It was a much different atmosphere than normal this past Friday night, September 4, at Spartan Stadium in Fairlea when the Greenbrier East Spartans pummeled the Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles 39-12 in convincing fashion.
With masks and limited attendance the preliminary focus before kickoff, it was the Spartans (1-0) play that turned that focus to the field.
On the opening kickoff, the Spartans Colby Piner fielded the ball at his own seven-yard line. He then hit a seam and got to the outside and went 93 yards for a score that sent the limited crowd in attendance to their feet and in an uproar of screams. Noah Dotson’s extra point was blocked, and the Spartans led 6-0 just 14 seconds into the contest.
Beckley (0-1) answered with a nice little drive of their own that featured some nice runs from their speedy running back, Hezekyiah Creasy that put the Spartans defense on their heels.
Woodrow thought they had struck gold when quarterback Maddex McMillan hit Keynan Cook with a 37-yard scoring strike, but a holding penalty negated the score. The drive eventually ended with the Eagles trying a fake punt that was blown up by Garrett Bennett and Beckley turned the ball over on downs.
Defense was the story for both teams the rest of the quarter with the offense not picking up steam until the end of the period. That is when Creasy and the Eagles got something going. Creasy went for seven yards on the first play then followed that with a 28-yard gallop into Spartan territory. McMillen then found Tylai Kimble for 30 more yards when the receiver caught the ball after it was deflected into the air by the Spartan defenders. The possession extended into the second quarter, but the Spartans defense stood tall as they did all night. Their red zone defense was outstanding as they forced another turnover on downs.
This time on the ensuing drive, East capitalized in a big way.
After Piner gained 38 yards on the first two plays, the Eagles defense was cheating towards the line of scrimmage to stop the run. The next play, East quarterback Monquelle “Spark” Davis play actioned and found Piner wide open in the flat and the senior took it to the house from 49 yards away for a 12-0 Spartan lead with 9:04 left in the first half.
East’s defense stood tall once again and forced another turnover on downs, and then coach Lee scripted a brilliant series that used basically the rest of the clock.
The drive started at their own 29-yard line. They gained four first downs and used almost five minutes of game clock. By the time Davis had hit three passes in a row to Christian McNeely and Bryson Ormsbee, Piner scored from six yards out and Nate Baker barreled in for the 2-point conversion, there was only 23 seconds left in the half and East had built a commanding 20-0 lead at the break.
Woodrow finally got on the board midway through the third quarter after McMillen found Jace Colucci for a 25-yard touchdown as the East lead was cut to 20-6.
On the following kickoff, Piner had a big return close to midfield, plus a facemask penalty tacked on 15 yards. Then Piner ran for 30 yards down to the 4-yard line of the Eagles. Davis capped the two-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run and the Spartans went up 26-6.
East would continue to dominate the game from that point on. Quentin Wilson stole the show in the half with his power running style. He did not record a carry until the third quarter, yet still managed 136 yards on 13 rushes.
They added two more scores, a 26-yard touchdown catch from Trey Pondexter and a 21-yard scoring reception from Baker as he dragged a couple defenders on his back the last couple yards.
Ian Cline and Lucas McCallister both had interceptions with the latter also recovering a fumble. Braden Bragg, JT Spencer and Bennett all played well on defense and contributed heavily to the whole team’s defensive success.
Davis accounted for four total touchdowns and was 9-of-19 passing for 159 yards and rushed for 42 more.
Piner ran for 95 yards, had 62 receiving and well over 150 return yards. He accounted for three touchdowns as all came in a different fashion.
East ran for 306 yards as a team.
Creasy paced the Eagles with 154 yards on 21 carries. McMillen threw for 188 and two scores.
The Spartans will head to Poca this Friday, September 11, to take on the Dots.
Stats courtesy of 103.1, WRON.