Williamstown powers past Midland Trail in Class A semifinal

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — Williamstown dominated all facets of Friday’s Class A semifinal against No. 2 Midland Trail, and the No. 6 Yellowjackets scored five touchdowns in the second quarter to pull away for a 56-8 victory at Greenbrier East High School.

The win sends Williamstown (11-2) to Wheeling Island Stadium for next Saturday’s Class A title game against defending state champion Wheeling Central.

“We had a good week of practice. We had a three hour bus ride and sometimes you get a little vibe here or there — and I got a vibe that our kids were ready to play,” Williamstown coach Terry Smith said. “We had a good week. I just felt good about tonight.”

Playing without starting quarterback Austin Isaacs for the most part, Midland Trail (12-1) struggled to generate offense and a three-and-out on the game’s first series set up a 65-yard drive by Williamstown that was capped by Ty Moore’s 3-yard touchdown run. Boston Caruthers made his first of eight point-after kicks to up the Williamstown lead to 7-0 with 6:41 to play in the first quarter.

The score stayed that way until the first play of the second quarter, on which Carter Haynes threw his first of three touchdown passes — a 26-yarder to Eric Brown.

“They whooped our butts up front,” Midland Trail coach Frank Isaacs said. “I never thought our offensive and defensive lines would get beat like that and they did. They beat us up front and if we’re not as physical as the team we’re playing we’re going to lose — and we lost big time. 

“We didn’t match their intensity or their physicality up front. They don’t have a lot of size, but they come off the ball hard and we didn’t.”

Only 1:56 after taking the 14-0 lead, the Yellowjackets added to it when Skyler Blatt blocked a punt, recovered it and returned it 9 yards for a TD 9:53 prior to halftime.

“You don’t want to leave anything in the cupboard,” Smith said. “Sometimes you don’t practice that quite as much and things don’t go quite as well, but I was happy for Skyler a senior. I’m glad to see him doing that.”

On Midland Trail’s ensuing possession, Isaacs played his only series and threw a 28-yard pass to Nathan Hanshew, before Hanshew hauled in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Christopher Vines on fourth down. Vines connected with Colin Dempsey on the two-point pass to bring the Patriots to within 21-8 at the 5:21 mark.

“Right before the game, we decided not to play him,” coach Isaacs said of his injured starting quarterback. “But he came up to me and said, ‘Let me go in.’ I said, ‘Heck we’re already losing 21-0, let’s try it.’ He gave us a spark, but a kid fell on it and I just said we’re not protecting him enough.”

The Yellowjackets needed a mere three plays to answer Trail’s lone touchdown and scored on a 35-yard run by tailback Donathan Taylor to hold a 28-8 lead 4:35 before the break.

Haynes’ 54-yard TD pass to Taylor stretched the lead to 27 points at the 2:07 mark, and Blatt recovered a Patriots fumble on the ensuing kickoff that led to Haynes’ 14-yard touchdown pass to Brown with 1:54 left

Williamstown settled for a 42-6 halftime lead and added to it in the second half on Taylor’s 10-yard TD run and Moore’s 14-yard TD run, both of which came in the third quarter.

Williamstown’s task in the state title game will be a repeat of a Week 1 contest that the Maroon Knights won 33-0.

“The guys decided they wanted to play the best that they can and worked hard for weeks and weeks and weeks,” Smith said. “It paid off and we’re happy to go to Wheeling.”

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