NEW RICHMOND — The Nicholas County Grizzlies used a little bit of trickery, a little bit of luck, a little mud wrestling skill and a large dose of Wil Mayes to record a 35-14 opening round playoff win over host Wyoming East in Class AA playoff action last Friday under rainy skies.
The contest started under a light mist that turned more pronounced during halftime, making the field muddy in spots for the second half action.
Mayes, the Grizzlies’ junior tailback, scored three times and ended his night’s work with 132 yards rushing on 23 carries to pace the NC offense.
Senior quarterback Tyler Sagraves scored one TD, as did senior tackle Austin Hill, who scooped up an offensive fumble and sloshed 32 yards for the opening touchdown of the second half.
The usually potent East ground attack was held to 75 yards on 27 rushes by the Grizzlies.
Wyoming East concludes its season at 9-2.
Philip Barbour 25
WAYNE — Perhaps no other football program in the state of West Virginia epitomizes the “next man up” philosophy quite like the Wayne Pioneers.
With two-year starting quarterback Grant Ferguson on the shelf due to an ankle injury, the Pioneers rode the legs of their experienced backfield to the tune of 472 yards on the ground en route to a grinding 53-25 win over Philip Barbour in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs Friday night.
With Ferguson out, junior Nate Adkins stepped in to fill the void at quarterback. However, conditions on a muddy Pioneer Field were not favorable for throwing the ball, which suited Wayne’s philosophy just fine.
Three Wayne running backs topped the century mark, and the offense churned out a whopping 29 first downs. Cody Stiltner led all rushers with 117 yards on just five carries. Nathan Spurlock and Mason Hodge and Nathan Spurlock also hit triple digits with 105 and 104 yards, respectively.
Stiltner continued his late-season scoring frenzy by tallying three times.
Philip Barbour (6-5) would answer quickly on its next possession, as Tyler Tinchnell connected with Andre Johnson on a go route to cut the Pioneer lead to 26-6 at halftime.
BLUEFIELD — D.J. Stewart ran for 171 yards and two first-quarter touchdowns, and D.J. Edwards caught nine passes for 154 yards as the Bluefield Beavers ran by the Ravenswood Red Devils 31-14 at Mitchell Stadium Saturday night in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
Bluefield junior quarterback R.J. Bourne passed for 199 yards and Ravenswood senior Heath Burgess amassed 185 passing yards in an offensive shootout. The Beavers earned 437 yards on offense and the Red Devils racked up 346 yards.
The third-ranked Beavers (9-2) scored on three of their first four possessions and led 28-0 before Revenswood (6-5) cut Bluefield’s lead to 28-14 at halftime.
Francesco Desiderio capped a 12-play drive with a 24-yard field goal with 8:45 remaining — the only points of the second half. The foreign exchange student from Italy was 4-for-4 in extra-point kicks.
Justin Carter picked off two passes in the second half for Bluefield.
The visitors were only able to get five carries from its leading rusher, Devon Crews, who was hampered by an injury. Burgess ran for 59 yards in the second half and wound up the Red Devils’ leading rusher. Thomas Sturm caught six passes for 166 yards in the first half — and none thereafter.
Bluefield will play Nicholas County next weekend at Bluefield.