OAK HILL — The renewal of a longstanding rivalry saw a reversal of trends for both teams.
That was good for Oak Hill and bad for Woodrow Wilson.
Oak Hill bounced back from a pair of losses to perennial powers while Woodrow’s offense sputtered after two strong performances, and the Red Devils came away with a 22-14 victory Friday at John P. Duda Stadium.
The Red Devils (3-2) dominated the first half, outgaining the Flying Eagles 121-54, but only got a touchdown out of it and trailed 7-6 at halftime. That changed in the second half, starting with Leonard Farrow’s 15-yard touchdown run that put Oak Hill on top for good, 13-7, with 7:13 to play in the third quarter.
Oak Hill broke a two-game losing streak, but those losses came at Class AAA power Spring Valley — which snapped Martinsburg’s state-record 57-game winning streak in September — and Class AA No. 2 Bluefield.
“A win’s always good to have,” first-year Oak Hill coach David Moneypenny said. “We’ve been on the road the last two weeks against some pretty good football teams. We played a little bit better last week (against Bluefield) than we did the week before. But, yeah, this is something these kids needed. It’s going to hopefully kickstart us and get us going into next week.”
Meanwhile, the Flying Eagles (1-7) could not follow up two consecutive high-powered outings. An offense that averaged 44 points and over 500 yards in three-point losses to Greenbrier East and George Washington could muster only 161 against their old, yet new Class AAA border rival.
The teams were playing for the first time since 2015, resuming a series that had at one point had been played every year from 1926 until 1980. Despite the loss, Woodrow leads the overall series 58-16-3.
“They just whipped our tail,” Woodrow coach Street Sarrett said. “We just got whipped up front. Dropped balls, penalties, bad play calling by the coaches. It’s a team effort. We win as a team and lose as a team.”
The field was in poor condition after torrential rain that moved into the area Wednesday night and fell most of the day Thursday. Both teams struggled with it, fumbling and losing their footing on cuts.
Woodrow’s Keynan Cook — who had a 42-yard touchdown nullified by a holding penalty — lost a potentially long kickoff return for a touchdown when the ball suddenly popped out of his hands. Oak Hill’s Ethan Vargo-Thomas had a sure 50-yard touchdown run cut short when the same thing happened to him.
The difference was, the Red Devils were able to overcome it. The run by Vargo-Thomas only prolonged the inevitable, coming three plays before Farrow’s go-ahead touchdown.
The game’s pivot came in the second half, when the Flying Eagles decided on consecutive drives to go for first down on third-and-short situations in their own territory. They were stopped both times, and the Red Devils turned them into points.
Vargo-Thomas’ 37-yard field goal hit the crossbar and bounced through, then Te-amo Shelton’s 16-yard touchdown run gave the Red Devils a 22-7 lead with 8:03 to play.
Vargo-Thomas had a productive game for Oak Hill, rushing 12 times for 85 yards in addition to his field goal.
“He’s solid,” Moneypenny said. “He’s just a sophomore. He can do it all for us. We’ve got him in the secondary and he can play some fullback for us. I think this was the second week. We never even worked him at fullback. Smart dude. We’ve got to have him out there.”
The Flying Eagles got within eight when Cook outjumped two defenders to catch a 34-yard pass from Maddex McMillen with 7:30 to go.
The Red Devils responded with a 13-play drive that took 6:34 off the clock. They punted and Woodrow gained possession at its own 5 with 55.6 seconds to play, but Farrow intercepted McMillen on the first play of the drive.
Shelton finished with 167 yards on 25 carries.
Woodrow will close out its season Nov. 6 at home versus Class AAA No. 1 South Charleston.
Oak Hill, Class AAA co-No. 13, will host No. 20 University with a shot at making the state playoffs in its first year in Class AAA since 2015.
“They just play hard,” Moneypenny said. “They’ve been playing hard every Friday night. I don’t know if I’ve been around a group of boys who continually play hard week after week. That’s what we tell them. You play hard, you got a chance.”
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WW (1-7) 7 0 0 7 — 14
OH (3-2) 0 6 7 9 — 22
WW: Jace Colucci 34 punt return (Connor Mollohan kick), 2:44.
OH: Logan Lawhorn 1 run (kick blocked), 11:58.
OH: Leonard Farrow 15 run (Ethan Vargo-Thomas kick), 7:13.
OH: Vargo-Thomas 37 field goal, 11:03.
OH: Te-amo Shelton 16 run (kick blocked), 8:03.
WW: Keynan Cook 34 pass from Maddex McMillen (Mollohan kick), 7:30.
Rushing — WW: Hezekyiah Creasy 8-30, McMillen 7-34, Cook 4-3, Koalton Ray 1-2, Colucci 1-(-3); OH: Shelton 25-167, Vargo-Thomas 12-85, Farrow 5-40, Lawhorn 7-11, Braxton Hall 6-7, Omar Lewis 5-4.
Passing — WW: McMillen 7-19-1-95; OH: Lawhorn 0-4-1-0.
Receiving — WW: Cook 3-71, Colucci 2-17, Elijah Waller 2-7; OH: none.
● ● ●
● WVSSAC Class A No. 5 Midland Trail was idle on Friday, Oct. 30 after its anticipated game against undefeated Greenbrier West was canceled due to Covid-19 concerns from the Cavaliers’ camp.
The Patriots (3-1) are slated to play at Pocahontas County at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6.
● Meadow Bridge dropped a 46-14 setback to Class AA Nicholas County on Oct. 30 at Memorial Stadium, then rebounded with a 34-14 road win over Philip Barbour on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Against the Grizzlies, Meadow Bridge got a pair of touchdown passes from Dustin Adkins (7 yards to Ayden Redden and 3 yards to Tyler Martin), as well as a two-point conversion pass from Adkins to Hunter Claypool.
Adkins was 13-of-19 for 126 yards, two TDs and one interception. Redden led the receiving corps with five catches for 61 yards. Teammate Rian Cooper had two catches for 39 yards.
Kaleb Clark ran for 121 yards and five touchdowns to power the Nicholas County attack. Jordan McKinney rushed for 120 yards and a pair of scores and was 13-of-14 through the air for 194 yards. With six receptions for 119 stripes, Garrett Kesterson was the leading receiver.
Tyler Timmerman was in on seven stops for the NCHS defense, and Kesterson was in on six. Clark picked off a pass, and Alex Pritt recovered a fumble.
Meadow Bridge (4-3) will visit Gilmer County at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6.