Preview: Cavaliers At Meadow Bridge

Greenbrier West (3-1) at Meadow Bridge (1-2)

Friday, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Frank Arritt Stadium

Radio: WRLB 95.3 FM (7 PM)

Series: Greenbrier West leads 7-0

Last Meeting: (10/04/2019) Greenbrier West 43 Meadow Bridge 6

Last Game: Greenbrier West had an open date last week after defeating Webster County 58-6 in Charmco on Sept. 17. The Cavaliers overwhelmed the Highlanders, scoring a school-record 50 points in the first half. Chase McClung intercepted a Webster County pass on the first play from scrimmage and returned it to the Highlander 3-yard line. That helped set the tone for a Cavalier defense that held Webster County to an 0-8 night passing, two interceptions, and three fumbles. Daron Vaughan contributed to the Cavalier effort with an interception and a fumble recovery. Ty Nickell rushed for over 100 yards for a third consecutive game and scored two touchdowns. Cole Vandall had a breakout performance at quarterback, passing for two touchdowns and rushing for two more. Jayden Robinson, Moses Gray, and Chase Franklin added touchdown rushes for the Cavaliers.

Meadow Bridge is also coming off an open weekend, last playing on Sept. 17 where they suffered a 50-12 defeat at James Monroe. The Wildcats were limited in their personnel with seven players out including four starters. The Mavericks scored on the first play from scrimmage, a 54-yard touchdown pass, and scored on a 77-yard run, a 74-yard punt return, a 54-yard run, and a 39-yard run. Seaton Mullins had a 1-yard touchdown run for the Wildcats in the third quarter, and Landon James capped the Meadow Bridge scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth.

The matchup: The Cavaliers are averaging 244.8 yards per game on the ground with Nickell logging a hefty 9 yards per carry. Nickell has rushed for over 500 yards on the season and has three straight 100-yard performances. Two of Nickell’s three touchdowns on the season have been over fifty yards. That is a dangerous combination for a Wildcat defense that gave up three touchdown runs of over fifty yards in the loss to James Monroe. The Wildcats also gave up 225 yards rushing to Midland Trail in a 33-0 week-three loss, 111 to Robert Ruffner. Vandall has added 200 yards on the ground to complement Nickell’s output, and he leads the team with 4 rushing touchdowns. Robinson has 3 touchdowns on only 16 carries, so he will be a threat as well. The Cavaliers hope to get junior Kadin Parker back after a five-week hiatus.

Meadow Bridge has been susceptible to the pass as well, surrendering an opening-play touchdown to James Monroe through the air. Midland Trail quarterback Josh Dickerson diced-up the Wildcats in week three, going 7-9 for 147 yards and 3 touchdowns. That could be advantageous for Vandall who has recovered from a rough week-one outing at Buffalo to toss 4 touchdown passes in three Cavalier victories. Chase McClung has emerged as a big-play threat with touchdown receptions of 43 yards at Summers County and 63 yards against Webster County. Parker added a 48-yard touchdown reception at Buffalo, so his impact could be huge if he returns.

Defensively, McClung has shown an ability to make dynamic plays since his switch to the free safety position. He has interceptions in each of the last two games. Parker’s return would add depth to a secondary that has gained valuable experience in his absence. Reney Cordial leads the team in sacks with three, and Joey Terry was beginning to create a lot of problems for opposing backfields before having to sit out the Webster County win. Terry’s return will further bolster a defensive unit that has made great strides without several starters. Nickell and Robinson continue to lead the team in tackles.

For the Wildcats, Dustin Adkins got off to a great start in the season-opening win at Van going 9-16 for 86 yards and 3 touchdowns. He struggled to find much consistency in the loss to Midland Trail, going 4-12 for 19 yards with an interception. Adkins’ main target at Van was Conner Mullins. Mullins hauled in five passes for 61 yards and two touchdowns. James McClure had three receptions, one for a touchdown, versus the Bulldogs. McClure added three more catches at Midland Trail to lead the team.

Adkins led all Wildcat defenders with 13 tackles in the win over Van, and senior Ty Roles added 12 tackles against the Bulldogs. Linebacker Levi Lester had an interception in the Midland Trail loss, and freshman Silas Adkins recovered a Patriot fumble.

Miscellaneous: Meadow Bridge will be hosting a pregame tailgate fundraiser before the game Friday in front of the gymnasium. The event begins at 5 p.m. Grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and bacon cheeseburgers will be served.

Greenbrier West has numerous athletic ties to Meadow Bridge High School. Cavalier head coach Toby Harris was a freshman on Meadow Bridge’s 1958 Class A state championship team. Harris was part of a senior class that went 30-8-1 at Meadow Bridge including two Greenbrier Valley Conference championships and one state championship. Wallace Jones was the head coach at Meadow Bridge from 1962-1968. Jones became Greenbrier West’s athletic director and defensive coordinator from 1969-1986. John Estep was a standout guard in basketball at Meadow Bridge and led the state in scoring in 1949 with 29.5 ppg. Estep is Greenbrier West’s all-time winningest head coach with a 379-200 record in basketball and led the Cavaliers to the 1992 Class AA basketball state championship. Estep was also an assistant football coach at Greeenbrier West from 1968-1989.

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