For the first time in more than 20-years, the Greenbrier East Spartans have defeated the Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles three times in a row after their impressive 28-14 victory at Van Meter Stadium on Friday, September 3. The Spartans beat the Eagles twice last season.
East (2-0) used a total team effort to secure the victory with contributions from the offense, defense and special teams.
“I’m proud of our young men and their performance”, Coach Ray Lee said.
Beckley got the ball first, but their possession was halted when East defensive lineman Garrett Bennett sacked Maddex McMillen for an 8-yard loss and forced the Eagles into an eventual punt.
And it did not take the Spartan offense long to take the momentum to their sidelines.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Monquelle Davis threw a quick-out to Bryson Ormsbee who got outside and took it to the house for a 42-yard touchdown, and East led 7-0 with 10:22 remaining in the opening quarter.
That score remained until early in the second when the Spartans had possession again.
It was the Ian Cline show as the sophomore carried nine times on the one drive alone to set up a Davis touchdown pass to Braden Bragg and a 14-0 Spartan lead. The drive went 11 plays for 41 yards.
“The offensive line has shown their mental and physical toughness these last two games,” Lee said.
The Eagles (1-1) moved the ball on their next series until the East defense stepped up to the proverbial plate yet again, Bennett made a big tackle for loss, and then Ormsbee stepped in front of a McMillen pass and intercepted it for his second huge play of the night and gave the ball back to his offense.
However, the rest of the half was a defensive battle which was just fine for the Spartans as they took the 14-0 lead into halftime.
The opening kickoff set the tone for the second half.
That is when Lucas McCallister fielded the kick and returned it 90 yards for a score and gave the Spartans a commanding 21-0 advantage.
But the never-say-die Eagles did not quit.
On their subsequent drive, Beckley finally got going and started with an Elijah Redfern 15-yard run then later in the drive, Eli Waller caught a 19-yard pass and Keynan Cook hauled in a 21-yarder. Three plays later, Redfern capped the 9-play, 79-yard drive with an 18-yard TD catch. After the score, East still led 21-7 with 8:27 left in the third.
A 60-yard pass two drives later set the Eagles up again for a scoring opportunity, one that on which Beckley capitalized. McMillen scored on a 2-yard run and things got interesting as the Spartans lead was cut to 21-14 with 1:13 to go in the third period.
However, midway through the fourth, the Spartans turned to Cline again to be the little-workhorse- that could. And he did.
Cline carried the ball 10 times on a 12-play drive that resulted in his own 5-yard touchdown run and East led 28-14 with just 5:28 left in the game.
“Ian Cline, what a workhorse,” Lee said.
“The work he put in in the offseason and his extra work after practice is showing. He showed both mental and physical toughness,” Lee said about his sophomore.
Any hopes Woodrow had of a comeback went right out the window when senior cornerback Levi Wagner intercepted McMillen’s pass, and East ran the clock out and celebrated their important victory.
“We had great secondary play,” Lee said.
The Eagles called a few late timeouts when the game was out of reach, prompting East radio play-by-play announcer Jeff Campbell to say, “They’re postponing the inevitable.”
The Spartans actually gout outgained in total yards, 247 to 213, but the scoreboard had more lights in the Spartans favor.
Cline carried the ball an amazing 39 times for 134 yards and a score. Davis completed 5-of-7 passes for 75 yards and two scores. Ormsbee, the McDonald’s player of the game, hauled in three receptions for 55 yards and a TD. He also had an interception on defense.
Wagner, Ormsbee, Bennett, Jarett McHale and JT Spencer all stood out on defense.
McMillen passed for 184 yards. He threw one touchdown and two picks.
The Spartans come home for the first time this year this Friday, September 10 and will host the Robert C. Byrd Eagles (1-0). The Eagles have arguably the state’s top running back and played in the state championship game last year.
The full preview will be out later this week.
Stats courtesy of 103.1, WRON.