Wheeling Central, Williamstown Will Battle at West Liberty

Knights look to win third straight game

Photo by Kristin Mazgaj Riley Watkins (29), Payton Marling and Wheeling Central will have a big test against Williamstown Friday.

WEST LIBERTY — A battle of two West Virginia Class A heavyweights is set for kickoff at a neutral site this Friday. After both Wheeling Central and Williamstown had a week off last week, the two teams will travel to West Liberty University for a Week 9 battle. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at West Family Stadium.

“It’s a game between two contenders that have crossed paths numerous times at Wheeling Island Stadium and have met in the finals (five) times since 2005,” Wheeling Central coach Mike Young said.

“They’ve been really good football games. Williamstown does a great job with their kids and coaches. To be able to go up to my alma mater at West Liberty after graduating from there 50 years ago and to be able to coach a game on that sideline that I paced for four years as student trainer, actually got my start up there, it’s going to be a fond memory for me. It’s an honor for me and my staff to be able to go up and vie for a game to this magnitude of playing Williamstown.”

When the matchup was first set up, originally, it was going to be played at Wheeling Island Stadium. However, it was announced on Tuesday that the game was going to be played on the Hilltop.

“(West Liberty football) coach (Roger) Waialae and his staff have been ultra supportive of this in terms of providing this venue for us to play. They’re not able to play on it this fall, but I’m sure they’ll be back on it in the spring. But for us to be able to square off against a quality team in Williamstown up at West Liberty is a great opportunity for both squads.”

And the two teams are no strangers. The Maroon Knights and the Yellowjackets met for the state title in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2018. They also met in the regular season the past four straight seasons as well. However, there is one significant change to the Williamstown sideline. After 16 seasons, Terry Smith resigned as Williamstown’s football coach last December.

“He had a great career down there,” Young said about Smith. “We’ve played them during the regular season the last four years and had some great matchups. There have been battles. Coach (Chris) Beck has done an outstanding job. They’re had some real big wins this year. They’re playing some really good football.”

The Yellowjackets opened their 2020 campaign with an impressive 34-28 victory over Marietta. They also have victories against Ravenswood, St. Marys, Summers County and Tyler Consolidated and are currently on a three-game win streak.

Their only setback came during their third game of the season as the Yellowjackets fell to Fort Frye.

Trevor Oates leads the ground attack for Williamstown as he has produced 841 yards and 10 touchdowns on 121 carries.

Brayden Modesitt, the signalcaller, has galloped for 414 yards and five scores. The senior has thrown 335 yards and four TDs on 26 completions. His four scores have gone to four different receivers.

On the defensive side, Brady Ankrom has gathered 55 tackles while Leewood Molessa has 47 tackles including 10 TFL and five sacks.

“They run the ball really well and they throw the ball equally as well,” Young said. “They play aggressive on defense and their line is definitely a key point to their success. We will have our work cut out for us.”

The Maroon Knights have secured a victory in their last two games (Weir and Union Local).

Jordan Waterhouse leads the offense for Wheeling Central. He has rushed for 834 yards on 110 attempts and found the end zone 12 times while Payton Marling has supplied 392 yards and four TDs.

Vinnie High has collected 64 total tackles along with 10 TFL while Riley Watkins has secured 47 tackles.


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