POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A rematch of epic proportions is on the agenda for 7:30 p.m. Friday evening at Point Pleasant High School when third rated Wahama squares off for the second week in a row with 14th ranked Buffalo in the opening round of the West Virginia high school Class A playoffs. Although the two gridiron opponents frequent the Class A post-season regularly this will be the first-ever playoff encounter between the three-sport rivals.
Wahama and Buffalo engaged in an important regular season finale encounter just one week ago at Bachtel Stadium in Mason with Wahama coming away with a surprising 41-13 triumph. Both teams had already secured a playoff berth going into that outing but the post-season contest this week elevates the stakes to an extremely higher level.
This time around the consequences are significantly greater with the winner advancing to a second round contest against the winner of Greenbrier West/Meadow Bridge while the loser acquires an early start on the 2012-13 basketball season.
The second chance, instant replay, opportunity against the White Falcons was presented to Buffalo on Saturday night when Tug Valley pulled off a mild upset win over Class AA ranked Clay County. That stunning victory by the Panthers not only vaulted Tug Valley into the playoffs but also landed Buffalo into the 14th position among Class A schools and a second chance date with Wahama in the postseason.
Coach Ed Cromley’s third-ranked White Falcons will carry an unbeaten 10-0 regular season record and a third consecutive Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division title into the opening round playoff matchup. Despite coming away with what appeared to be an easy 28 point win over the Bison a week nothing could be further from the truth.
Only three total offensive yards separated the two teams in that contest with turnovers and penalties hampering the Bison’s’ cause. The major benefits coming from that game for the White Falcons were the opportunity to host a first round playoff outing while also gaining some sort of confidence while Buffalo will surely regard the rematch with revenge in mind.
Wahama will be appearing in the Class A post-season for the fourth year in a row and 17th playoff date in the history of the Bend Area School. The White Falcons have competed in the Class A playoffs 10 times since the turn of the century with only the 2000, 2005 and 2008 teams failing to advance to the season ending grid tournament.
Falcon coach Ed Cromley has directed Wahama to the post-season 13 times during his 18 year stint as the locals head coach. Overall WHS has compiled a 14-16 record in the playoffs with the locals owning a 13-12 mark during Cromley’s tenure as head coach of the Mason County eleven.
WHS averages over 46 points per game entering the first round playoff challenge with the Bend Area defensive unit allowing just 13.2 points per game to the opposition. The Mason County eleven averages nearly 450 yards in total offense per outing while collecting 350 yards a game rushing and another 98 yards per outing through the air.
On the season, Wahama owns a 19-9 edge in turnover margin with the Falcons recording 12 interceptions and seven fumbles on the season in comparison to tossing just three interceptions and losing six fumbles.
Individually, Zach Wamsley and Kane Roush are the teams leading scorers and ground gainers with Wamsley scoring 19 touchdowns, kicked 27 extra points and a field goal for a team leading 144 points on the year. Roush has tallied 22 touchdowns and has six point after scores for a total of 138 points.
On the ground, Roush a fleet-footed junior has 1252 yards rushing with Wamsley approaching the 1000 yard mark with 942 yards. Senior Crandale Neal has 497 yards in only 54 carries with veteran senior quarterback Trenton Gibbs picking up 482 yards on the year.
Gibbs is just 48 yards shy of his third consecutive year with over 1000 yards passing after completing 47 of 86 passes on the season with 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Gibbs is also the Falcons’ all-time leading passer with over 3000 yards as well as the career leader in touchdown passes with 42. With Gibbs as a starting signal caller Wahama has won 32 of 34 games over the past three season.
Roush, Austin Cole and Wyatt Zuspan are the Bend Area teams leading receivers with Roush grabbing 15 receptions for 227 yards and two scores, Cole eight catches for 208 yards and three touchdowns and Zuspan with nine receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns.
The White Falcons junior dominated interior line has performed admirably throughout the year and has consisted of Tyler Nutter, Brent Larck, Benny Youkers, Wesley Harrison, Lane Sparks, Josh Haddox, Zach Killingsworth along with freshmen Jesse Hesson and Clayton Sines.
Buffalo will bring an 7-3 record into the first round playoff contest and a 14th place ranking in the final WVSSAC Class A state rankings. The Bison’s have fallen in its past two opening round outings and will be out to reverse that trend.
Buffalo defeated three teams ranked in the top 20 during the regular season in (#19) Parkersburg Catholic 45-0; (#4) Greenbrier West 29-20 and (#13)Wirt County 23-21 while losing to (#5) Symmes Valley and (#3) Wahama 41-13. The Bison also defeated Gilmer County 57-0; Richwood 36-8; Calhoun County 49-12 and Fayetteville 34-7 while losing to Class AA Poca 20-7.
Buffalo will again counter the White Falcon offensive attack with its talented senior quarterback Levi Jordan and junior running back/receiver Laythen Good. Jordan has connected on 88 of 153 passes on the season for 1726 yards with 22 touchdown tosses and just five interceptions. Good has been his main target with 33 catches for 707 yards and seven touchdowns.
Good is also the Bison’s leading rusher with nearly 789 yards on the ground and 10 TDs while Bubba Legg has 472 rushing yards in addition to Levi Jordan with 300 and Jordan Tucker with 278. Garrison Erwin is also a prime target for Jordan’s offerings with Erwin grabbing 28 receptions on the year for 470 yards and five scores.
Gabe Garrison has 13 catches for 303 yards and five touchdowns with Jordan Tucker owning seven receptions for 125 yards and three TDs.
Jordan threw for 197 yards and a touchdown on 17 of 22 aerials last week against Wahama with Good running for 48 yards and catching six passes for 76 yards. Sophomore speedster Jordan Tucker scored one touchdown and picked up 59 yards in just eight carries in the loss to the White Falcons.
The White Falcons have won five of its last seven Class A playoff dates overall and have captured six straight games while hosting a Class A, post-season contest. During the six game winning streak in playoff outings WHS has hosted it has beaten Pocahontas County in 2007 and St. Marys, East Hardy and Wirt County in 2010 in addition to Pocahontas County and Fayetteville in 2011.
Wahama has won the last five games its has participated in at Point Pleasant High School and will be looking to extend that streak at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night.