Williamstown faces Wirt in must-win game

Photo by Michael Uhl Williamstown’s Preston Mayer (6) runs after catching a pass during a high school football game against Buffalo last week in Williamstown.

ELIZABETH, W.Va. — Little Kanawha Conference rivals Williamstown and Wirt County each will be seeking win No. 4 of the campaign when they collide at 7 p.m. Friday at Wilson-Eismon Field.

Neither the Yellowjackets (3-4) of veteran head coach Terry Smith nor the Tigers (3-3) of second-year boss Isac Osborne can afford another loss if they hope to reach the Class A postseason.

Wirt County started the year with three victories in four tries, but none of the Tigers’ defeated opponents have yet to win a game. The orange and black offense has sputtered the past two weeks, getting blanked at Doddridge County and then managing two scores versus Ravenswood.

Williamstown, which could still win out and not reach the final 16 in the rankings, only can control what’s in front of it and that’s Wirt County.

“They run different formations, mostly from the shotgun. That’s why I’m kind of worried about it. We don’t want to get out of position with our (defensive) alignment,” said coach Smith, who added that tailback Donathan Taylor’s status for the game is up in the air. “We’re going to take it easy with him (Taylor). I think Donathan hurt his hip (versus Buffalo) last week.”

During last week’s affair, Taylor tied Ty Moore (17-56) for the team lead in rushing yards, but did it on only five carries.

“I’m not real concerned with the guys coming in,” Smith said if Taylor can’t go because he knows Moore, Evan Amos and quarterback Carter Haynes can pick up the slack. “Donathan is a really good player and we’ll have to see how that unfolds.”

The Tigers, who were led by Dakota Richards’ 63 yards rushing last week, allowed 244 ground yards on 39 carries to the Red Devils. That’s something Williamstown is hoping it can take advantage of.

“You’d like what you want to do basically, and we want to be able to throw it when we want to, so that means you have to be able to run,” Smith added. “I think if we’ll be able to run the ball, that will help the passing so much hopefully.”

Wirt County quarterback Casey Stanley hit on 13 of 22 passes for 91 yards versus Ravenswood, but was picked off three times and that included an early momentum-shifting pick-6 by Max Hilton to put the Red Devils ahead for good in the first quarter.

Preston Mayer, who has 21 catches for 344 yards and two scores, along with Bradan Mullenix (14-133-2) have been Haynes’ top targets aside from Taylor (18-152-5).