Updated Thu, Nov 8, 2012 1:31 pm
Three weeks ago, the playoff chances of the Williamstown Yellow Jackets looked bleak. The Jackets were struggling on both sides of the ball and were in serious danger of missing the WVSSAC postseason for the first time in over a decade.
“Three weeks ago we had our backs to the wall. We were taking each week as win one game at a time,” Williamstown head coach Terry Smith said.
Oh, how things have changed since then.
After winning its last three contests by a combined margin of 86-23, Williamstown comes storming back into the postseason with tons of momentum.
By qualifying as a No. 15 seed, the Jackets earned the right to take on No. 2 seed Magnolia on Friday night in New Martinsville. Williamstown and Magnolia have met previously this season, as the Blue Eagles claimed a 24-7 victory in Week 2.
Coach Smith, however, feels that his team is much different now than it was in that earlier matchup.
“I think we have a whole year under our belt now. We had a lot of young guys who hadn’t played much. I think we’ve matured a lot since then,” Smith said.
Williamstown will need to buckle down much more on the defensive side of the ball in this contest than in the previous one. In that Week 2 matchup, Magnolia receiver Stephen Rogalski, whom Smith called “one of the fastest kids in the state of West Virginia,” hauled in nine receptions for 175 yards. The Jackets also allowed over 100 yards on the ground in that game. Coach Smith believes that stopping the high-powered Blue Eagles offense will take a total team effort.
“Everything goes together. If our offense can get first downs and put together long drives, then their offense won’t be on the field as much,” said Smith.
In their prior contest, Williamstown did have some success on the ground in the form of running back David Hastings. Hastings ended that contest with 84 yards on 5 carries, and also scored the Jackets’ lone touchdown. Obviously, Williamstown will need to impose its will on the ground early and often if it hopes to win this game.
As Smith pointed out, the longer the Jackets offense is on the field, the less Magnolia’s offense has the ball. Hastings, Trace Hart and Dakota Watson will all need to have outstanding performances to ensure Williamstown maintains control of the game.
The Jackets are riding a huge wave of momentum into this game. However, only time will tell if the Jackets season will continue, or if Magnolia signals the end of road.