Alleghany shook up the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference last Friday when it defeated preseason favorite Starmount.
On Friday night, the Trojans avoided a possible letdown with their 31-13 win against West Wilkes on the Blackhawks’ homecoming in Millers Creek.
With the win, Alleghany moved to 2-1 in league play and 3-4 overall but Head Coach Noah Lyon didn’t feel the Trojans executed as well as they did in their 14-7 win at home last week.
“At times, it looked like we didn’t have a drop off, and at other times, it looked like we did. For us to be great, we can’t turn the ball over when we’re in a four-minute offense; when it’s fourth-and-one, we’ve got to get that,” said Lyon. “We had some defensive lulls in there that we can’t do, so, I don’t know if we played as well as last week or not, but I sure am happy with the win.”
Quarterback Jared Foley gave the Trojans’ third-year head coach plenty to be happy about.
Foley finished with a game-high 196 rushing yards (and 239 total yards of offense) and had a hand in every point the Trojans scored in the first half.
The senior signal caller rushed for a pair of touchdowns (for 3 and 50 yards) and found Dustin Rector on a 34-yard touchdown pass with less than 30 seconds to play in the first half to take a 24-6 lead.
Foley also hit four extra points (three in the first half) and connected on a 29-yard field goal.
“He’s tough for anybody to stop and we like to get him out in some open space when we can and let him make some plays, and he did that,” said Lyon.
The night started off well for the Blackhawks (1-6, 0-3) as Shane Pellicano ran for a 33-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage.
Pellicano also hauled in a 20-yard pass from quarterback Jackson Jarvis that moved them into the red zone.
But on the next play, Alleghany recovered a Dallas Rash fumble and Foley capitalized for the early 7-0 lead.
“All year long, we’ve moved the ball decently and just haven’t been able to finish drives,” said West Wilkes Head Coach Todd Rutz. “When that happened right at the start, it kind of made us drop our heads a little bit and Alleghany’s a good team — they’re hard-nosed, they come at you and they hit hard.”
After Foley’s field goal extended the Trojans’ lead to 17-0, West Wilkes had something cooking on its next drive.
The Blackhawks benefitted from a pass interference penalty and a 12-yard pick up from Rash.
A pair of completed passes from Jarvis to Pellicano (10 yards) and Garrett Patrick (7 yards) set up first-and-ten from the Trojan 23-yard line.
Three plays later, Rash took the pitch from Jarvis and raced 10 yards for the touchdown. The senior finished with 64 yards and two scores.
“We were still in the game and then some things just started to snowball for us — turnovers, losing yardage; some of it was bad calls, some of it was turnovers, we just couldn’t put it together,” said Rutz.
Down 31-6 after Spencer Murphy’s 1-yard touchdown, Garrett Shumate recovered a fumble early in the fourth quarter and West scored on a 1-yard run from Rash and added an extra point from Trenton Mastin.
Mastin recovered the ball on the ensuing onside kick with a chance to possibly make it a two-possession game with just over four minutes to play. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks turned the ball over on downs.
In addition to recovering the onside kick, Mastin had a good night punting, averaging just less than 37 yards on his six attempts. The junior also hit his third extra point of the season. It was the first successful point after for the Blackhawks since the Bishop McGuinness game on Sept. 6.
“He had a great night punting the ball. He was getting it deep and we had some decent coverage,” said Rutz. “He played very well tonight and I hope he continues to do that.”
The Trojans will look to make it three straight when they travel to East Wilkes this coming Friday while West Wilkes will host Starmount.
Notes: At halftime, Jaden Wentz was crowned the Blackhawks’ homecoming king while Skyler McPherson was named homecoming queen. In addition to Foley, Murphy finished with 97 yards for Alleghany. In JV action Thursday, the Blackhawks dropped a 41-0 decision in Sparta to fall to 1-2 in league play and 4-2 overall.