WELCH — The Mount View High School football team enjoyed a first round playoff victory over Sherman last week in a thrilling 16-6 win over Tide that kept fans at Vic Nystrom Stadium on the edges of their seats.
This Saturday, the No. 5 Golden Knights (10-1) travel to take on No. 4 Ritchie County (10-1) in the second round of the WVSSAC Class A playoffs. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.
The rematch with Sherman was much closer than the Knights’ 44-18 victory over the Tide during the regular season.
The rematch relied on two huge fourth-quarter touchdown plays from veteran Tony Bailey — including a defensive dagger when Bailey stripped the football from a Sherman receiver and returned it 51 yards to score.
“It was a real dogfight. It’s hard to go back and beat teams you’ve played like that. In the COVID season, we had to play some teams more than once, but this was a playoff game. You can just wipe the records away. It can be anybody’s game and those kids came to play,” Mount View head coach Maurice Gravely said.
Emotions ran so high that the final minutes of the game a scuffle ensued after Mount View’s sack of the Tide QB near the Sherman sideline.
As a result of that incident, the Golden Knights will play this week without two players who were ejected from that game.
Gravely declined to name the suspended players and said the Knights will carry on without them if that’s what it ultimately comes down to.
“We’re trying to appeal [the ejections] … we’re just trying to look at our best options with that. But that’s not in my hands so the last couple of days we’ve been preparing as [those players will be absent],” Gravely said.
“I think that game was a good test for us … to come together and pull it out as we did. There were some crucial mistakes we made and we’ve got to fix that, on both offense and defense,” he said.
Ritchie County, which is located in Ellenboro, is coached by Rick Haught. Last week, the Rebels dismantled Clay-Battelle 46-14.
The Rebels rushed for 329 yards versus the Cee Bees, led by running back Gus Morrison, who rushed for 164 yards on 12 carries, including three touchdown runs.
The Rebels’ only regular season loss this season was a 29-26 defeat at the hands of Doddridge County (10-1), who’ll host James Monroe in another Class A quarterfinal game on Saturday.
Mount View was already on Haught’s radar headed into last week’s game. He has commented the Knights’ size and the need for his players to contain Mount View’s insomnia-inducing skill athletes.
Gravely said the Knights will certainly have their hands full with Ritchie County. But he agrees with Haught that Mount View will have to ‘dance with the one that brung them’ in order to advance to the state semifinals
“We’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game … we’re going to be playing on their home field. We’ll have to cut back on the penalties and play smart and disciplined football,” said Gravely, who expects the Rebels will have to throw the ball some in addition to counting on Morrison to keep it moving in the dirt.
Bailey was the highlight reel kid for Mount View last week, but the Golden Knights have been making game-changing plays on both sides of the football this season and it hasn’t been just one or two players doing it.
“It’s fine that [Bailey] wants to make the plays for us. Tony wants to do it … and that’s cool with me. He has come up with some crucial plays for us and that’s what a big-time guy does, “ Gravely said.
“But I’ve been saying all year, across the board we’ve got a bunch of guys that can do some great things,” the Knights head coach said.
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