FAYETTEVILLE – Wyoming East coach Don Jewell isn’t a fan of the team on the other side of the county.
It’s become a much smaller world with social media but old habits die hard, especially among the old-timers, which I can nearly lay claim myself. Cliches beware.
There are also many of the players playing in Friday’s Wyoming East at Westside game that are, at best, only enemies between the lines.
It’s a rivalry, after all, Wyoming East and Westside, born of Mullens and Pineville and Oceana and Baileysville in any combination and Glen Rogers and Herndon in the mix even earlier.
Jewell will notably admit the fact he is, yes, an old-school coach.
He did not like the fact his team fell 28-21 at Fayetteville last Friday. Not at all. He loathes the very thought of losing. In fact, the only thing worse than losing is losing to the school on the other side of the county, Westside.
Tonight they meet for the Golden Shovel, now owned by Wyoming East after five years at Westside.
Want to know what it means?
Ask Westside quarterback Bradie Vance, who this summer said the fact they had lost the shovel to Wyoming East didn’t really hit him until he walked down the hall at school the next week and it was not in what, for the junior, had been its customary spot.
That hit hard.
With little regard for the other, especially inside the lines, the two rivals meet tonight.
Westside is coming off a 28-8 win over Liberty. Wyoming East a 28-21 loss to Fayetteville.
Both have positives to spin, a little easier obviously for wining Westside. Westside coach Herbie Halsey continued to tinker with the lineup right up to opening night.
He may have found a combination just in time.
When he switched receiver Daniel Reed from receiver to running back the sophomore responded with 13 carries for 130 yards.
Reminds me of when Fayetteville moved Jordan Dempsey (more on him in a bit) from receiver to running back his sophomore year.
If Westside gets nearly half that output the move by Reed will be a success.
The move allowed the Renegades to solve another problem, putting Ethan Stewart, a guy with a penchant for pounding, at guard.
The numbers indicate it worked well.
The Renegades also were advantageous on defense, causing three turnovers, one an interception Dylan McComas took 77 yards for a touchdown. They also blocked a punt and had a safety (Stewart) on a botched punt attempt.
McComas also scored on a run, sophomore Jace Colucci scored his first career high school touchdown on a pass from Vance, who also had a TD toss to Dylan Cantrell.
As for Wyoming the state sheet renders a lot of good from the Warriors in loss to Fayetteville.
Wyoming East rushed for 327 yards in the game. And three touchdowns.
To quote Radar O’Reilly on the M*A*S*H episode where he tried to act smart to impress a nurse, “That’s highly significant.”
Last season Wyoming East rushed for 750 yards and nine touchdowns. In 10 games.
And the Warriors had two 100 yard rushers (Caleb Bower with 129, Michael Elkins with 121). Last year the Warriors had one all season.
That is also “highly significant.”
In the second half the Warriors controlled the clock, the best defense to slow a back like Dempsey, who Jewell called “the best back in the state.”
This ball control offense allowed Wyoming East to run 31 plays to 17 for Fayetteville in the second half and nearly pull off the victory.
The Warriors had seven runs of 10-plus yards.
The team also showed a bit of moxie to by not folding its tents at a couple of key junctures in the game.
The first came when Seth Ross scored on a 1-yard sneak making it 14-7. Dempsey took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a score to make it 21-7. Those are the plays that kill momentum, right?
The Warriors came back at scored on a Bowers run to make it 21-14 at the half and then scored on a 3-yard Alex Hall run on the first possession of the second half. Bang-bang, game tied.
Three scores on three straight possessions.
After Dempsey scored his 50th career touchdown with 3:10 left, the Warriors drove into Pirates territory but a Logan Frantz interception ended it.
I had the feeling if there had been five minutes left the Warriors may have tied it again they way the ran the football/
Overall the fact Wyoming East battled and the way the Warriors ran the ball with such seasoned authority, is a good sign.
The Warriors will likely need a bit more balance moving forward. Jewell wants to emphasize the run, and point taken after last week’s opener. Of its 72 plays Wyoming East likely overemphasized the run, running 67 times, or 93.1 percent of the time.
Record-setting QB Ross only attempted five passes. Honestly, the Warriors will need to work on pass protection, which broke down several times and didn’t allow Ross much time to work. Also cutting down on penalties will be a priority. Wyoming East was flagged 16 times in a game that saw 27 penalties.
Another positive thought, they won’t have to see Dempsey again
As Jewell boarded his team bus he thought about who I might have the upper hand in the Wyoming East-Westside.
“They are coming off a win, we lost so we will see,” Jewell said.
I have a feeling he believes that matters about as much as any motivation he can wring out of it.
In rivalries anything can happen and as we saw in last season’s Wyoming East’s 12-10 win at the War Zone, often does.
n n n
As a Valley grad I hate to see the school end, I hate to see the end of the Fayetteville rivalry. The kids today all knew each other. Back in the day I didn’t know anyone from Fayetteville.
I just knew I didn’t like Fayetteville, Oak Hill or Midland Trail. Some of the finest people I know are from those areas.
Tonight the two squads meet in the Fayette County BOE Memorial Bowl. One last time.
And we hear, no green balloons.