FRANKLIN, W.Va. — Wheeling Central was nearly eliminated in the opening round of the postseason at Tolsia.
Now the Class A No. 10 Maroon Knights are four quarters away from a three-peat in Class A.
Wheeling Central closed with 27 unanswered points Friday to pull away from No. 3 Pendleton County for a 27-7 win in a Class A semifinal.
The victory was the third road win in the postseason for the Maroon Knights, who will face No. 1 Doddridge County next Saturday at Wheeling Island Stadium in the Class A title game.
An early fumble recovery, coupled with Isaiah Gardiner’s 1-yard touchdown run, allowed the Wildcats (11-2) to hold a 7-0 lead.
The Maroon Knights (9-4) pulled even on a 48-yard TD pass from Jacob Rine to Jalen Creighton.
Jordan Waterhouse’s 68-yard scoring run put Central in front for good, and Creighton threw a 25-yard TD pass to Payton Marling on a trick play, allowing the Maroon Knights to lead 20-7 at halftime.
The only second-half touchdown was Rine’s 15-yard run.
Pendleton County was held to fewer than 150 yards of offense and the Maroon Knights have allowed only 19 points in three playoff games, including seven since a 13-12 opening-round win over the Rebels.
Waterhouse rushed for 179 yards and intercepted a pair of passes in the win.