CHARMCO — A steady diet of Greenbrier West’s Noah Brown and Cole McClung gave Class A co-No. 5 Midland Trail a lot of heartburn Friday in its battle with the co-No. 5 Cavaliers.
More importantly, it did more than enough damage to soften up the Patriots and lift the Cavaliers to a 27-20 triumph en route to capturing the New River Valley Conference championship in the first year of the league’s reboot campaign, as well as bolstering the team's postseason playoff position.
Brown amassed 192 yards on 30 carries on the night, and McClung gathered 89 yards on 18 attempts as the Cavaliers dominated play on the line of scrimmage. The bruising Brown scored the Cavaliers' final touchdown of the game, a 5-yard burst that handed the hosts a 27-13 lead with 1:34 left.
Midland Trail got a 12-yard scoring pass from Chris Vines to Ayden Simms as the clock expired to make the final 27-20.
“We don’t have anything like that (West’s front line which paced the way for the punishing ground game),” said Midland Trail head coach Frank Isaacs. Losing depth in the trenches as the season has progressed showed itself Friday, Isaacs said. “We just kept getting thinner and thinner, and they just kept pounding and pounding.”
Greenbrier West head coach Toby Harris said his team simply took advantage of what was available.
“We were ready to do whatever we needed to do,” said Harris. “We found out we could (run the ball), so that’s where we went.
“We’re glad to get the win. We just need to keep working on things.”
Midland Trail didn’t generate the offense West did on the evening (the offensive edge went to West, 350-238), but the Patriots were never out of striking distance.
Colton Yoder’s 60-yard TD jaunt in the first minute of the third quarter trimmed the deficit to eight, 21-13. Yoder, still returning to form following an injury, accumulated 141 yards on 20 carries on the night.
Quarterback Kaiden Pack scored Greenbrier West’s first two TDs on identical 1-yard runs in the first half. The initial TD capped an 11-play, 83-yard drive that featured three double-digit runs and a 9-yard burst by Brown and 22 total yards from McClung as West established its rhythm early. Pack’s second tally ended a nine-play, 65-yard march that featured a 36-yard gallop by Brown on the first play.
Those two scores sandwiched a 1-yard TD run by Vines and a PAT kick by teammate Talon Shockey. That Trail scoring march was set up by a Robert Ruffner fumble recovery and included a 29-yard scamper down the Midland Trail sideline by Yoder.
While the West ground game was the key, it was a pass play late in the half that produced one of the more crucial results for the Cavaliers.
After West’s Isaac Brown recovered a Patriot fumble on the visitors’ 29, Pack eventually found Noah Brown open in the end zone for a 22-yard scoring hookup with only :09 remaining in the opening half, and the PAT kick by John Parks allowed the Cavaliers to carry a 21-7 lead into the locker room at the break.
“That was a big play,” said Harris.
Happy with the win, Harris said his team still has areas in which it needs to improve. Three turnovers over the course of the game concerned him, for one. “We’ve been doing that the last three or four weeks,” lamented Harris. “I don’t know what the problem is.”
And, he said, his team “got a little complacent” at times Friday.
Isaacs tipped his hat to the Cavaliers, who beat an Isaacs-coached team for the first time.
“They beat us tonight,” he said. “They were the better team.”
Besides Ruffner's fumble recovery, Chase Dixon also covered a fumble for the Patriots, and Trevor Maichle picked off a West pass. Ruffner and Dylan Wilson forced fumbles. Aden Isaacs registered 11 tackles and three assists to guide the prevent unit, while Dixon logged nine tackles and four assists.
Greenbrier West (8-1), No. 4 in this week's WVSSAC ratings, hosts Mount View Friday, while No. 8 Midland Trail (6-3) entertains Pocahontas County the same night.
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Greenbrier West 27, Midland Trail 20
MT (6-3): 0 7 6 7 — 20
GW (8-1): 7 14 0 6 — 27
GW: Kaiden Pack 1 run (John Parks kick), 7-0, 2:51
MT: Chris Vines 1 run (Talon Shockey kick), 7-7, 11:12
GW: Pack 1 run (Parks kick), 14-7, 7:46
GW: Noah Brown 22 pass from Pack (Parks kick), 21-7, 0:09
MT: Colton Yoder 60 run (kick fail), 21-13, 11:12
GW: Brown 5 run (kick failed), 27-13, 1:34
MT: Ayden Simms 12 pass from Vines (Shockey kick), 27-20, 0:00
RUSHING — MT: Colton Yoder 20-141-1, Chris Vines 8-31-1, Robert Ruffner 3-3, Liam Gill 2-8, Griffin Boggs 1-2, Shirmace Weatherly 2-8, River Barnhouse, 2-23. GW: Noah Brown 30-192-1, Kaiden Pack 6-17-2, Levi Weikle 4-18, Cole McClung 18-89, Team 1-0.
PASSING — MT: Chris Vines 2-9-0-33-1. GW: Kaiden Pack 2-5-1-34-1, Kyle Holliday 0-1-0-0-0.
RECEIVING — MT: Aaron Sisler 1-21, Ayden Simms 1-12-1. GW: Noah Brown 2-34-1.
TAKEAWAYS — MT: Robert Ruffner (FR), Chase Dixon (FR), Trevor Maichle (INT). GW: Isaac Brown (FR), Kyle Holliday (FR).
• • •
Also last week:
Meadow Bridge 20
Calhoun County 6
Hunter Claypool ran for 104 yards and scored two touchdowns (one on the ground and one through the air), while collecting 21 tackles on defense, to help keep the playoff dreams alive for Meadow Bridge in a 20-6 win over visiting Calhoun County.
Quarterback Dustin Adkins ran for a score and passed for another as Meadow Bridge overcame an early 6-0 deficit.
Class A No. 19 Meadow Bridge (5-4) hosts Gilmer County Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Calhoun County (2-6) 0 6 0 0 — 6
Meadow Bridge (5-4): 0 7 6 7 — 20
CC: Adam Parsons 1 run (run failed), 6:15
MB: Hunter Claypool 6 pass from Dustin Adkins (kick good), 1:35
MB: Hunter Claypool 1 run (kick failed), 6:30
MB: Dustin Adkins 26 run (kick good), 3:00
RUSHING — MB: Hunter Claypool 16-104-1, Nick White 19-88, Dustin Adkins 4-31-1
PASSING — MB: Dustin Adkins 11-4-46-1-1
RECEIVING — MB: Ayden Redden 2-32, Hunter Claypool 2-14-1
TAKEAWAYS — MB: Levi Lester (FR), Kyle Hinken (INT)