Meadow Bridge – Ty Nickell carried the Greenbrier West Cavaliers to a 51-12 win over Meadow Bridge Friday night. Nickell carried the ball 21 times for 215 yards and three touchdowns. Included in his totals were scoring runs of 63 and 98 yards. Nickell added a 1-yard touchdown run and a 14-yard touchdown reception for good measure. The 11th-rated Cavaliers ran their record to 4-1 in the process.
The Cavaliers got off to another fast start taking the opening possession of the game down for a score and an early 7-0 lead. The key play of the drive was a 49-yard pass completion from Cole Vandall to Chase McClung that converted a 3rd and 17 situation and flipped the field for the Cavaliers to the Wildcat fifteen. Three plays later, Nickell bulled his way in from the one-yard line for the first of his three rushing touchdowns. Tucker Gipson added the PAT. On the drive, Vandall went 3-3 to continue his improved play at quarterback.
The Wildcats tried to answer and put together an 11-play drive that began at their own 25-yard line. Quarterback Dustin Adkins connected with Rian Cooper for a 20-yard gain on third and six from the Meadow Bridge 40-yard line to move the ball into Cavalier territory. The drive stalled four plays later when McClung stepped in front of an Adkins pass, nearly making a one-handed interception that looked eerily similar to his theft in the Webster County win. The Cavaliers made short work of the Wildcats after the failed drive. Nickell carried for a short gain on first down, then ripped through the middle of the Meadow Bridge defense untouched for a 63-yard touchdown. Gipson’s PAT failed but the Cavaliers held a 13-0 lead with 2:03 left in the first quarter.
Things didn’t get much better for Meadow Bridge on their next possession. After drawing back-to-back offsides calls to generate a first down, the Cavaliers held the Wildcats to a three-and-out possession. On fourth down from his own 36, Adkins lined up six yards deep in an empty backfield. At the snap, Nickell burst through a seam created by Chase Frankin and Jayden Robinson and blocked Adkins’ quick kick attempt. Nickell chased the football down and scooped it up on the run at the Wildcat 20 before Adkins brought him down at the 13-yard line. Two plays later, Vandall swung a pass to McClung who flared out to the right and scooted across the goal line. The Cavalier lead was 19-0 with 11:53 to go in the first half.
Down by three scores, the Wildcats began to play with a little urgency. A short Landon James run was followed by an Adkins to James McClure pass for 17 yards into Cavalier territory. Adkins followed that up with a pass to Rian Cooper who carried the ball down to the West 34-yard line, however, a holding call backed the Wildcats up to the Cavalier 48. McClure was then dropped for a loss by Elijah Perkins and Franklin and suddenly the Wildcats were traveling backwards. Adkins dropped back to throw on second down and was dumped at the Wildcat 44-yard line by West senior Mason Thorton, Perkins, and Nickell. Facing a 3rd and 23 situation, Adkins took the shotgun snap and dropped straight back, uncorking a deep pass just as the Cavalier pressure reached him. Conner Mullins, meanwhile, had gotten a step on Cavalier cornerback Kadin Parker and was streaking down the middle of the field. He raced under Adkins’ pass at the Cavalier 25-yard line and stayed a step ahead of Parker into the endzone. Joey Terry sacked Adkins on the conversion attempt, but the Wildcats were on the board with 8:18 left in half.
After both teams traded punts, Adkins went back to work on the Cavalier defense. After an overthrow to McClure that might have resulted in a touchdown, the Wildcats were backed up to their own 45-yard line and faced a 3rd and 10. Adkins scrambled to his left and got the edge on the Cavalier defense, carrying the ball to the West 37-yard line. Adkins then found James down the left sideline after he had slipped out of the backfield for another first down. The Wildcats had gained momentum. A swing pass to McClure resulted in a short gain. Two Adkins’ incompletions were followed by another dump pass to James who got free when two Cavalier defenders collided, and James carried it down to the Cavalier three-yard line. On first-and-goal, Adkins rolled right and hit Seaton Mullins who had leaked across the goal line. Adkins swung the conversion out to Devon Brown in the left flat, but Robinson stopped him short of the goal line. Meadow Bridge had cut the lead to a touchdown, 19-12, with :46 remaining in the half. The Cavaliers were content to take a knee and run out the first half leading by seven.
Coming out of the halftime break, the Wildcats would get the football. They wouldn’t keep it for long. Adkins dropped straight back and lofted another pass deep down the middle. His intended target, Conner Mullins, had beaten Parker for his first score. Parker, seeing his first action since the season-opener at Buffalo, was ready to make Adkins pay for his earlier touchdown toss. Parker leapt high into the air to rob Mullins of a reception and returned the midfield-interception to the Wildcat 29-yard line. Six plays later, Vandall dumped a screen pass over the middle to Ty Nickell who weaved his way to the right and into the endzone. The conversion pass failed, and the Cavaliers held a 25-12 advantage.
Greenbrier West held the Wildcats to a three and out on their next series, and a short punt by Adkins gave the Cavaliers great field position at their own 41-yard line. On West’s second play, Parker took an inside hand-off from Vandall and exploded into the Wildcat secondary. Brown gave chase but Parker couldn’t be caught, taking it 55 yards for the score. The Cavaliers were penalized on the conversion try, and a Vandall to Nickell pass fell incomplete. The West lead was 31-12 with 7:36 remaining in the third quarter.
Any hopes the Wildcats had of mounting a comeback were squashed on their next possession. Going for broke on a 4th down from their own 24-yard line, Adkins once again dropped straight back to throw. Reney Cordial pressured Adkins as he let the ball fly. This time it was Chase McClung pulling down the interception. The Cavaliers would go to work at the Wildcat 49. Just as they’ve done in recent weeks, Vandall and Nickell took turns carrying the football and chewing up valuable time off the clock with a lead in hand. Vandall just missed hitting Lilly with a deep throw on the drive, one of only two incompletions for Vandall on the night but followed up with a completion to McClung. After a short Nickell carry, Parker took another inside handoff and scored from the Wildcat nine. Vandall hit McClung for the conversion and a 39-12 lead with 2:09 left in the third quarter.
Adkins did his best to keep the football in the hands of the Wildcats. After a pass interference call gave Meadow Bridge a first down, Adkins scrambled from his own 40-yard line to the Cavalier 37. Adkins hit McClure for a catch-and-run to the West 30, then threaded the needle to hit Cooper on a slant that had the Wildcats at the Cavalier 11-yard line. The Cavalier defense took over. Terry sacked Adkins at the 18-yard line, but Adkins got the lost yardage back plus some with a scramble to the Cavalier five. Adkins found James at the goal line on a play that the Wildcats had run successfully earlier in the game, but Robinson crushed James at the goal line and dislodged the football, lifting James off his feet. On fourth and goal, Vandall went high to knock Adkins’ pass attempt incomplete.
Looking to run some clock, the Cavaliers attempted to run a quarterback sneak and create some room for their offense. The exchange was bobbled but Vandall recovered the loose ball on the Cavalier two-yard line. On second down, Vandall turned and handed the ball to Nickell at the goal line. As he broke into the secondary, he cut left off the block of Robinson and started up the Cavalier sideline. Lilly secured the final block on the edge and Nickell was off to the races. Six Wildcat defenders pursued Nickell, with three still giving chase at midfield. McClure made a diving attempt at Nickell at the Wildcat 15-yard line, but Nickell was able to score before falling to the ground in the endzone. His 98-yard burst broke the school record for a rushing touchdown set by Brian Gray at Summers County on September 28, 2007. Freshman Isaac Agee closed out the scoring for the Cavaliers with a 18-yard touchdown run with 4:32 remaining.
The Cavaliers moved to 4-1 on the season while the Wildcats dropped to 1-3. Greenbrier West will face 3-1 James Monroe this Friday in Charmco in a battle of top-16 teams. The game was scheduled to be played on September 10, but the Mavericks were battling COVID restrictions, and a three-way schedule trade was made with Pocahontas County. The Wildcats will host winless Webster County.