WINFIELD — With possible postseason playoff bids on the line, a major showdown between the Sissonville Indians and the Winfield Generals took place at General Stadium before a packed homecoming crowd. And, as expected, a hard-fought ground battle ensued, with the homestanding Generals coming out on top in a 34-21 slugfest Friday night.
With both teams at full strength, the win gets the Generals, ranked No. 17 in Class AA in the latest WVSSAC playoff ratings, a little closer to one of their season goals of making the postseason field of 16.
“They were pretty tough against the run in the first half,” said Generals coach Craig Snyder. “We did a little better in the second half against their defensive line. They were a typical Coach [Marc] Wilson-led team and tough up front, and luckily we were able to make a few more big plays in the second half.”
Each team began the game trying to establish field position, but ran into gritty defenses that yielded only one first down combined in the entire first quarter. The longest gain of that period was an 8-yard run by the Indians’ Dylan Griffith.
Yet in the second quarter, the Generals’ senior quarterback Nick Vance began finding his receivers, connecting with Carson Crouch across the middle for a 22-yard gain that eventually led to a 1-yard John Covert touchdown plunge for a 7-0 lead.
With 4:35 left until the break, Vance hit pay dirt again, finding senior receiver Hunter Morris down the sideline for a 21-yard score that put Winfield up 14-0. The Indians, ranked No. 15 in Class AA, could not counter offensively. They picked up but 40 yards in the first half, mainly on Griffith’s 12 carries for 36 yards.
The Indians (4-3) showed some spark at the beginning of the second half as Tyler Young picked off a Vance pass and returned it to the General 8. Two plays later, Jackson Foster, who went in at quarterback for the entire half, skirted the end for an 8-yard score and pulled his team within a score at 14-7.
The Generals (5-2) regained momentum as Covert went in from 1 yard out after a long six-minute drive, putting the lead back to two possessions.
“I think most of the first half was a field-position thing. We had them pinned down most of the half, but let a few passes get by,” said Wilson. “We struggled a little bit with the passing part of the game quite a bit.”
The Generals continued to pound it on the ground throughout the rest of the game with Covert’s punishing runs, as he scored on another 1-yard run to open the fourth quarter, adding to Winfield’s lead.
For the Indians, Griffith ended the game gaining 87 yards on 15 carries while Foster completed 6 passes on 8 attempts for 33 yards.