ELIZABETH, W.Va. - Williamstown will be looking to do a lot more than spoil senior night here Friday at Wilson-Eismon Field when the No. 5 Yellowjackets (5-1) invade to take on host Wirt County.
The Tigers of head man Jason Hickman, who play their final three games on the road, sport a 2-4 record and must win out in order to reach the Class A postseason for a fifth consecutive season. The orange and black know what they must do and can't think about their four losses to current No. 1 St. Marys, No. 3 Valley (Fayette), No. 14 Parkersburg Catholic and No. 15 Doddridge County.
"The first few weeks of the year we played so hard, not well, but so hard and just came up short," Hickman said. "You've got to take it one game at a time and if you are playing Williamstown you can't look past them anyway."
Times file photo
Williamstown’s David Hastings (32) is tackled by a Ravenswood player in a game on Sept. 27.
The same thought process holds true for WHS veteran head coach Terry Smith, whose senior class has a 1-3 record against the Tigers. Two years ago in Elizabeth, the 'Jackets won 27-13, but last year the Tigers trounced Williamstown, 35-0.
"The teams they've lost to, that says a lot. That's a pretty tough schedule," Smith admitted. "This is the same group that beat us pretty good last year. I don't think anybody is fooling anybody. I don't think our guys are looking past them at all."
Of course, coach Hickman has a lot of concerns going into the game as Williamstown is doing a lot of the same things as in the past, but now out of different formations. That includes spending a lot of time in the shotgun.
"You have to play disciplined," Hickman noted. "The way they play and spread you out, you have to have gap integrity. Defensively, you can't chase things."
One of the biggest keys for the Tigers' defense is likely going to be how well it can contain WHS signal-caller Jake Tracewell, who leads the team with 508 yards rushing and his hit 44 of 90 passes for 593 yards.
"We've got to take advantage of Jake Tracewell," Smith said. "He's doing real well. He's real smart and knows what is going on. We've put a lot of responsibility on him and he's responded real well."
Trace Hart and David Hastings have combined for almost 500 yards rushing this year. Hastings leads the 'Jackets with 15 receptions, but Hunter Neely and Dakota Watson have a dozen grabs apiece.
Wes Valentine went over the century mark last Friday against Buffalo and had his best game of the season. Valentine and quarterback Damian Rhodes have combined to rush for not quite 700 yards, but Jake Linville leads the Tigers with 452 stripes on the ground. Rhodes, though, has only 24 completions on the campaign.
"We feel like this week if we go 0 for 5 passing the ball (like last week versus Buffalo) we are going to be in trouble," Hickman said. "We're going to have to have some semblance of a passing game to make them open up the running lanes."