The Greenbrier East Spartans (2-0) have gotten off to what some may call a surprising start after two huge wins on the road at Point Pleasant and at Woodrow Wilson.
Those two victories are extremely important to the Spartans’ hopes of another state playoff berth in part because of who East will play this Friday, Sept. 10 in their home opener, and that is another Flying Eagle, this time from Robert C. Byrd High School.
RCB (1-0) comes in as one of the best teams in West Virginia, fresh off a 57-0 shellacking of Elkins. Their first game of the season was postponed due to Covid-19 so they are fresh and hungry for action on the field. They also feature a plethora of players who can strike quickly, led by senior running back Jeremiah King.
In the win over Elkins, King ran for 157 yards in the first half, played one series in the third quarter and sat out the rest of the night. He is only nine yards away from 5,000 in his career, a number that not many players accomplish.
King is a player known across the state, but he is not the only one on the team that succeeds at a high level.
Freshman Latrell Jones also topped 100 yards with 119 and a score.
Nathaniel Junkins, Aidan Morris and Nicholas George also are big factors for the Eagles.
RCB ran for over 400 yards last week.
RCB played in the state championship game last season and lost, but the talent and experience is still very strong in Clarksburg.
The Spartans are led early on by sophomore running back Ian Cline who has rushed for 235 yards and has three total touchdowns.
Quarterback Monquelle Davis has thrown for 215 yards and has run for 48 and accounted for five touchdowns. Davis has not had to do a whole lot so far this year, but when he gets dialed in and focused, he is capable of taking over a game by himself.
Bryson Ormsbee leads the team in catches with four, is second on the team in yards with 74 and tied for the team lead with two touchdown receptions.
For the Spartans to win this Friday night, obviously the key is to contain King as much as they can. On the flip side, King will almost inevitably get a lot of yards and maybe a touchdown or two.
The East defense, led by Kamon Anderson, JT Spencer, Jarett McHale, Garrett Bennett, Jacob Wickline, Levi Wagner and others, will need to try to stop the other guys from having their way on the field.
Last week, Cline had 39 carries and allowed the Spartans to control the clock and win the time of possession. To contain King, he may need 50 touches this week.
This is a tough game to get a clear read on. On one hand, the Spartans are playing at a very high level for coach Ray Lee. They are executing their game plans to perfection and doing exactly what they need to do to come out on top.
On the other hand, King presents a lot of problems for every team that plays him. He is good enough to not win a game by himself but certainly control it. East has already allowed a 100-yard rusher — Point Pleasant’s Gavin Jeffers — and Jeffers does not hold a candle to RCB’s star.
Unfortunately for Spartan fans, I see a hard-fought game, but a loss coming. Robert C. Byrd is just deep at most positions and their experience of playing in the title game last year will carry a heavy weight on Friday. However, I could be completely wrong as the Spartans have shocked us all in the first two weeks.
Robert C. Byrd 41
Greenbrier East 23