By Dave Morrison
OAK HILL – Dave Moneypenny did not put a number on wins, or even promise that the wins would come quickly.
The Oak Hill coach’s mantra coming into the season was “compete.”
“Play hard, compete and overcome adversity,” Moneypenny said in late August.
One of those groups that has definitely fit that bill during the Red Devils 2-0 start has been the offensive line.
The offensive line has overcome the adversity of a late start to the season and the learning curve of picking Moneypenny’s Wing-T offense.
That line of Ronnie Helton, Scott Wilshire, Devon Dean, Cam Craddock and Lucas Whaples has picked it u to the tune of 640 yards rushing in two games, including 417 yards rushing against Greenbrier East last week.
In that game both Te-amu Shelton and Omar Lewis topped 100 yards rushing.
“We’ve got some really good skill players here at Oak Hill, I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Moneypenny said. “What maybe gets overshadowed sometimes is how well the offensive line is blocking. They’re building some pretty nice walls out there. We’re getting those kick outs and leading up in there pretty well at times. When you do those things with the backs we have some explosive things can happen.”
Explosive like Shelton’s 81-yard game-tying score with 8:19 remaining. In fact, all but one of Oak Hill’s rushing touchdowns were 10 yards or better (Shelton adding 41 and 10 yards and Lewis adding a 21 yard scoring run). Only Shelton’s 2-yard run with 1:47 left – the game winner, was a scoring run of less than 10 yards.
Of course, those scoring runs are a testament to the speed in the backfield
and the sheer athletic ability to make plays in space. But you have to get there, and the backs know it.
“Those are my dudes,” Lewis said. “They killed the game (Greenbrier East) tonight, props to them.”
Of his 81-yard game tying touchdown, Shelton said, “My lineman Lucas (Whaples) got a good push off on the block, a came to the left, tried to trick the safety into letting me get to the outside and I burnt them to the end zone.”
In other words, it all started up front.
The Red Devils will need more of the same and then some when they travel for the first time this season, taking on Spring Valley tonight.
Moneypenny gave a hint about where Oak Hill would play Friday if its scheduled game with Hurricane, in gold county Putnam, could not happen. Moneypenny was asked if the Red Devils would try to make up some of the games it had missed due to its orange and red status for the first four weeks of the season.
“At this point right now if the colors work out, yeah …. that’s a tricky question, you know how it is with these colors,” the coach said. We’ll try to make some games up if possible. Really, it’s tricky. We have our speed dial list of teams that we call and try to play. Right now some of those schools are down in Charleston, on the other side of Charleston. We’re trying to look at triple-A teams, trying to keep these kids where they need to be playing, and that’s triple-A.”
Spring Valley is indeed on the other side of Charleston, in Huntington and the Timberwolves are one of the state’s top Class AAA programs.
The Timberwolves did fall to Class AA power Fairmont Senior last week, but prior to that had ended Martinsburg’s state-record win streak at 57 with a 22-20 win at Cobourn Field at David M. Walker Stadium in Martinsburg.
The Timberwolves boast t a quality line, led by a pair of senior Division 1 prospects in Wyatt Milum and Bryce Biggs along with junior Corbin Page, a tight end. All three have received multiple Division 1 offers.
Cole Diamond, who had two touchdowns against Martinsburg, has rushed for 249 yards and four touchdowns. Brody Brumfield has accounted for 219 yards and four touchdowns.
Quarterback Jack Roy, a transfer from Fairview, Ky., has completed 26 of 50 passes for 384 yards and five touchdowns, with two interceptions. Ben Turner has been his favorite target, with eight catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
PHOTO: Oak Hill lineman Lucas Whaples