WILLIAMSTOWN — The Williamstown Yellowjackets were dominant throughout the regular season, and they are not showing any signs of slowing down now. Williamstown defeated Doddridge County last week by a final of 49-6 in the first round. This week, the #3 Yellowjackets played host to #11 East Hardy fresh off its 38-30 upset win against #6 St. Marys. The Cougars proved no match for Williamstown, as the Yellowjackets went on to win by a final of 48-15.
East Hardy got the ball to start the game. On the second play from scrimmage, William Sites managed a strip sack on quarterback Damien Dellinger, and then managed to recover the fumble he had just created. This turnover set the Yellowjackets up at the Cougar 30 yard line.
Three plays was all Williamstown needed to strike first. Louis Goodnow found the edge on a run and took it 25 yards to the house. The two point conversion was no good, leaving the score at 6-0.
The Yellowjackets forced a punt and then added to their lead. Maxwell Molessa capped off the drive with a one-yard run for six points. The score was set up by a 47-yard reverse by Goodnow. Williamstown once again failed to convert on the two-point try, making the score 12-0.
Molessa scored again early in the second on an eight-yard rushing touchdown. He also successfully ran in the conversion, giving the Yellowjackets a 20-0 lead.
With around five minutes remaining in the second. Goodnow cut in front of a receiver and high pointed the ball for an interception. He returned the pick for 42 yards, giving Williamstown excellent field position.
Lynken Joy scored on the ensuing drive on a 3-yard touchdown run. Molessa ran in the conversion, making the score 28-0.
During the following kickoff, the ball nearly rolled out of bounds, but the Cougars stood around the ball and did not pick it up. Sites made a heads-up play and fell on the ball to give the Yellowjackets back-to-back possessions.
On the first play of that drive, Molessa found Goodnow for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Given the two untimed downs between the scores, only six seconds were spent between this touchdown and the last. Brylee Jones kicked the extra point through the uprights to give Williamstown a 35-0 lead.
Turnovers were a huge factor for the Yellowjackets throughout the game, but especially in the first half. Williamstown managed 21 points off turnovers before halftime.
The ‘Jackets got the ball to start the second half, but they were unable to do anything with the possession.
East Hardy then put together its best drive of the game so far and scored on a 24-yard pass from Dellinger to Levi Price. This touchdown brought the score to 35-7.
Williamstown responded less than two minutes later with a 34-yard pass from Molessa to Goodnow. Jones hit her second extra point to make the score 42-7.
A play after throwing the touchdown, Molessa caught an interception just six in-game seconds later. This play set up a 3-yard rushing touchdown for Rex Anderson, bringing Williamstown to their final total of 48 points.
Goodnow got his second interception of the game on a jump ball in the endzone at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Cougars scored their second touchdown of the game with 4:36 remaining in the fourth. Brayden Gregory ran up the middle for a two-yard score. Gregory found Dayton Dove on a pass during the conversion attempt for two points.
The Yellowjackets advance to the final four, where they will head to Tucker County to take on the Mountain Lions.
Williamstown outgained East Hardy 347 to 219, but 127 of the yards for the Cougars occurred in the last two drives of the game, when the Yellowjackets had already made some substitutions.
Goodnow put together an impressive performance for the Yellowjackets, compiling 72 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown, 97 receiving yards on four receptions and two receiving touchdowns and two interceptions. He commented on what it is like to be able to contribute immensely on both sides of the ball, “It’s really cool to do. Not everybody does that, but my team has put me in a good position, and I’m just making plays.”
He continued, “We started off fast. We knew that that’s what we needed to do. It was just another week where we needed to come out here and get better.”
Williamstown head coach Chris Beck gave his thoughts after the win, “I thought defensively we came out on fire and ready to play. Our guys played with a lot of intensity, forced an early turnover, so that set the tone. Offensively, we were sloppy at times. I think there wasn’t a lot of cutting today, it seems like. The field was a little slick, but overall the field is in good shape, it is what it is with the amount of rain we got yesterday. I thought defense was the name of the game today. Our first unit was really good all day long. Offensively, we were able to adjust and make enough plays to win.”
On making it to the final four, Beck said, “It’s always great to be practicing on Thanksgiving. We’re fortunate and blessed to be doing it for the third year in a row. Actually, if you don’t count COVID, I think it’s been since 2017 we have practiced on Thanksgiving. It’s always a good week of practice for us, it’s an exciting week and we’re looking forward to it.”
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