WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling Park’s bigger offensive line established its dominance on Friday night as the fifth seeded Patriots (10-1) took down No. 12 South Charleston (7-4), 55-34.
“We felt like anytime you run the ball, the next thing is play-action pass, and we had some big plays in that area,” said Wheeling Park head coach Chris Daugherty.
Patriots’ quarterback Zach Phillips finished the game with two touchdown passes, claiming the school’s all-time passing touchdown record for a season – he now has 20 on the year. Wheeling Park sophomore running back Savion Johnson finished with 195 yards and four touchdowns on the ground in the win.
“We felt like this week it was a good matchup for us to stay in the box and run these backs, and it worked tonight,” said Wheeling Park head coach Chris Daugherty.
Besides Johnson, Park’s Geremy Paige added nearly 150 yards on the ground, including a 62-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that essentially put the game away.
“I thought our kids would wrap-up and tackle,” said South Charleston head coach Donnie Mays. “But they have a good line. That’s where it starts with those guys. They’re huge up front and we’re an undersized group – we play with speed. But sometimes that’s going to bite you.”
Another bite for South Charleston was Wheeling Park’s defense that forced several crucial turnovers, including a pick-six by Theo Blackston.
“Those were huge plays,” Daugherty said. “I thought our defense at times played really, really well. I think that’s what South Charleston will do to people, you’ll look good for a minute, but then they’ll make a play.”
Despite the loss, South Charleston’s Kentre Grier was excellent, finishing 21 of 35 for 275 yards through the air, to go along with another 117 yards on the ground. Both Grier (SO) and South Charleston running back A.D. Cunningham (JR) are underclassmen.
“He’s a heck of a quarterback,” Mays said. “If that kid doesn’t prove that he’s an all-state football player with that performance against a very good football team, I don’t know what else he could do.”
Park will be on the road next week in the quarterfinals at Pt. Pleasant (11-0). The Big Blacks on Friday night took down Logan, 41-14.
HIGHLIGHTS AND VIDEO BY C.J. RICKER