LEWISBURG, W.Va. — There were no shortage of standouts for Williamstown last Friday in the Yellowjackets’ 56-8 victory against previously unbeaten Midland Trail at Greenbrier East High School.
Terry Smith’s team got a dominant defensive performance to go with efficient offense and sound special teams in a Class A semifinal the No. 6 Yellowjackets had well in hand by halftime.
Of all the primetime performers in the win over the Patriots, however, tailback/defensive back Donathan Taylor was as important as any.
At halftime, Williamstown held a 42-6 lead after scoring five second-quarter touchdowns, two of which Taylor accounted for on a 35-yard run and 54-yard reception. Taylor totaled 105 first-half rushing yards on only 11 carries and added a pair of receptions for 58 yards over the first two quarters.
He also scored the first touchdown of the second half on a 10-yard run, putting to rest any thought of a Midland Trail rally.
“He’s really talented, so I’m not surprised,” Smith said. “He does this stuff in practice so I’m not surprised to see it in games.”
Taylor, a 5-foot-11 junior, praised the Yellowjackets’ scheme after delivering countless big plays in the semifinal win.
“The middle seemed a lot more open than I thought it was going to be,” Taylor said. “It seemed like there was no safety.”
As for his impact in the passing game, Taylor has proven he’s much more than a running back. His speed and route-running big make him a big threat in the Williamstown pass game, which is keyed by one of the better Class A signal callers in quarterback Carter Haynes.
“He throws beautiful balls all day,” Taylor said. “If you give him a little time, he’ll throw it right to you.”
Moments after the 48-point road win, Williamstown turned its attention to Saturday’s Class A title game against No. 1 Wheeling Central.
The Yellowjackets are plenty familiar with the Maroon Knights, with Williamstown having suffered a season-opening 33-0 loss to Central back on Aug. 23.
“I think it’ll be a tough game and a good game,” Taylor said. “Wheeling Central is a good team. They have a lot of athletes, they have speed, they have depth. All of the above.”
The Maroon Knights are not the defending state champs and No. 1 seed by accident.
Wheeling Central (12-1) suffered its only loss this season in Week 11 against Magnolia in a game Maroon Knights’ quarterback Curtis McGhee missed with an injury. Central also had already secured Class A’s top seed prior to its lone loss, and it got another crack at the Blue Eagles in the quarterfinal round of the postseason and eliminated Magnolia, 40-19.
“I’ve been waiting for this forever,” Taylor said of the opportunity for a rematch. “We have to stick together, stay connected and not argue.”
Williamstown has a tough enough challenge facing Wheeling Central, let along playing the Maroon Knights at Wheeling Island Stadium — less than two miles from the school’s location.
The Yellowjackets are unquestionably an underdog, although they feel like they’re peaking at the perfect time and have allowed 32 points in three postseason games, while back-to-back road contests.
“What we’ll be able to see is if we’ve improved any,” Smith said. “I think we have improved, but they’re really talented. We’re just going to do our best. We don’t have to beat them ten times. Just one time, so we’ll show up for sure.”