CHARMCO (WVDN) – Greenbrier West rolled to a ninth victory Friday night with a 47-0 shutout of Moorefield. The Cavaliers set a program-record by keeping a team scoreless for the seventh time in the win. In the process, West set another school mark by holding all their home opponents scoreless in 2022. Finishing the regular season 9-1, West accomplished one of their goals by securing at least one home playoff game in the upcoming WVSSAC playoffs.
Dalton Heath got the Cavaliers on the scoreboard first, but it came on an assist from Ty Nickell. Moorefield had driven to the Cavalier 40-yard line on their opening series but were facing a fourth and six. A low shotgun snap dribbled past Yellowjacket quarterback Brock Linville, and as he turned to scoop up the ball, Nickell streaked in from the left side and scooped the ball up at the West 46-yard line. Grabbing the ball on the run, Nickell sprinted to the Moorefield 25-yard line and glanced over his left shoulder. Fellow linebacker Dalton Heath was five yards behind Nickell giving a hard pursuit. Nickell geared down after crossing the 10-yard line and reached toward Heath with the football in hand. Heath took the impromptu handoff at the four-yard line and carried it in the end zone for the score. Hayden Ridgeway chipped the ball in for the extra point and the Cavaliers had a 7-0 lead with 6:45 to go in the first quarter.
The staunch Cavalier defense forced the Yellowjackets into a three-and-out on their next possession. A short Nickell run was followed by an apparent first down sweep by Ethan Holliday, but a penalty flag forced West back to their own 39-yard line. Nickell took the next carry straight up the gut and cleared a Moorefield safety at the midfield stripe. Cole Vandall got an edge block for Nickell at the 45-yard line, making it a footrace between Nickell and Yellowjacket defenders Tyson Arnold and Adam Landes. Arnold reached for Nickell at the 30-yard line, but Nickell easily swatted his hand away enroute to a 61-yard touchdown carry. The score was Nickell’s 43rd career rushing touchdown, breaking a three-way tie with Chris Fleming and Malik Boatwright to move Nickell solely into third place all-time. The PAT failed, giving West a 13-0 lead at the 3:20 mark of the first quarter.
Nickell wasn’t done with the Yellowjacket defense. The Cavaliers forced Moorefield into another three-and-out, followed by a Roy Loudermilk fair catch at the West 48-yard line. Nickell took a handoff on the first play and met Moorefield defensive end Chayse Myers behind the line of scrimmage. Nickell used a stiff-arm to shed Myers and turn up the field. Nickell hit the Yellowjacket sideline and galloped away from four Moorefield defenders for a 52-yard touchdown. The score was Nickell’s 12th rushing touchdown of over 40 yards in his career. Ridgeway’s kick was true for a 20-0 Cavalier advantage with 1:12 to go in the first quarter.
The two teams would trade possessions at the beginning of the second quarter with West getting a fourth down stop from Jacob Nutter at the Cavalier 40-yard line. Vandall carried for no gain on first down, then lightning struck for the Cavaliers. Tucker Lilly swung a pass in the left flat to Holliday. The Moorefield secondary was playing deep, giving Holliday room to run. Just as Holliday was about to reach the West 45-yard line, Arnold closed in from the middle of the field. Holliday dipped his left shoulder and barely broke stride in escaping Arnold’s tackle, then sprinted between two other Moorefield defenders for a 60-yard touchdown. Ridgeway’s PAT made it 27-0 with 5:39 to go before halftime.
After the stingy West defense forced Moorefield into a third three-play series, West’s offense set out to add to their 27-point lead. Beginning at the Cavalier 47-yard line, Holliday made a nice grab for a gain of 13. Nickell was stopped for no gain on first down but ran over Yellowjacket linebacker Axton Runions on second down for a gain of seven. A face-mask call advanced the ball to the Moorefield 19-yard line. Nickell punished the Yellowjackets on his next carry, sweeping to the left and stiff-arming two defenders to the ground before bulldozing Riley Pillus at the 10-yard line. Nickell carried off the left side again and was knocked out of bounds at the one-yard line, momentarily staving off a Cavalier score. Nickell popped in the end zone behind Vandall and Heath on the next play for the score. Ridgeway’s kick extended the lead to 34-0 with 1:41 to go in the half.
The Cavaliers would tack on two more touchdowns in the second half. Nickell added a three-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and Kadin Parker scored on a six-yard run in the fourth quarter. West had to rally to fight off a late Moorefield drive to keep their home shutout streak alive.
Nickell finished the regular season with 1,836 yards on the ground besting Hurricane’s Jeremiah Riffle by one yard for the overall state lead. Nickell’s single season total was good enough for the third most rushing yards in West history through 10 games. Nickell had his fourth 200-yard rushing night this season, giving him six for his career. Six is second to Trent Walker’s 10.
Holliday had West’s first 100-yard receiving game since Chase McClung in the 2021 playoffs against Williamstown, catching five balls for 133 yards and a TD. Holliday also registered 13 tackles including three for a loss. Holliday’s effort earned him Rock 95’s McDonald’s Player of the Game honors for a third time this season.
Before the game, Greenbrier West honored seniors from the football team, volleyball, JROTC, cheerleading and band. The senior Cavalier football players are Reney Cordial V, Dalton Heath, Ty Nickell, Kadin Parker, and Hunter Richmond.
|Ty Nickell stiff-arms Moorefield’s Ryan Mongold Friday night. Photo courtesy of Eli James.|
|Ethan Holliday fights for yardage against Moorefield. Photo courtesy of Eli James.|