Williamstown hoping for a win, playoff spot

Photo by Neal Smith Williamstown’s Carter Haynes (3) carries the ball during a high school football game against Wirt County earlier this season.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Williamstown coach Terry Smith is done trying to figure out what it will take for the Yellowjackets to qualify for the Class A state football playoffs.

One thing he knows must happen is Williamstown must defeat Tolsia on Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

“We’ve been thinking about (the playoffs), and we know we have to win and a couple of teams have to lose,” Smith said. “We’re just trying to do the best we can and make sure we’re ready for our game.”

Williamstown is 4-4 and will only play nine regular-season games after the Yellowjackets’ game at Parkersburg Catholic on Oct. 20 was officially canceled after the fire at the Intercontinental Export-Import Plastics warehouse. WHS hasn’t played since a 46-8 victory over Wirt County on Oct. 13.

Smith doesn’t believe the layoff has affected his players.

“We’ve had good practices, and the attitude is good,” he said. “I’m impressed with the seniors and the way they have led by example.”

Williamstown’s nine seniors – Alex Wolfe, Preston Mayer, Bradan Mullenix, Cullen Gates, Collin White, Evan Amos, Ethan Hayes, Auston Sovil and Blake Neely – will play their final home game Friday.

“It’s their last game whether we make the playoffs or not,” Smith said. “The seniors have been terrific this year. I just wish we had a few more wins. They’ve been fun to coach. They make it easy to like to be there. Some of the guys seem like they’ve been there forever.”

Williamstown’s path to the playoffs is impacted by not playing the Catholic game, but Smith believes it is too the Yellowjackets’ advantage. WHS’s final playoff rating will be based on nine games instead of 10.

“It just seems to me that if you divide by nine that you’re going to get a bigger number,” he said. “I haven’t really seen everything written down, but we’ll see.”

Tolsia, who reached the second round of the Class A playoffs last season, has had a rough season under first-year coach Eric Crum. The Rebels are 2-7 after losing to Pikeville (Ky.) 54-12 last week.

Tolsia’s only victories came against Buffalo (10-6) and Mount View (48-36), two years after finishing as the Class A state runner-up. Quarterback Wayne Williamson, along with backs Jonathon Johnson and Jared Switzer lead the Rebels’ veer-option offense.

In the win over Mount View, Johnson rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Smith said Tolsia’s offensive approach makes the Rebels hard to defend.

“It’s like playing a team from 20 years ago, so it’s kind of different today,” he said.

“We’ll have to play assignment football, and you have to be disciplined to do it. Tolsia is big, and they will block you.”

Williamstown’s offense can pile up the yards and score quickly with the breakaway speed of sophomore running back Donathan Taylor, and the big-play capabilities of junior quarterback Carter Haynes. The Yellowjackets also have offensive balance with sophomore Ty Moore and Amos able to be the top runner.