Williamstown, St. Marys clash in pivotal W.Va. Class A football battle
WILLIAMSTOWN — A playoff type atmosphere will envelop the confines of Williamstown’s football field when the Yellowjackets (4-1) welcome heated rival St. Marys (4-0) for a gigantic midseason matchup with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. Friday.
“Not only will there be a competitive atmosphere with the crowd,” said Williamstown head man Terry Smith. “But I don’t think it is too farfetched to think this matchup could definitely be a preview of a playoff bout when everything is said and done in the regular season … Not going out on a limb there at all.”
Before either team can get to the postseason, however, they must battle past each other in what has turned into a really competitive regular season series the past few seasons. Though the Blue Devils have had the Yellowjackets number, the games have been competitive and close.
“Both teams are really well coached,” said St. Marys head man Jodi Mote. “I can look out from my sideline and see a lot of talent over on the Williamstown side of the field as I am sure Terry sees when he looks at my team.”
Williamstown comes into the game off the heels of a 55-12 road win over Ravenswood where it forced four turnovers. The Yellowjackets outgained the Red Devils 392-150, outrushed them 289-128 and doubled them up on first downs, 16-8. They also scored the first six touchdowns of the game.
St. Marys had an extra week to prepare for their rivals with an off week. The Blue Devils defeated Marietta, 51-36, the last time the team took the field.
If the Blue Devils hope to power their way to 5-0, Mote and company will have to find a way to slow down WHS quarterback Trenton Tallman, especially when he gets out in the open field. The Yellowjackets’ senior has been a human pinball on the gridiron so far in 2016. Would-be tackles seem to just bounce off him and even when defenders do get their hands on him he proves slippery and elusive. His ability to miss tackles has helped Tallman tally 101 carries for 1,002 yards and 12 scores so far in 2016.
The Yellowjackets’ senior also has shown proficiency through the air. He has completed 27 of 42 passes for 445 yards and seven scores to just three picks.
“Tallman is a big time threat anytime he touches the ball,” said Mote. “We have to tackle him well and hope their offensive line doesn’t open up any holes for him. He is like a magnet when it comes to finding those holes too, attracted to them, and is just pulled through them and can be gone fast.”
Williamstown’s defense also will be focused on shutting down a rushing attackSt Marys’ is led on the ground by talented junior running back Jaiden Smith. Through the first four games of 2016, he has compiled 29 carries for 407 yards with an average run of 14 yards.
“Their offensive line is doing really well right now and a lot of Smith’s runs he hasn’t really been touched,” said Smith. “Even if we shut Smith down they still have some good athletes in Dylan Gray at tight end, Braden Barnhart at running back and Will Billeter at quarterback.”
Smith and company hope they will be able to catch the Blue Devils in some third and long situations and be able to send their fantastic defensive line after Biletter. The line quartet of Trevor Hoosier, Bryce Medford, Jake Seckman and Braden Mullenix have done a fantastic job of getting in the backfield and causing havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
Mefford leads the Mid-Ohio Valley in sacks with five while Hoosier has taken down the quarterback three times.
“This game is going to come down to whoever executes the best in all three phases,” said Mote. “The talent levels are about the same on both squads so it is going to be the little things that determine which team grabs its fifth win of the season.”