PARKERSBURG — Class AAA No. 16 George Washington never got its offense on track Friday night at Stadium Field as the Patriots were handed a 32-7 Mountain State Athletic Conference setback by host Parkersburg.
The No. 12 Big Reds (4-3) opted to use some ground-and-pound, and senior tailback Tyler Moler was up to the task. Not only did he finish with game-highs of 31 rushes for 311 yards, but he also broke the school record of 290 yards previously held by Ryan Holbert back in 2002.
Despite trailing just 19-7 at intermission and getting the ball to open the second half, the Patriots of coach Steve Edwards Jr. never could gain any traction.
Marshall commit Grant Wells, who had several drops on the evening, finished 13 of 27 with four interceptions. Wells’ 7-yard TD strike to Alex Mazelon, who made a leaping catch in double coverage in the end zone late in the first half, had the visitors within 13-7, but Moler broke off a 29-run to paydirt to give the Red and White the 12-point halftime cushion.
After Wells threw a pick to Jacob Woodyard late in the third quarter, Brenton Strange hauled in a 37-yard touchdown strike from Jake Johnson early in the fourth. Moler’s 80-yard romp to the end zone at 9:03 of the fourth all but sealed the deal for the Big Reds, who return to action next Friday at Hurricane.
Although GWHS, which dropped to 3-4 and has a bye week before Riverside invades on Oct. 19, only had five flags for 68 yards, some were costly. A chop block on the Patriots’ first drive killed that series and the visitors were down 7-0 after a Shane Miller 3-yard TD catch.
The Patriots’ defense got an interception by Brayden McCallister late in the first quarter, but Wells was picked off by Strange on the very next play.
George Washington was in business with a first-and-goal early in the second at the Big Red 4, but Strange picked off Wells in the end zone and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. A holding call brought it back to the 20, but a prime scoring opportunity was squandered.
A three-and-out by GWHS on its next series eventually led to a Moler 53-yard TD run with 4:36 left in the half. Mazelon’s TD grab was set up by a 13-yard completion to Logan Leeber and a pair of runs by Wells, which covered 18 and 38 yards.
Prior to the break, it appeared as though McCallister had his second pick of the night, but his teammate was called for pass interference on Strange. That kept the drive alive and led to the 19-7 intermission advantage.
George Washington, which lost the total yards battle 475-206, amassed just 44 yards after halftime and Angel Lobato had three rushes for 18 yards on the last series.
PHS managed 365 ground yards on 46 attempts while GWHS had 24 rushes for 91 yards. Wells had a dozen of those for 55 yards. Mazelon finished with seven receptions for 70 yards.