This football season has been a strange one to say the least, but the Greenbrier East Spartans have done their part at making it one of the more entertaining ones in recent memory. In yet another exciting, thrilling contest this past Friday night, October 16, the Spartans defeated the improved Woodrow Wilson Flying Eagles 49-46 in a back-and-forth game that never allowed either team to let up their effort in the slightest bit.
It was the sixth time in the seven games this season that East has scored at least 35 points.
East got the ball first and did not take long to get on the scoreboard. Colby Piner caught a 19-yard reverse pass from Christian McNeely and Quentin Wilson followed that with a 12-yard rumble. Piner then scored on a 34-yard run to cap the three play, 65-yard drive and the Spartans (5-2) led 7-0 just 56 seconds into the contest.
Woodrow (1-5) answered on their opening series as well. With the help of Nate Grayton and Hezekyiah Creasy doing all the hard work and getting the Eagles deep into East territory, it was quarterback Maddex McMillan that finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run. The two-point try was no good, however, and the Eagles trailed 7-6.
And the game just kept getting crazier and even more action packed.
Wilson took a handoff and went 47 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the ensuing possession and the Spartans led 13-6 after the missed extra point with 7:37 left in the first half.
Defense finally arrived on the next Woodrow drive when East’s Kamen Anderson sacked McMillan and killed their drive. The Eagles ended up punting the ball back to the Spartans.
The score stayed the same until the wild second period.
Early in the second, McMillan had a couple nice runs to get the Eagles down the field quickly. He capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown as Beckley locked the score back up at 13-all.
The Spartans went back to Wilson, who had 133 yards in the first half, to get the momentum back they were slowly losing. He ran for 12 yards on the first play of the next drive and got 15 free yards after he was hit late out of bounds by a Woodrow defender. Then Wilson rumbled for 27 yards down the sideline and broke many tackles along the way. His backfield mate, Nate Baker, concluded the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and the Spartans regained the lead 19-13 with 5:02 left on the second quarter clock.
Following the pattern of the game and not to be outdone, the Eagles Tylai Kimble fielded the subsequent kickoff, found a seam, and went 75 yards untouched for the touchdown and a 19-19 tie.
Davis then answered for the Spartans. On the third play, he dropped back and looked to throw downfield, but could not find any receivers open. So, he took off and darted through the Eagles defense and scored on a 49-yard run and gave East the lead back once again at 26-19 with 3:58 remaining.
Two minutes later, Woodrow’s Jace Colucci caught a 75-yard touchdown pass and the score was tied for the third time at 26-all.
East took the ball back with just over a minute left on the clock, but they kept their explosive offense moving. Davis got loose again on a scramble and took it to the end zone from 36 yards away with the help of a huge block from Baker. Baker then scored the two point try and East led 34-26 at the break.
The second half started with Beckley’s hands on the football and it mirrored the first half to perfection. The East defense stacked the box with 10 defenders, and on the third play of the series, Creasy got the handoff, hit the second level and went 64 yards for a touchdown. The two-point try failed though, and East still held a 34-32 advantage.
It looked as though the Eagles were going to hold the Spartans down on the following possession, but with East facing a tough 4th-and-10, Davis escaped for 11 yards to move the chains. Then on the very next play, Davis lofted a pass to the end zone which Piner wrestled away from the Beckley defender for a 29-yard touchdown catch. That made the score 41-32 and an important two-score lead.
The fireworks slowed down a little from there until midway through the fourth quarter. With the Eagles facing a near impossible 4th-and-31, they made it possible with the aide of a roughing the passer called on the Spartans. That kept the 15-play, 72-yard drive alive as it was eventually capped by McMillan on a 1-yard run. Creasy then added the two-point run and the Eagles trimmed the deficit to 41-40 with just over six minutes to play in the contest.
With pressure staring at the Spartans straight in the face, they answered the call. After methodically moving the ball, Davis ripped off a 30-yard run that put the pressure back on the Eagles. That Beckley pressure became even stronger on the next play when Piner scored on a 15-yard run that gave the Spartans a 49-40 lead with 2:26 left after Piner’s huge two-point conversion run in which the ball had been moved back to the 8-yard line after a penalty.
But no matter how many times the game was thought to be in hand for East, Beckley seemed to always answer. On another long yardage down, this one a 3rd-and-20, McMillan rolled out and threw a pass up for grabs which Colucci grabbed for a 25-yard touchdown in between two East players.
The Eagles then attempted an onside kick, but the Spartans secured it easily and held on for an important win, their second over Beckley in six weeks.
The McDonalds player of the Game honors went to Anderson who really stood out on the defensive side of the ball for East. JT Spencer also shined on that side.
Beckley outgained East 521 yards to 466.
East put three 100-yard rushers in the stat sheets.
Davis ran 10 times for 157 yards and two scores. Wilson ran for 133 yards (all in the first half) and a score. Also, Piner had 16 carries for 110 yards and two TD’s, and 48 yards receiving.
Creasy led Woodrow with 161 yards rushing. McMillan ran for 52 and two scores and passed for 160 yards and two more touchdowns.
East will host either St. Albans or Huntington this Friday, October 23 depending on the Covid metric chart. It is the Spartans final scheduled home game this year. As always, the Daily News will have updates as soon as they are available.
Stats courtesy of 103.1, WRON