ELLENBORO, W.Va. - Reinforcements might be one solution for Williamstown's struggles on offense, but coach Terry Smith knows this isn't the major leagues.
"It's not like where we have a minor league system where we can just call guys up," Smith said.
Williamstown managed to pull off a 7-0 victory against Parkersburg Catholic on senior night last week at home without scoring an offensive touchdown. In fact, 10? quarters have passed since Jake Tracewell connected with Gage Wix on a 20-yard touchdown pass which gave the Yellowjackets a 14-0 lead against St. Marys -marking the last time their offense found the end zone.
MICHAEL UHL Special to The Times
Williamstown’s Trace Hart (22) eludes a South Harrison tackler and heads upfield during prep football action earlier this season.
Since that juncture in a game played on Sept. 28 in Williamstown, the Yellowjackets have been outscored 57-10. The only touchdown occurred as a result of David Hasting's 57-yard interception return for a score against the Crusaders on the game's opening drive.
Production must improve this Friday night in Ellenboro if Williamstown (4-4) wants to keep playoff hopes alive as it meets Ritchie County (6-2). Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
"We've had good weeks of practice, but it certainly didn't show against Parkersburg Catholic -we struggled on offense and defense, but we were able to keep them out of the end zone," Smith said.
Ritchie County puts its six-game winning streak on the line against a program it has never defeated since coach Smith took over nine years ago. That span covers eight games, including last year's 25-20 loss in Williamstown.
"Williamstown is very good up front and I expect them to come full blown at us," Ritchie County coach Mike Dawson said.
Last week in Kidwell, the Rebels had their hands full against a two-win Tyler Consolidated team. The Silver Knights trailed by just five points (12-7) before Jessie Hilvers gave Ritchie County some breathing room by returning an interception 18 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
"Tyler Consolidated is not a bad football team - I tell people they have improved a lot, so I am not surprised the game was that close" Dawson said. "They had a good idea what they wanted to do. They loaded the box, which a lot of people have done against us.
"We were lucky to throw one ball over their head. We could have tried a little more but the weather turned bad."
Ritchie County's ground game consists of Devon Jones (77-540, 5 TDs), Hilvers (78-475, 3 TDs) and Tyler Reed (51-328, 4 TDs). Quarterback Trevor Shepler has completed 61-of-111 passes for 953 yards and 11 TDs. His top targets are Dylan Frye (27-438, 5 TDs), Ryan Malson (8-113, 2 TDs), Hilvers (7-104) and Reed (5-135, 2 TDs).
Sophomore tailback Dakota Watson continues to lead Williamstown's rushing attack with 609 yards on 97 carries and nine TDs. Trace Hart ranks second on the team with 479 yards on 56 attempts and four TDs. Tracewell is 50 percent (52-of-104) accurate while throwing for 672 yards and seven TDs. His top three receivers are Wix (12-159, 3 TDs), Hastings (11-198, 2 TDs) and Beau Wasmer (10-132, 1 TD).
"Williamstown is always well-coached and their kids work their rear-end off in the weight room," Dawson said. "They are going to play hard and I know this will be a real challenge."