Midland wears down Washington
ONA -- Cabell Midland used a pair of roundhouse blows to stagger Washington in the first round of the Class AAA football playoffs Saturday afternoon.
Then, the Knights used consistent body blows to take the air out of the Patriots.
It was all part of a 404-yard rushing day as Cabell Midland moved on in the postseason with a 35-6 win over the school from Charles Town, W.Va., that was playing in its first-ever playoff game.
"The offensive line is where it starts," Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons said. "They've never been stopped all year. Capital was able to get us a little bit, but no one has really whooped us for four quarters all year. They're tough and they play hard."
No. 7 Cabell Midland (9-2) now gets a rematch of the 2012 Class AAA championship game when the Knights travel to No. 2 Martinsburg (10-1) for next week's quarterfinal bout.
Leading by just one point late in the first half, Cabell Midland's Donte Hendricks changed the complexion of the contest with a 96-yard touchdown run that stole the momentum from No. 10 Washington (7-4).
The Patriots had Cabell Midland pinned deep in its own territory after downing Bryan Bayliss' punt at the 4-yard line.
Washington tried to stack the line, bringing a five-man front with man-to-man secondary coverage and no deep defenders.
Hendricks hit the hole on the left side at full speed and the speedy junior running back raced his way to the score, which fell just two yards shy of the Class AAA preliminary round state record that was set by Capital's Ricky Sherrod in 1996.
"Only in youth league," Hendricks said of the 96-yard run. "That's the only time I've had one that long. I saw a hole that you could drive a truck through. I saw the defense and knew all I had to do was run. I was getting tired and saw someone behind me so I sped up and got in the end zone."
While Hendricks' run left the Patriots wounded, it was what happened minutes later that proved to be the knockout blow.
Washington trailed 14-6 and elected to go for it on a fourth-and-6 from the Cabell Midland 41-yard line instead of attempt to pin the Knights deep again. The plan backfired as Matt Harris' pass fell incomplete, giving Cabell Midland terrific possession with 2:35 left in the half.
It appeared the Patriots were going to avert danger after getting to fourth down, but Salmons elected to go for it on fourth-and-3 near midfield.
With an unbalanced line to the right, Salmons called for a bootleg to the left for quarterback Coy Petitt. The play was designed to be a pass in the flat to Hendricks. Petitt took off to the left sideline and picked up a block from Hendricks before racing 52 yards for a touchdown that made it a 21-6 game at the half.
"That broke their back a little bit," Salmons said. "They were tired and gassed going into halftime after that. He had the option to keep it or pass it. They bit on it and he kept running. He did a really good job."
With a two-score lead, the Knights' defense took over the contest.
Led by defensive end Tyler Hayes, Cabell Midland's rush disrupted the passing attack of the Patriots, sacking Harris five times. Harris' inability to have time to throw neutralized the effectiveness of 6-foot-5 wide receiver Kendall Smith.
Hayes finished with three of the Knights' sacks while not allowing Harris to get comfortable in the pocket. Cabell Midland limited Washington to 168 yards on 55 plays.
"That's what you have to have to win in the postseason," Salmons said. "You can't have a bad defense and expect to win."
Cabell Midland's offensive line imposed its will on Washington, moving forward between the tackles for chunks of yardage behind fullback Teran Barnitz, who scored on runs of 3 and 9 in the third quarter to put the game away.
The game resulted in a unique milestone for the Knights.
Hendricks' 140-yard effort and Barnitz' 103-yard effort helped both backs join Kasey Thomas over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
"We've got three backs with over 1,000 yards, which I've never had coaching," Salmons said. "They are good backs and good players."
Harris was 13 of 21 passing for 137 yards while Smith caught six passes for 98 yards. Colin Gustines, the Patriots' leading rusher on the year, was limited to just 42 yards on 20 carries.
Gustines gave Washington a 6-0 lead with a 5-yard scoring run with 2:48 left in the first quarter. However, his final 15 carries of the game logged just 12 yards.
WASHINGTON 6 0 0 0 -- 6
CABELL MIDLAND 0 21 14 0 -- 35
W -- Gustines 5 run (kick failed)
CM -- Thomas 1 run (Heiner kick)
CM -- Hendricks 96 run (Heiner kick)
CM -- Petitt 52 run (Heiner kick)
CM -- Barnitz 3 run (Heiner kick)
CM -- Barnitz 9 run (Heiner kick)
Total yards 168 413
First downs 11 15
Rushes-Yards 31-17 49-404
Comp-Att-Int 14-24-0 1-2-0
Passing yards 151 9
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 4-2
Penalties-Yards 5-52 8-75
RUSHING -- Washington: Gustines 20-42; Kidwell 2-12; Harris 9-minus 37. Cabell Midland: Hendricks 8-140; Barnitz 14-103; Thomas 14-58; Petitt 2-50; Childers 3-37; Stapleton 3-34; Ellis 1-1; Chapman 1-minus 2; Team 1-16.
PASSING -- Washington: Harris 13-21-0, 137 yards; Gustines 1-3-0,. 14 yards. Cabell Midland: Petitt 1-3-0, 9 yards.
RECEIVING -- Washington: Smith 6-98; Baylor 2-25; Fields 2-23, Gustines 4-13; Bronson 1-5.
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