrier West (0-1) at Summers County (1-0)
Friday, Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m. at Garten Stadium, Hinton
Radio: WRLB 95.3 (7pm)
Series: Greenbrier West leads 41-13
Last meeting: (9/4/2020) Greenbrier West 34 Summers County 6
Last week: Greenbrier West kicked off their season at Buffalo and fell 21-20 in overtime. The Cavaliers outgained the Bison 324 yards to 201, but five West turnovers doomed their effort. Tied at 14 with seven minutes remaining, West drove from their own 43-yard line to the Bison ten. With just over a minute left in regulation, Cole Vandall tried to connect with Kadin Parker in the corner of the endzone, but the ball ricocheted off the back of a Buffalo defender’s helmet and resulted in an interception. In the overtime period, Greenbrier West scored first on a Josh Jones 2-yard run, but the Cavaliers were stopped short on their two-point conversion try. Buffalo answered when Dalton Jones scored from 20 yards out. Taylor Reedy, who had her PAT blocked in the 2nd quarter by the Cavaliers, sealed the victory for the Bison with a successful kick.
Summers County opened their season with a 36-7 home win over Pikeview in the newly christened Battle for the Bluestone. The Bobcats backfield exploded for 446 rushing yards with three players going over the century mark. Andre Merriam-Harshaw led all ball carriers with 199 yards and 2 TDs. Duke Dodson added a TD and 119 yards while first-year player, senior Kalob Black, racked up 108 yards and a TD. The Bobcat defense forced four turnovers in the win.
Greenbrier West will look to get back on track tonight at Garten Stadium. The Cavaliers held the Bobcats to 76 yards rushing last season, and Merriam-Harshaw had only 4 of that total. Limiting his production again will be paramount if the Cavaliers want to avoid an 0-2 start. Turnovers are always a key factor, and both the Cavaliers and Bobcats committed their fair share in week one. Summers County was able to overcome their own miscues by intercepting three passes — one for a score — and recovering a fumble.
The Cavaliers created four turnovers as well but their inability to capitalize on them and score was the difference in the game. Junior tailback Ty Nickell will be relied on more heavily this week after being limited with cramps in the week one loss. Kadin Parker stepped up at tailback in Nickell’s absence and scored both a rushing and receiving touchdown, but the Cavaliers will be without his services tonight. Expect Jaiden Robinson, Josh Jones, and Marcus Adkins to shoulder some of the burden of replacing Parker’s output. Sophomore quarterback Cole Vandall must be more efficient throwing the football for the Cavalier offense to have the balance they want.
Defensively, the Cavaliers will be pressured to stifle the Summers County Wing-T attack. First-year head coach Josh Evans brings knowledge and expertise from his playing days at Fayetteville, under head coach Frank Spangler, to the Bobcat offensive attack. Merriam-Harshaw, Dodson, and Black proved to be very effective in that system in the season opener.
If Greenbrier West can limit their yardage on the ground, Summers County may have to rely on sophomore quarterback Brandon Isaac. Isaac went 3-4 for 28 yards vs Pikeview. Versus Buffalo, Greenbrier West was able to register six tackles for loss. Vandall had two sacks for the Cavaliers and Parker had a key interception. Jones, who will be relied on heavily in the absence of Parker, had a pick-six in the scrimmage win over Pendleton County the preceding week.