Midland line makes opponents move
Offensive linemen usually draw attention when something goes wrong. Like a penalty or missed block.
Friday night, Cabell Midland back David Gaydosz and Oak Hill coach Eddie Souk saluted the job the Knights did up front in their 52-20 first-round win over the Red Devils in the Class AAA playoffs.
"All the credit to the offensive line," said Gaydosz, who picked up 264 yards on 15 carries and scored on runs of 51, 60 and 46 yards. "We had a good game plan. Teams put eight or nine in the box. Break the line and you're gone."
On the 46-yard run, five different Oak Hill defenders had a shot at Gaydosz and failed to bring him down.
"Running backs get all the credit, but they've got a good line and a good scheme," Souk said.
Knights coach Luke Salmons had to make several adjustments up front for the game. Offensive tackle Kurt Jones sat out, serving a one-game suspension after being ejected from a win over Hurricane. Tight end Tanner Chapman moved to tackle and Josh Baisden operated at guard since Tim Chaffin did not play.
"The line's 90 percent of it," said Kasey Thomas, who started at quarterback for the Knights, moved to wingback on the third series in the first period and piled up 119 yards on 13 carries and caught one pass for 25. "They get you on that second level. All you do is make them guys miss. They (defense) seldom get a hand on us."
Baisden appreciated getting called out for the right reasons.
"It means I did my job," he said after learning Cabell Midland piled up 482 yards on the ground. "We get in the right state of mind and stay focused."
Gaydosz went past 1,700 yards for the season and has 25 touchdowns. Lowell Farley has more than 1,600 yards with 16 TDs.
Cabell Midland (11-0), top-ranked in Class AAA and seeded No. 1, drove to Oak Hill 1 on its second possession, but turned the ball over on downs after failing on third and fourth downs to get the final yard.
"That got us pretty frustrated," Baisden said. "We knew we could move the ball. We were excited to get back out there."
Oak Hill, the No. 16 seed playing in Class AAA for the first time, got a solid outing from junior Jalen Jones, who rushed for 148 yards and scored twice. Jones piled up 2,194 yards rushing and scored 211 points this season.
"He's a special player. I'm glad we've got him back next season," Souk said.
"He's a good back," said Knights linebacker Nick Boone, who chased Jones all over the field. "He's shifty. He lived up to his reputation."
The Knights will want to shore up kickoff return coverage for this Friday's game against No. 8 Spring Valley at home. Oak Hill had a 53-yard return in the first quarter and brought one back 73 in the second. A personal foul at the end of the 73-yarder set up a 4-yard TD run by Jones for Oak Hill's first score.
STILL NO. 9: Cabell Midland's Jacob Burcham is still ranked No. 1 in the MileSplit.com national rankings through Nov. 7. Burcham had the record-setting run in winning the individual title and leading the Knights to the Class AAA title in the West Virginia Cross Country Championships on Oct. 29 on Cabell Midland's home course. Burcham covered the 5K course in 14:58.04, making him the first high school runner in West Virginia to go under 15 minutes. The Knights breezed to the team title as well.
Burcham took a weekend recruiting visit to Stanford.
And the Knights aren't done. They'll compete in the Nike NXN Southeast Regional on Nov. 24 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The top two teams and top five runners there advance to the ninth annual Nike Cross Nationals on Dec. 1 in Portland, Ore. Scott Bush interviewed Burcham recently and the story appears on NikeCrossNationals.com website.
ROUGH FINISH: No. 4 Gallipolis (9-3) had a tough end to a stellar season Saturday night. Dayton Thurgood Marshall, No. 1 seed in Region 12 in the Ohio Division III football playoffs, rolled to a 68-9 win over the Blue Devils in a semifinal game to end their winning streak at eight. The Cougars featured a lethal Wing-T offense, outscoring opponents 694-104. They have rolled up 42 or more points in 11 of 12 games. The Blue Devils, who won their first SEOAL crown since 2004, are now 6-10 in the playoffs.
VOLLEYS: George Washington, which upended Class AAA defending champion Spring Valley in the semifinals, won a state volleyball championship Saturday in the Charleston Civic Center. George Washington beat Musselman in the finals, 25-21, 25-23, 25-13.
Oak Glen Captured its second consecutive Class AA crown with a win over Ritchie County, 25-16, 25-16, 25-19.
Williamstown took the Class A title with a victory over Tyler Consolidated, 25-20, 25-21, 25-15.
SIGNING: Ironton softball player Rebekkah Potter is signing to play for the University of Dayton at 2 p.m., Tuesday, in the Conley Center at the high school.
David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.