CHARMCO – Greenbrier West completed their season last Saturday with a 48-20 playoff loss to Williamstown. This was the second playoff meeting between the schools in the last three seasons. The Cavaliers also dropped a 34-22 decision to the Yellowjackets at home in the 2019 Class A playoffs.
The game got off to a promising start when the Cavaliers put together an 11-play drive that culminated with a 3-yard touchdown by Ty Nickell. Chase McClung caught three Cole Vandall passes on the drive, taking advantage of loose coverage to gash the Williamstown defense. The Yellowjackets answered, however, with a seven-play scoring drive to take a 7-6 lead a little more than two minutes later.
On the ensuing possession, the Cavaliers drove 24 yards before a turnover on downs at the Williamstown 40-yard line gave the Yellowjackets a spark. Williamstown worked their way 60 yards for a score on a 12-play drive that would put them up 14-7 with 7:41 to go in the half. Greenbrier West responded with a 39-yard completion to Ty Nickell to convert on a third down, or so it seemed. The play was flagged for an ineligible man downfield which negated the gain and West’s momentum. Josh Jones did his part to keep the Cavaliers in the game with a 59-yard punt that pinned Williamstown at their own 3-yard line, but the momentum was short-lived. The Yellowjacket offense took jabs at each area of the Cavalier defense they could to move the ball the length of the field, scoring with 2:21 in the first half to lead 21-6.
The Cavaliers weren’t content to ride out the half and went on the attack. Vandall connected with Tucker Lilly and Kadin Parker positioning West at the Williamstown 35. Vandall burst off the right side for an 11-yard gain, but the wheel started to come off after that. Nickell was dropped for a loss on first down and Vandall overthrew Parker in the endzone. Vandall was forced the scramble on third down, reaching the line of scrimmage before being wrapped up. Vandall’s pass sailed over McClung’s outstretched arms on fourth down, turning the ball over on downs inside Williamstown territory a second time in the first half. The Cavaliers would hold the Yellowjackets scoreless for the remainder of the half.
Down by fifteen points, the Cavaliers could make it a game if they could get a stop on the first possession. A short kick and subsequent return put Williamstown at their own 40 to start the second half. The Yellowjackets methodically put together an eight-play drive to eat three and half minutes off the clock while building a 27-6 advantage. The Cavaliers could move the ball, so they still had life with over 20 minutes left in the game. That’s when disaster struck. Williamstown’s kickoff fluttered in the air and settled at the West 36-yard line, just beside the Cavalier sideline. A Yellowjacket coverage man dove on the ball before the Cavaliers could secure it, giving Williamstown possession at the West 36-yard line. Four plays later, the Yellowjackets punched in a touchdown for a 34-6 lead with 6:45 remaining in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers responded to the adversity with a nine-play, 65-yard scoring drive that culminated with Vandall’s one-yard sneak for a score. The big plays of the drive were a 19-yard Vandall scramble and a 28-yard McClung reception that not only put the Cavaliers at the two-yard line, but saved a turnover as the pass looked to be intercepted. As was the case much of the season, the Cavaliers faltered on the conversion attempt to trail 34-12 with 3:36 left in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers weren’t finished. A perfectly executed onside kick dribbled to the 50-yard line as a mass of Cavaliers and Yellowjackets converged on the ball. Greenbrier West appeared to recover the kick but a long conference by the officials judged that possession would be in Williamstown’s favor, ironically at the 50-yard line. It was a disappointing blow to West’s chances. The Yellowjackets used just six plays to find the endzone. The Williamstown lead was commanding at 41-12 with 1:15 remaining in the third quarter.
Greenbrier West was able to move the football again with an 11-yard Vandall run followed by a 40-yard catch and run from McClung. Now at the fifteen, the Cavalier drive stalled as the game moved into the fourth quarter. For a third time in the contest, West had turned the ball over on downs. Williamstown put together a 10-play drive of their own, moving from their own 18-yard line to the West 17 before turning the ball over on downs themselves. They wouldn’t wait long to get the ball back, though, as Vandall was picked off at the West 45. The errant throw was returned to the Cavalier five-yard line, giving Williamstown an opportunity to put a little icing on their cake. Two plays later, the Yellowjackets held a 48-12 lead.
The final Cavalier drive of the 2021 season would begin at their own four-yard line. A facemask penalty would advance the ball to the 16, and freshman Isaac Agee carried for 24 yards to move West to their own 39-yard line. A 13-yard Agee burst moved the Cavaliers into Williamstown territory. After a Jones reception and a Lilly scramble, McClung would take a hitch pass 19 yards to the Yellowjacket 18. Lilly would take a short loss on first down, but Jones powered through the Williamstown line for a 14-yard gain giving the Cavaliers a first and goal at the six-yard line. From there, Jones would walk into the endzone, and Lilly bootlegged to the left for the conversion.
With the 48-20 loss, West finished the season with a 6-5 record. The four-year seniors ended their careers with a 27-16 record, including 2-3 in the playoffs. McClung set a Cavalier playoff single-game record with 119 receiving yards, breaking the previous mark of 112 set by Ronnie Morgan in 1997. Vandall broke the single-game record for passing yards with 131, bettering the mark of 128 yards set by B.J. Adams in 1997. Vandall also tied Kaiden Pack’s 2019 record for completions with 11.
Greenbrier West 6 0 6 8 – 20
Williamstown 7 14 20 7 – 48
GW -1st (6:45) Ty Nickell 3-yard run (Pass failed)
W – 1st (4:15) Rickie Allen 4-yard run (Isaac Joy PAT)
W – 2nd (7:41) Allen 6-yard run (Joy PAT)
W – 2nd (2:21) Max Moleesa 6-yard run (Joy PAT)
W – 3rd (8:26) Louis Goodnow 4-yard run (Kick failed)
W – 3rd (6:45) Jed Lane (Joy PAT)
GW – 3rd (3:36) Cole Vandall 1-yard run (Pass failed)
W – 3rd (1:15) Moleesa 10-yard run (Joy PAT)
W – 4th (6:32) Rex Anderson 4-yard run (Joy PAT)
GW – 4th (0:33) Josh Jones 2-yard run (Tucker Lilly run)
Rushing – (GW) Ty Nickell 11-52; Cole Vandall 8-45; Isaac Agee 2-36; Josh Jones 5-19; Marcus Adkins 1-15; Tucker Lilly 3-6; Kadin Parker 4-4; Jayden Robinson 1-0. (W) Rickie Allen 24-216; Maxwell Moleesa 23-200; Jed Lane 3-6; Louis Goodnow 1-4; Rex Anderson 1-3; Cooper Billingsley 1-1; Lynken Joy 1-0
Passing – (GW) Vandall 11-21-1-131-0; Lilly 3-4-0-21-0; Parker 1-1-0-7-0. (W) Moleesa 8-13-0-77-0
Receiving – (GW) Chase McClung 8-119; Parker 2-20; Lilly 1-10; Robinson 2-6; Jones 1-4; Nickell 1-0. (W) Kent Wigal 4-52; Louis Goodnow 2-14; Joy 1-10; Allen 1-1.