Enhancements on offense have helped Williamstown and Greenbrier West to the Class A final

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The teams with the second-highest scoring offense and second-best scoring defense will share the field in the Class A title game. Greenbrier West is allowing 6.6 points per game in Kelly Vaughan’s first season as head coach. A combination of scheme and fundamentals have yielded impressive results.

“The kids are athletic. They are not blazing speedsters. But they do pursue the ball really well,” Vaughan said. “There’s always more than one on the tackle. Scheme-wise, Coach [Jared] Robertson does a great job.”

“Nobody scores on them” said Williamstown head coach Chris Beck. “They are great defensively. Up front, their defensive line is very, very quick. Their linebackers fill well. They run two or three different fronts. They are always well-prepared. They have you scouted well. They are probably the best defense we have seen to date.”

Senior Jake Pate has led a deep group of running backs. Pate rushed for 1,178 yards and 21 touchdowns. The running backs are led in part by WVU legend Owen Schmitt.

“He is also in charge of the special teams,” Vaughan said of Schmitt. “He is a big-time motivator. The kids love his energy. They love the way he gets them going. Nothing but praise for Coach Schmitt and I am glad he is with us.”

The Cavaliers are 48-10 over the last five seasons and a strong rushing attack has led the way. But with senior quarterback Cole Vandall, West has diversified their offense this fall. Vandall has passed for 1,887 yards and 29 scores.

“The numbers he has had here are not typical of a Greenbrier West quarterback. But he has had a fantastic year with his touchdown-to-interception ratio,” Vaughan said.

Just like the Cavaliers, Williamstown has expanded their passing game this fall under a returning, senior starter at quarterback. While Maxwell Molessa has rushed for 1,642 yards and 30 touchdowns, he has also thrown for 21 touchdowns against just two interceptions.

“If we played in an air raid offense, he would throw the ball for 3,000 yards. He throws the ball that well,” Beck said. “That’s not what we do, it is not our scheme per se. But we have added that and I think that makes us more explosive on offense.”

Like Molessa, junior Lynken Joy has rushed for over a thousand yards. Beck credits a veteran group of linemen for leading an offense that is averaging 335 rushing yards per game while limiting opposing offenses to 10.6 points per contest.

“I think Aiden Corbett is our best offensive and defensive lineman. He was all-state last year. He is dominant on both sides of the ball. He has 19 [tackles for loss] on defense. Offensively, he is our highest-graded lineman at 96 percent-plus. He is a big-time leader and captain for us. He is having a huge year and is one of the best linemen in Class A, for sure” Beck said.

“Gunner Henrie and Jett Nestor are also a couple of seniors that are three-year starters on the offensive line.”

The Yellowjackets own the state’s longest winning streak at 18 games but they were tested in the middle of this season. In Weeks 5 and 6, Williamstown defeated Marietta, Ohio by three points and St. Marys by four.

“We’ve got a resilient bunch that can face adversity and adjust,” Beck said. “I think you need those games in these types of runs. I think those games end up proving beneficial during the year and in the playoffs and it could prove beneficial Saturday.”

Williamstown is in the Super Six for the third consecutive year and they are seeking their first back-to-back state titles. Beck says making use of all months on the calendar has been a main reason for the program’s continued success.

“Getting here doesn’t happen overnight,” Beck said. “It doesn’t happen over the last 14 weeks. It is something that has to start year-round, lifting, conditioning and in the summer getting reps in. A lot of work goes into it. There’s 40-plus teams that wish they were here and that worked to get here.”

“Everybody is excited in Rainelle, Rupert, Quinwood, Smoot, the western side of Greenbrier County,” Vaughan said. “It has been a lot of fun. A lot of work but well worth the effort that we put in.”

More Sports

Keyser holds off North Marion 61-51 to eliminate defending Class AAA state champion
The Golden Tornado led by eight at halftime, but only two with inside 4 minutes remaining. Keyser persevered down the stretch en route to its 12th straight victory.
February 28, 2024 - 11:25 pm
Williamstown outlasts St. Marys in OT to claim Class AA Region I title
The Yellowjackets earned the No. 2 seed in the state tournament and they will face Petersburg in the quarterfinals.
February 28, 2024 - 9:54 pm
2024 WVSSAC Class AAA Girls Basketball State Tournament seeds/schedule
The Class AAA State Tournament begins Tuesday morning.
February 28, 2024 - 8:50 pm
2024 WVSSAC Class AA Girls Basketball State Tournament seeds/schedule
The Class AA State Tournament begins Thursday morning.
February 28, 2024 - 8:47 pm