Timberwolves bring five-game winning streak to Midland game
SPRING VALLEY — Spring Valley High School football coach Brad Dingess believes his team has more of an identity now heading into Friday’s game against Cabell Midland at Timberwolf Stadium.
“We’re a better football team. We’re growing up. We’ve found our groove,” Dingess said Tuesday prior to practice.
Things started falling into place in Week 5 when the Timberwolves posted a 21-14 win at Princeton.
“We were very scattered like in who was carrying the ball,” Dingess said. “It was running back by committee.”
At Princeton, Dylan Lageman and Colby Webb emerged as the 1-2 punch. Lageman ran for 72 yards and Webb 61. A week later in a 25-20 home win over Winfield, Webb picked up 116 yards rushing.
“They’re doing the job,” Dingess said.
Webb is the team’s top rusher with 571 yards and six scores and Lageman has 429 and four TDs.
Spring Valley (6-2) comes in on a five-game winning streak. The Timberwolves are No. 12 in the latest West Virginia Class AAA ratings and Cabell Midland (6-2) is No. 10. The winner will get a big boost in the effort to secure home field in the playoffs. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
At quarterback, Tyler Brown is a run/pass threat for Spring Valley. He’s rushed for 290 yards and five TDs and passed for 498 and four touchdowns. Bryer Brewer leads in receptions with nine for 124 yards. Webb and Tyler Robertson have six receptions each.
“Our quarterback and receivers had a tough relationship in the beginning,” Dingess said. “The timing wasn’t there.”
A year ago, Brown spent most of the game handing off to power back Elijah Wellman, who now is a redshirt freshman at West Virginia University.
“We make things around him now,” Dingess said of Brown. “He’s come a long way. He understands things better.”
Defensively, the Timberwolves are proving stingy despite losing some key players to injuries.
“We’re thin in spots and have some guys going both ways,” Dingess said. “We’re all right. The spread formation (by opponents) has gotten us a bit. We know we can’t give up the big play.”
Spring Valley and Cabell Midland had two interesting games in 2012. The Knights beat the Timberwolves, 21-13, in the season opener and ended their season with a 28-26 victory in the second round of the Class AAA playoffs. Both games were at Cabell Midland.
“They play power football and good defense,” Dingess said. “They’re aggressive. They really get to the ball on defense.”
Spring Valley opened a 28-0 first-quarter lead on Nitro last week on the way to a 48-21 win. At Cabell Midland, the Knights raced to a 42-14 lead on then-No. 2 George Washington, but had to hang on for a 49-40 victory. The Patriots didn’t have Draven Riffe, the No. 2 rusher in Class AAA in the state (1,379 yards), who was out with an ankle injury.
Cabell Midland finally put the game away with 1:34 left when Alex Childers raced 52 yards for a TD.
The Knights made one key lineup change as Kasey Thomas, the team’s top rusher, started at quarterback and went the distance. He took over for Coy Petitt.
Cabell Midland produced three 100-yard rushers in Dontae Hendricks (129, three scores), Teran Barnitz (112, one TD) and Thomas (100 and one TD passing).
“We’re preparing for both (Thomas and Petitt),” Dingess said. “We’ve got to contain their running game. No big plays and no turnovers.”
Both teams have one common opponent. No. 1 Huntington High beat the Timberwolves, 40-6, on Sept. 6. The Highlanders knocked off the Knights, 19-7, two weeks later. Both games were at Huntington High’s Bob Sang Stadium.
“It’s a fun rivalry,” Dingess said of playing the Highlanders and Knights. “It’s good for all three schools. All have been pretty good. It makes things a lot more meaningful.”
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