There is an air of something special in the air at George Washington High School this fall. A capacity crowd at Steve Edwards Senior field saw what it was on Thursday night to start the 2011 high school football season in West Virginia.
The Patriots systematically dismantled their long vaunted arch rivals the South Charleston Black Eagles.
South Charleston’s Reese Ripley returned the opening kickoff 74 yards to give the Black Eagles excellent field position to start the game. SC squandered the opportunity on four straight plays. The first play from scrimmage junior running back Ryan Switzer broke off tackle and scored on a 74-yard touchdown run. The score would be nullified by a penalty, but two plays later, junior fullback Dustin Crouser carried the ball 37-yard into the end zone.
The Patriots never looked back. G-W built a 42-0 halftime lead and went on to win Thursday night 61-0.
Crouser delivered three touchdowns on the night on runs of 37, 2, and 10 yards. Swtizer turned in five touchdowns. He scored on runs of 32, 61, 33, and 4 yards. His fifth score was an in-stride 79-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Trevor Bell.
"It’s a good way to open the season it’s a good win and we’re just happy," said Coach Steve Edwards Senior. "I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. When you can do that, you got guys as talented as Ryan and Dustin they’ll take care of business and get the job done. Trevor did a nice job of managing the game. He did what we asked him to do and didn’t try to do too much."
Switzer had 16 rushes for 242 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He had one pass reception for the touchdown and 79 yards through the air. He had 321 all purpose yards for the Patriots.
"I told everybody from the preseason we were clicking and people aren’t going to believe you because it’s the preseason," said Switzer after the game. "I’ve been there for three years and I’ve experienced what we’re like in the preseason. This year our guys are just so much more focused. Plus it’s South Charleston."
The 2011 team has received a lot of press and tremendous hype. It’s created an atmosphere of high expectations. It was easy to sense something special at Edwards Field Thursday night.
"I can sense it too," Swtizer said."But we’ve got to keep working. We’ve got a lot we need to get better at, but guys have the right attitude and it’s a blessing to be on a team like this."
Crouser had six carries for 81 yards and three touchdowns on the night. He too was highly complementary of the guys up front.
"That’s the best I’ve ever seen the line block here at George Washington," he said. "I went for touchdowns untouched. It’s incredible."
Now at 1-0, G-W travels to Ashland, Kentucky next week to face Ashland-Blazer High.
South Charleston played without the services of key returning starter Trevond Reese. He was forced to sit out the game as punishment for his involvement in last year’s fight at the end of the Hurricane game at Laidley Field. He’ll return to the lineup next week when the Black Eagles travel to Riverside.