WILLIAMSTOWN -With plenty of question marks surrounding the production of its offense, Williamstown managed to keep its playoff hopes alive Friday on senior night.
Inside linebacker David Hastings returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown midway in the first quarter and punter Garret Butler enabled Williamstown to win the battle of field position in a 7-0 victory against Parkersburg Catholic.
With road games awaiting at Ritchie County and Roane County to complete the regular season, Williamstown improved to 4-4.
MICHAEL UHL Special to The Times
Williamstown’s David Hastings (32) is off to the races against Parkersburg Catholic Friday night.
"You have to say something about Parkersburg Catholic's defense," Williamstown coach Terry Smith said after his offense was held scoreless for the second straight game. "They had everybody up on the line and everybody was coming.
"They dared us to throw, and we couldn't seem to throw."
Minus the interception, PCHS (4-5) won the game on paper. The Crusaders not only held Williamstown without a first down for the first half but they also limited the Yellowjackets to 89 yards of total offense.
Williamstown 7, Parkersburg Catholic 0
PCHS (4-5) 0 0 0 0 - 0
Williamstown (4-4) 7 0 0 0 - 7
David Hastings 57 interception return (Garret Butler kick), 6:27, 1st
First downs: 16. Rushes-yards: 48-81. Passing yards: 131. Total yards: 212. Passing: 11-23-1. Fumbles-lost 1-0. Punts: 4-27.5. Penalties: 5-40
First downs: 5. Rushes-yards: 32-89. Passings yards: 0. Total yards: 89. Passing: 1-5-0, 0 yards. Fumbles-lost: 4-1. Punts: 6-40.5. Penalties-yards: 5-55.
Rushing: Charles Schriner 9-26, Mitch Davis 12-22, Payton Sturm 20-20, Jake Boice 3-7, Ryan Schriner 4-6. Passing: Payton Sturm 11-23-1, 131 yards. Receiving: Nick Roedersheimer 6-79, Mitch Davis 3-28, Jake Boice 1-24, Charles Schriner 1-0.
Rushing: Jake Tracewell 6-38, Trace Hart 5-25, Dakota Watson 7-18, David Hastings 5-13, Brad Meeks 7-11, Beau Wasmer 1-(minus-2), Gage Wix 1-(minus-14). Passing: Jake Tracewell 1-5-0, 0 yards. Receiving: David Hastings 1-0.
Next game: W
illiamstown at Ritchie County, Friday; Parkersburg Catholic at Gilmer County, Friday.
Quarterback Jake Tracewell was Williamstown's leading ground gainer with 38 yards on six carries. The junior completed just one pass for zero yards.
"As far as the gameplan, we executed pretty well," PCHS coach Jeff Campbell said. "We just have to do a little better job offensively staying consistent, but I'm proud of my kids."
The tone was set from the outset as PCHS methodically moved the ball on the game's opening drive 27 yards in nine plays. Facing third-and-5 from his own 49, Crusader quarterback Payton Sturm stepped back to pass and threw down the middle of the field into the waiting arms of Hastings, who sprinted untouched down the right sidelines for the touchdown.
Butler added the point after and the Yellowjackets led 7-0 at the 6:27 mark of the first quarter.
Despite being held to 13 yards of total offense in the first half, Williamstown had several possible scoring opportunities go awry.
Just before the start of second quarter, a Crusaders' fake punt attempt resulted in a 6-yard loss and allowed the Yellowjackets to start their next drive at the PCHS 28. A Mitch Davis sack of Tracewell on second down from the 27 took Williamstown out of field goal position and it was forced to punt following an incomplete pass.
As the first half was winding down, Williamstown started another drive near the red zone but Butler's 37-yard field goal attempt through a stiff wind went wide left.
PCHS was able to move the ball on a consistent basis, but always faced a lot of green. The average starting position for the Crusaders was their own 25.
On only one occasion did they penetrate beyond the Williamstown 35 and that drive ended at the 22 when the clock ran out for halftime.
With its defense keeping the game within reach, PCHS made one final push midway in the fourth quarter. After Butler's 36-yard punt into the coffin corner, PCHS started on its own 4. The Crusaders kept the drive alive with third down conversions, beginning with a third-and-10 when Sturm escaped Zech Suprano's sack attempt in the end zone.
Three Sturm completions found receiver Nick Roedersheimer for a total of 36 yards, but in between a pair of sacks by Hastings at middle linebacker created havoc. The drive stalled when a pass intended for Nick Boice was swatted away by Hastings.
Only 1:52 showed on the clock, but Williamstown ballcarrier Dakota Watson fumbled on the very next play and the Crusaders still had hope with the ball sitting at its 29.
PCHS made one first down, but three straight incompletions followed by a tackle for loss on fourth down by Chris McDuffy sealed the shutout.
Butler averaged 40.5 yards on six punts.
"The field position battle was tough," Campbell said. "They have a good punter and that was probably their MVP of the game."
Sturm finished the night 11-of-23 in the passing department for 131 yards, while teammate Charles Schriner rushed for a team-high 27 yards on nine carries.
The loss eliminated any possibility of PCHS playing in the postseason.
"We had 17 kids dressed tonight with just four seniors and one junior playing, so hopefully the kids will learn, get in the weight room and get more of their friends out."