Last season, when the Greenbrier East Spartans (4-1) played the Oak Hill Red Devils, the game came down to the literal last play. When the clock struck zero, the Spartans found themselves on the wrong end of a 42-35 decision and had a sour taste in their mouths to boot.
In that game, East quarterback Monquelle Davis got injured in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the night. Fortunately, Davis is healthy and ready to go this time around.
The junior has completed 37-of-61 passes for 548 yards and nine touchdowns. He has also added 264 yards on the ground and three more scores. Finally, he has become a receiving threat as well and shows five catches for 80 yards and two additional TD’s.
Running back Ian Cline missed last week’s win over Mingo Central due to an illness, and no decision has been made as of yet on his availability for this contest. The sophomore leads East in rushing with 517 yards and four TD’s and has 138 yards receiving with two more scores, so he is an important piece that might be missing from the East puzzle.
The running game will be important for East as Oak Hill’s offense can be explosive at times. Cline (if available), Garrett Bennett (124 yards, three TD’s), Lucas McCallister (85 yards, TD) will need to control the ball, move the chains and keep the Red Devils off the field.
The Oak Hill defense is allowing 35.6 points per game and East is scoring at a 37.4 clip.
Oak Hill comes into the game at just 2-4, but their offense is not to blame. They are averaging 35.5 points per game and their most impressive performances so far have been a 47-26 win over Ripley and a 54-6 drubbing of Westside.
The Red Devils are led on offense by Leonard Farrow. One of the state’s best running backs so far, Farrow has amassed 886 yards on just 78 carries (11.3 yards per carry) and has scored 18 total touchdowns. He was held to just 41 yards in last week’s loss to Cabell Midland, but the Knights are in the top five in the state and typically hold everyone to their season low output.
However, Farrow is not the only player on the Red Devil roster that can play.
Omar Lewis, Ethan-Vargo-Thomas, Elijah Gray, Jacob Ward and Braxton Hall are other threats on the roster. Lewis compliments Farrow in the running game and had 52 yards and two scores in the Westside victory earlier this year. Gray ran for 122 yards against Class AAA 5th ranked Princeton and Vargo-Thomas is a do-it-all player on both sides of the ball.
Oak Hill uses their speed to hit the edge and tries to get defenders in one-on-one situations in the open field. The Spartans will try to contain those edges and so far this season the East defense has done a good job on that side of the ball and are allowing just 18.6 points per game.
East head coach Ray Lee knows the challenges that lie ahead for his football team this week, despite the Red Devils sub .500 record.
“Oak Hill is a very good football team with very good football players,” Lee said.
“They have a young man (Farrow) that is a great running back. They also have an athletic quarterback, a good tight end and a big aggressive offensive line. Coach Moneypenny always has his players’ prepared and ready to play,” Lee concluded.
Even though Oak Hill is 2-4 and coming off a big loss to Cabell Midland, they are very similar to the Spartans. They both score about the same amount of points, but the Spartans feature a much better defense and more depth overall. If Cline cannot go, Davis and the aforementioned group of backs will have more on their shoulders, but have proven they can handle that when needed. If the defense does not let Farrow, Lewis and Gray run wild, the Spartans 2020 revenge tour should be successful on Friday. However, it will be close like last year and highly entertaining to watch.
Greenbrier East- 44
Oak Hill- 36