Williamstown Faces Familiar Foe In First Round

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When the No. 13 seed Wheeling Central Catholic Knights travel to No. 4 seed Williamstown Friday night, it won’t be the first time the teams have met in the playoffs. In fact the two schools have developed an intense rivalry that dates back over a decade. 

Friday’s meeting will mark the seventh time the schools have met in the postseason since 2000, with the Knights winning five of the past six matchups. Three times the two schools have met in the state championship game, and on another occasion they met in the state semifinals.

The Yellow Jackets aren’t the only team that has struggled against the Knights. Wheeling Central has made the playoffs 16 straight years and won eight of its nine all time state titles over the past 13 seasons, with the last coming in 2011.

However the Knights have an uphill battle in front of them if they hope to claim title number 10 this year. Halfway through the season, Wheeling Central lost former all-state senior quarterback Parker Henry due to injury. Henry led the Knights in rushing with over 650 yards on the ground and seven scores.

Isaac Rine has taken over the reigns at quarterback and done a nice job orchestrating the Knights powerful rushing attack. A week ago, the Knights ran for 440 yards and hung half a hundred points on AAA Spring Mills. The Knights will once again keep the ball on the ground and look to exploit a Williamstown defense that has struggled at times against the run.

Coach Terry Smith has his Yellow Jackets primed and ready to make a run at their second state title. Williamstown has gone all year as third-year senior starting quarterback Jake Tracewell has gone. Tracewell has run for over 800 yards and 10 scores on the season along with nearly 1,000 yards and another 12 scores via aerial attack. The senior must have a mistake free game, and the Yellow Jacket defense must force the Knights into passing situations.

Once again Wheeling Central and Williamstown will meet with their seasons on the line. Williamstown hopes to send its nemesis home while Wheeling Central will look to once again spoil the Yellow Jackets’ season. The seeds won’t matter when these two single A powerhouses meet Friday night, and the fans can expect a hard fought contest that comes down to the final seconds.