Route 60 Rivalry Renews When Patriots Visit Charmco
By Michael Goddad
Midland Trail (4-) at #11 Greenbrier West (6-2)
Friday, October 29, 7:30 PM
Radio: WRLB 95.3 FM (7 PM)
Series: Greenbrier West leads 24-12
Last meeting: (11/1/2019) Greenbrier West 27 Midland Trail 20
Last week: Greenbrier West thoroughly dominated Sherman, running around, over, and through the Tide for a 38-8 victory. The Cavaliers, running behind a revamped offensive line, rushed for a season-high 463 yards on the way to their sixth win. Ty Nickell set career highs with 4 touchdown runs and 269 yards on the ground. Chase McClung pulled down his fourth touchdown reception of the season and Marcus Adkins added a 60-yard touchdown carry, his second scoring-run in as many weeks. The Greenbrier West defense smothered the Tide attack, holding Timothy Hager to a 0-8 passing night. C.J. Winnell, who came into the game with 647 yards and 7 touchdowns, was held to 53 yards and a lost fumble.
Midland Trail notched not one, but two victories in week nine. The Patriots are playing catch up to get ten games played by week eleven after COVID wreaked havoc on their early-season schedule. The Patriots traveled to Hinton on Monday, October 18 and handled an undermanned Summers County squad 35-14. Senior quarterback Josh Dickerson tossed two touchdown passes on a 6-8, 145-yard night. Matt Light caught two of Dickerson’s passes, one for a 40-yard score. Aden Isaacs contributed two scores to the Patriot effort, a 2-yard run and a 6-yard reception. Griffin Boggs and Robert Ruffner each added a rushing touchdown for the Patriots.
Four nights later, Midland Trail demolished Richwood 41-2. The 39-point victory was the Patriots’ most lopsided win since the 2017 season. Cody Harrell got the scoring parade off to a start with a 70-yard punt return touchdown. Dickerson surpassed the 1,000-yard plateau in the Patriot’s victory.
The matchup: Playoff implications are dripping all over this highly-anticipated rivalry game. If the Cavaliers win, they’ll clinch a spot in the playoffs. If Greenbrier West wins both of their remaining games, they’ll guarantee themselves at least one home playoff game and possibly two. For Midland Trail, the season comes down to this Friday night. If they win, they’ll keep their slim playoff hopes alive. If they lose, they’ll be playing for pride and a .500 season on the campaign’s final Friday night.
Did I say dripping? The forecast for Friday night is a wet one. The chance of precipitation is 47% at kickoff and it steadily increases as the game progresses. The team that scores early may have the advantage. Greenbrier West has been great when they’ve limited turnovers so ball control will be paramount. The Cavalier offense had its best rushing output of the season last Friday at Sherman. The “Bull Necks,” better known as the offensive line, has opened gaping holes for the Cavalier runners the past few weeks.. Ty Nickell leads the area in rushing with 1,297 yards, and Adkins has added a viable scoring threat from the Cavalier backfield. Kadin Parker has been a triple-threat since his return for the Meadow Bridge contest, logging time at receiver, running back, and quarterback. Cole Vandall continues to manage the Cavalier offense with 731 yards passing and 9 touchdowns. Vandall’s 330 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns are the second-highest totals on the team.
A slick surface and wet football won’t do the Midland Trail passing game any favors. Dickerson likes to throw the ball about 40 percent of the time, completing 48 percent of his passes for 1,075 yards and 14 touchdowns. Dickerson’s main target is Ayden Simms with 22 receptions, but he distributes the ball to Isaacs and Harrell almost as equally. The return of Light will bolster the Patriot receiving corps. Midland Trail’s leading rusher is Robert Ruffner, but Isaacs and Simms will get some carries as well. Ruffner has over 600 yards on the ground and 5 touchdowns.
Miscellaneous: The Cavalier Marching Band will have a special twist this Friday night when alumni members from throughout the history of the band will march with the current band at halftime. Greenbrier West head coach Toby Harris is 3-0 all-time against the Patriots. Harris was 1-1 versus the Ansted Highlanders and 1-0 against the Nuttall Generals before the schools consolidated to form Midland Trail in 1976.