Gallery by Ashley Honaker
Wheeling – It turns out the third time isn’t the charm in Charmco.
Williamstown cracked the code on Greenbrier West’s defense, claiming a 42-12 win over the Cavaliers Saturday night in the Class A championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium.
The title victory is the second consecutive one for the Yellowjackets (14-0) who battered James Monroe 52-20 last season. West (13-1), which made trips to the title game in 1991 and 2013, falls to 0-3 in championship appearances.
Williamstown QB Maxwell Molessa led the charge in claiming his second ring, rushing for 160 yards and two touchdowns, breaking the Super Six record for longest play from scrimmage on a 98-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. His play earned him his third consecutive Most Outstanding Player award, his second on the winning team.
“We were just going to come out play physical football,” Molessa said. “That’s what we do and how we play and that’s how we were going to set the tone and we managed to do that. There was no looking back.”
Opportunities for West to score existed early with all of its first-half drives ending in Williamstown territory but the Cavs never got over the hump. An interception on a deep pass at the Williamstown 2 led to Molessa’s 98-yard scoring jaunt. The next three drives concluded at the Williamstown 38, 48 and 26, respectively, ending on failed fourth down conversion attempts.
“I mean at halftime they had 11 first downs we had nine,” Greenbrier West head coach Kelly Vaughan said. “We missed the field goal there early in the game and moved the ball right down the field. Our kicker does a fantastic job, he just missed it. I mean, it’s part of the game. And we threw a pick there when we were moving the ball. I think it was (Carson Haines) for Williamstown who made a hell of an interception. From there on the Molessa just popped it out there and took him to the house a long ways. You know, he’s a tough one, he’s a great athlete.”
The ‘Jackets didn’t face the same struggles, scoring touchdowns on their first four drives with only one of them lasting more than four plays. The ground attack proved fruitful on all four first-half drives with Louis Goodnow opening the scoring with a 59-yard run, Molessa adding dashes of 98 and 12 yards and Lynken Joy rounding out the half with a 48-yard burst.
West got on the board with two minutes to go when Isaac Agee bolted off the edge on a 25-yard scamper, later holding the Yellowjackets out of the end zone on the final play of the half to preserve hope.
The ‘Jackets slowly and methodically squashed it out of the break, engineering a 15-play, 65-yard scoring drive that extended the lead to 35-6.
West’s struggles continued into the second half with Joy adding a 16-yard score before Ethan Holliday answered late with a 23-yard jaunt to account for the final points.
West never punted with all eight of its drives ending in Williamstown territory. Williamstown punted once and the two drives that didn’t end in scores occurred at the end of the half and the end of the game.
The 42 points surrendered were a season high for West’s defense which had previously only given up as many as 20 to Wahama.
“Our kickoff coverage wasn’t great, but we were able to get stops on our side of the field,” Williamstown head coach Chris Beck said. “I thought we took away their pass game pretty well. They had to rely on the run game and in the second half, you know, we ate up the clock and then they come out and want to run the ball which we were completely fine with. We’re the ones up four touchdowns. If we want this game to end quickly I’m all for that. So I think in the second half both teams were just controlling the ball but defensively great effort by our guys. I mean, we’ve heard a lot about their defense, and they do a great job, but the 11 guys we got playing can play some defense.”
Holliday rushed for 79 yards on seven totes, catching the lone completion of the night for Greenbrier West en route to Most Outstanding Player honors for West.
Molessa, who made it to the Super Six each of the last three seasons, finished his career with 557 yards and nine touchdowns on 61 carries in Wheeling.