Richwood – Greenbrier West improved to 5-2 Friday night with a resounding 50-8 win over the Richwood Lumberjacks. The Cavaliers amassed a season-high 503 yards of total offense. Ty Nickell lead the punishing Greenbrier West ground game with three rushing touchdowns. Playing without the services of three starting linemen, the Cavaliers found a little magic with their reserves and dominated a short-handed Richwood squad.
Kadin Parker split time at the quarterback with Cole Vandall in August training camp as the Cavaliers looked to replace two-year starter Kaden Pack. By the time the Cavaliers played their final preseason scrimmage, Vandall had assumed the quarterback duties and Parker had settled into a slotback position. Parker admittedly felt more comfortable running and catching the football. Following the season-opening game at Buffalo, Parker discovered that he had broken his jaw as a result of a vicious late hit. Parker persevered through the fourth quarter hit and finished the game with no knowledge of the severity of his injury. It would be his last action for a while. Sidelining Parker for a span of five weeks as he healed, the jaw was a setback both physically and mentally. Parker champed at the bit to rejoin his teammates while they reeled off three straight wins. An open week followed the string of West wins and allowed the Cavaliers some extra time before his return against Meadow Bridge. Parker delivered in the win over the Wildcats with 71 yards rushing and two touchdowns, a 40-yard reception, and an interception.
Fast forward to Friday night in Richwood. Coming off a disappointing home loss to James Monroe, the Cavaliers were looking for ways to expand their offensive repertoire. The decision was made to try a pistol package for Parker, getting him some snaps at the quarterback position. It was a change of pace and something the Lumberjacks hadn’t seen on film. The early results were positive. Opening the game in the new package, Parker carried three times for 27 yards as part of a 7-play, 50-yard touchdown drive. Ty Nickell capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The only hiccup on the drive was a 2-point conversion pass from Parker to Nickell that fell incomplete.
Undermanned for much of the season, Richwood has had to learn to be creative to find success. Starting the drive at their own 15-yard line, the Lumberjacks mixed in short runs and varied their snap counts to move the football. Short gains will only take you so far, however, and Richwood found itself in a third and seven situation at their own 32-yard line early in the possession. Undaunted, junior quarterback Cooper Donahue took a shotgun snap and dropped back, staring at his intended receiver. That receiver was sophomore Tyler Barnhouse, a 5’7” burner that had lined up to the left and had single coverage from Chase McClung. Barnhouse sprinted five yards up the field and turned inside to his quarterback, drawing McClung’s eyes toward Donahue to find the football. Barnhouse, however, spun to his outside and darted up the field leaving McClung five yards behind him. Donahue lofted his first pass of the night and Barnhouse sprinted under it at the West 47-yard line, racing into the endzone for a 68-yard touchdown. Donahue ran the ball in for the two-point conversion and the Lumberjacks had a rare lead, 8-6, with 5:26 remaining in the opening quarter.
Unexpectedly with the lead, another creative attempt was dialed up. Richwood sometimes uses a bunched formation and an onside kick to limit their opponent’s opportunities for big kickoff returns. The downside to that strategy is when the opponent recovers, they end up with great field position. The Cavaliers did just that, beginning their second possession at the midfield stripe. Vandall went to work and swung a pass to Nickell in the left flat for a six-yard gain, and an offsides call went against the Lumberjacks to give West a first down at the Richwood 39-yard line. With two receivers set to each side, Vandall took the shotgun snap and drifted back in the pocket. Tucker Lilly got off the line quickly and ran past linebacker Josh Landreth, streaking straight down the field. Vandall put the ball up to Lilly who was running downfield uncovered. Lilly pulled the ball in at the ten and stumbled into the endzone, his momentum on the catch carrying him headfirst into the endzone. It was the answer the Cavaliers were looking for, and it came quickly. Nickell carried the two-point conversion in for a 14-8 Cavalier lead less than a minute after Richwood had taken it.
The Cavalier defense wasted no time getting the ball back for a hot West offense. On first down, Braiden Hayhurst burst up the middle for what appeared to be an 8-yard gain, but as he fell to the turf, he did so empty-handed. Jayden Robinson had stripped Hayhurst of the football, tearing it away cleanly to give Greenbrier West possession at the Lumberjack 43-yard line. Richwood was watching things fall apart rapidly. The Cavaliers attacked immediately with Vandall tossing another deep ball, this time to Parker. The ball dropped into Parker’s hands at the five-yard line, but he was unable to maintain the catch. An option to Nickell to the right yielded three yards, then Nickell took a toss to the left and redirected up the field. Robinson walled off a defender to the left and Parker sealed the safety at the 25-yard line to allow Nickell to race 40 yards, untouched, into the endzone. Vandall’s conversion pass went through Robinson’s hands, but the West lead was now 20-8 with 3:13 remaining in the first quarter.
Atonement can be a beautiful thing in high school sports. Coaches often tell athletes to move on and make the next play because you can’t get a bad one back. What you can do is learn from your mistake and not make it a second time. Richwood got the ball back at their own 25-yard line and tried to go to work. An offsides call garnered the Lumberjacks a free five yards, and the moment for atonement was at hand. Donahue took the snap and rolled hard to his right. Barnhouse had lined up at an inside slot to the right, and he was rolling to his right, mirroring Donahue. McClung was once again in coverage and jumped underneath the out-route of Barnhouse. Barnhouse tried to adjust and slipped behind McClung, moving up the field as he maneuvered past the defense. Donahue delivered on the run as Jacob Nutter pressured him to release the ball, but McClung elevated and plucked the football out of the sky, spinning back inside as he secured the catch and started down the West sideline. McClung got no less than four blocks as a Cavalier convoy escorted him to the Lumberjack endzone. After getting burned earlier in the game for a touchdown, McClung made up for the mistake with a pick-six. Vandall easily skirted across the goal line for the two-point conversion and the Cavalier lead was 28-8 with 2:51 left in the first quarter.
After the two teams traded possessions throughout the second quarter, the Cavaliers halted Richwood at the West 10-yard line with three and a half minutes left in the first half. Marcus Adkins, another talented running back in the Cavalier stable, got his first real opportunity to show how deep the Cavaliers can be in the backfield. On second down from the fifteen, Adkins shot off the right side, breaking two tackles inside the 25-yard line and carrying into Richwood territory at the 49. Vandall faked a handoff to Adkins and gained 15 yards himself, and Adkins ripped off a 23-yard gain. Parker took a pitch to the left for eight yards, and Adkins topped the drive off with a 3-yard touchdown carry. Vandall hit Lilly for the two-point conversion and the Cavaliers would carry a 36-8 advantage into the halftime break.
Richwood got the ball to start the second half, but the Cavaliers wouldn’t yield any field position. Forcing Richwood to give up the football, the Lumberjack punt would give Greenbrier West possession at the Richwood 49-yard line. Starting with favorable field position once again, the Cavaliers went on the attack. Robinson started the drive with two solid carries up the middle for twelve yards and a West first down. Establishing the middle of the field as a point of attack, West shifted to the perimeter. Parker took a pitch to the right and cut up and out on a block from Vandall and from that point, Parker found clear sailing for a 37-yard touchdown run. Vandall connected with Lilly once more for the conversion and a 44-8 Cavalier lead.
Richwood’s last real threat to score came immediately after the Parker touchdown. The Cavaliers received a dead ball unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the Parker touchdown run, and the penalty was enforced on the kickoff. This forced the Cavaliers to kick from their own 25-yard line. Robinson, who normally handles the kickoff duties, was injured on the second carry of the preceding drive and was out of the game. Vandall was enlisted to perform the kick, and the errant kick gave Richwood their best starting field-position of the night at the Cavalier 40-yard line. Richwood would put together a 10-play drive but could only advance as far as the Cavalier 19-yard line. On the Lumberjacks’ 10th play, Donahue launched a deep ball intended for Barnhouse. The ball was badly overthrown, and free safety Kadin Parker settled under the throw for an interception at the Cavalier 5-yard line, returning it to the West 10.
Closing in on the fourth quarter with a comfortable lead, Greenbrier West looked to run some clock and finish off the Lumberjacks for good. Adkins took the ball on first down and gutted the Richwood defense for 34 yards. Nickell followed up with a 15-yard carry into Richwood territory. After a short Nickell gain, Parker handed the ball to Adkins who ripped the fatigued Lumberjacks defense for 17 yards. Unable to put the brakes on the Cavaliers at this point, Richwood succumbed to the West offense as Nickell capped the scoring with a 28-yard touchdown run around the left end. A high snap on the PAT prevented the Cavaliers from adding to their season-best effort on conversions, but the Cavaliers lead 50-8 with 11:18 remaining in the game. The score would hold up until the final buzzer.
Greenbrier West improved to 5-2 on the campaign. A game with huge playoff implications looms this Friday night at 5-2 Sherman. Richwood fell to 1-5 and will host Meadow Bridge on Tuesday night as they look to make up ground on games missed earlier in the season. Ty Nickell went over the 1,000-yard plateau Friday night securing the 23rd one thousand-yard rushing season in Cavalier football history. Nickell has six-straight games of at least 100 yards rushing in 2021. Marcus Adkins had a career-first 100-yard rushing night and scored his first rushing touchdown of the season, and Tucker Lilly had a career-first touchdown reception in the first quarter.
Greenbrier West 28 8 8 6 – 50
Richwood 8 0 0 0 – 8
8:39 1st – Ty Nickell 1yd TD (Pass failed)
5:26 1st – Tyler Barnhouse 68yd pass from Cooper Donahue (Donahue run)
4:27 1st – Tucker Lilly 39yd pass from Cole Vandall (Nickell run)
3:13 1st – Ty Nickell 40yd TD (Pass failed)
2:51 1st – Chase McClung 39yd INT TD (Vandall run)
0:54 2nd – Marcus Adkins 3yd TD (Lilly pass from Vandall)
7:03 3rd – Kadin Parker 37yd TD (Lilly pass from Vandall)
11:18 4th – Ty Nickell 28yd TD (Run failed)
Passing – (GW) Vandall 7-11-1-109-1 (RW) Donahue 2-10-2-85-1, Barnhouse 0-1-0
Rushing (GW) Nickell 12-124 3TD (1,40,28), Adkins 6-110 TD (3), K Parker 6-69 TD (37), Agee 3-37, Robinson 3-17, Lilly 3-16, Vandall 1-13, Vandall 5-8
(RW)Hayhurst 11-36, Barnhouse 6-35, Hamon 5-12, Landreth 2-6, Donahue 8-2, Workman 1-1, Crowder 2-(-8)
Receiving (GW) Nickell 2-39, Parker 2-21, McClung 2-10, Lilly 1-39 TD (39)
(RW) Barnhouse 2-85 TD (68)