ST. MARYS, W.Va. - In years past when the subject of Williamstown's offense came up in conversation, St. Marys coach Jodi Mote characterized it as smash-mouth football with the game played between the hash marks.
Not the case this season. Mote watched the Yellowjackets for the first time in person during the Blue Devils' off week last Friday as the Yellowjackets rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit and defeated the Red Devils 21-14.
Mote's scouting report touched on the way Williamstown spreads the field and creates space for its skill positions.
Photo courtesy of Mike Uhl
Williamstown’s Trace Hart (22) eludes a would-be Ravenswood tackler during action last Friday night. The Yellowjackets are scheduled to play at St. Marys this Friday night.
"Williamstown coach Terry Smith has gotten away from what their traditional run between the tackles,"
Mote said. "It's different than what they used to do. We're used to seeing them in the I-formation and coming right at you. Since I've been at St. Marys, they've never been in the gun for the bulk of the game like they are now.
"It gets quarterback Jake Tracewell involved in the offense more. It's a great coaching move."
When Williamstown visits Imlay Field on Friday, both the Yellowjackets and Blue Devils will be sporting perfect 4-0 records. The last time St. Marys stepped onto the field against someone other than itself took place two weeks ago in a 35-6 win against Tyler Consolidated.
Despite averaging 31 points per game, Mote feels his ballclub needs shore up the mental mistakes and cut down on penalties. The Blue Devils have committed nine penalties in three of their four games.
"We've been focusing on the mental part of the game during our off week, so we have had a lot of sprints and extra conditioning," Mote said. "With as many penalties as we've had, there is no way we will be able to beat a team like Williamstown.
"Our offense has been sporadic. We will have several great plays and great drives then we get into second and long, and third and long situations. Overall, the kids have worked hard and play hard. They just need to play smart."
St. Marys' vaunted running attack begins with its leading rusher Jeremy Pratt, who has rushed for 328 yards on 34 carries. Also gaining their share of yardage for the Blue Devils are Noah Spitzer (62-267), David Gray (26-164) and Corey Stewart (26-143).
Quarterback Michael Stout has completed 15-of-33 passes for 336 yards and five touchdowns. His favorite target has been Colby Brode (10-283).
"St. Marys runs the ball and runs the ball, plus they play good defense," Smith said.
"They are big along the line. Gray and Spitzer seem like they have been there a long time."
Both defenses have allowed an average of just 10.5 points per game.
Smith would like to think he said something magical during halftime of the Ravenswood game. Instead, he attributed the Yellowjackets' success to a few adjustments.
"They were running an unbalanced line and we weren't adjusting to it," Smith said. "We just kind of slowed things down a little bit."
Tracewell is a dual threat at quarterback - leading the team in rushing with 226 yards on 38 carries and completing 25-of-50 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns. Williamstown's top receiver is a fullback of all people with David Hastings catching eight passes for 226 yards.
Junior Dakota Watson is the Yellowjackets' second leading ground-gainer with 144 yards on 26 attempts despite sitting out the Ravenswood game because of a knee sprain. Earlier this week, his status remained day-to-day.
"There are a lot of points available and playoff implications involved with this rivalry game," Smith said. "It will be a great atmosphere and the guys are looking forward to it."