Wheeling Park Hits the Road to Play Musselman
INWOOD – If there were any questions as to whether or not coach Chris Daugherty’s Wheeling Park football team was ready to get back on the field, they were all answered last Friday night in Morgantown when the Patriots, playing for only the fourth time this season, returned with fury in a 41-6 victory over the Mohigans.
Friday night Park will look to make it two in a row when they hit the road once again to take on 2-4 record Musselman at Waldeck Field. The Applemen snapped a four-game losing streak last week with a 35-0 blanking of Hedgesville.
If the last two meetings between these teams are any indication, fans could be in for a close, high-scoring affair when the teams take the field. Musselman defeated the Patriots in both 2018 and 2019, however, both of those victories were by just one score.
“They should have been itching to play,” Daugherty joked. “We were worried about them being a little rusty, and we definitely did not expect for them to play as well as they did, but credit those kids, they showed up and made plays, especially early in the game.
“Morgantown is a good football team that similar to us played a tough early schedule, they just didn’t have to sit and wait for three weeks like we did. They had a couple of nice early drives, but we managed to stop them, and our offense helped us out and got us a 14-point lead which allowed the defense to get its bearings and get going.”
Junior quarterback Brett Phillips appeared to be chomping at the bit as much as anyone to get back on the field, throwing for 284 yards and five touchdowns in last week’s triumph while also rushing for 35 stripes. Wheeling Park had a pair of receivers come up big in sophomore Jerrae Hawkins (6-138-2td) and junior Will James (6-94-td).
The Patriots’ defense also did an outstanding job, limiting Morgantown to just 171 total yards while the offense was busy piling up 328 yards.
Coach Brian Thomas’ Applemen showed plenty of balance last week, passing for 211 yards and rushing for 154, but did lose three fumbles along the way. The defense surrendered just 48 total yards, including just seven through the air. Musselman, which lost all 11 starters from last season, is led by quarterback Bayden Hartman.
They have a fine receiving corps led by Ray Adames, Kobe Hayslette and Jacob Miller.
“They normally run just about everything on offense from the Wing-T to empty sets,” Daugherty commented. “They run multiple things and they put your defense on its toes and make you defend the entire field. They really like to mix things up and we are going to need to be ready for anything, pass or run.”
Every game has become big for Wheeling Park with the Patriots only having the ability to play a maximum of eight contests. Daugherty’s squad will close the season by hosting Brooke and Parkersburg South before the yearly battle with arch-rival John Marshall in Moundsville.
“We have talked about being short a couple of games and how every game from here on out is a playoff game for us,” Daugherty added. “Honestly, this is a situation we haven’t been in for a while, but at the end of the day we have two losses already and can only play eight games. We have to do everything we can to make this work.”