WILLIAMSTOWN, W.Va. — The Tug Valley Panthers saw their season come to a close this past Friday night in the opening round of the WVSSAC Class A Football Playoffs as they fell 42-0 to No. 5 seed Williamstown at Yellowjacket Field.
The Panthers (6-4) forced a three-and-out on the first two Williamstown drives as the Tug Valley defense got off to a good start. But as good as the defense was at the start, the offense was just as cold, as they ran only 12-plays on their first four drives and lost two yards.
The Yellowjackets (9-2) scored a pair of touchdowns after a couple of 20-plus yard runs by Ty Moore and Brayden Modessit gave them a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Tug Valley finally gained some momentum offensively in the second quarter as they mounted an 11-play, 59-yard drive and found themselves inside the Williamstown 10-yard line.
But it was all for naught, as Ethan Varney found Caleb May on 4th and goal from the seven but May was tackled short of the endzone and the Yellowjackets took over.
The Jackets mounted a 95-yard drive and hit paydirt as Moore scored for the second time, this time from 56-yards out as the home team took the 21-0 lead.
First year coach Hady Ford’s club mounted another long drive on their next possession as they went 12 plays and were once again inside the Yellowjacket 10-yard line, but Varney’s fourth down pass for Ethan Colegrove fell incomplete in the endzone Williamstown held the 21-0 lead going into halftime.
The second half was all Williamstown as they added three more scores in the third quarter to take a 42-0 lead and held the Panthers to only 38 yards of offense in the second half while forcing three Tug Valley turnovers.
The Yellowjackets outgained Tug Valley 349 to 201, with 249 of those yards coming via the ground game. Moore led the team with 159 yards rushing and two TDs, while Modessit added 100 yards passing, 50 rushing and three total TDs.
Varney finished 8-27 for 101 yards and three interceptions to go along with 72 yards rushing in his final game in the black and silver, but he still had the single best season statistically for a QB in program history.
For the year, he finished 141-267 passing for 2,287 yards and 30 touchdowns in only 10 games. He led the state in passing touchdowns in the regular season despite only playing nine games. The senior also was the Panthers’ leading rusher, as he finished with 761 yards rushing and eight rushing TDs.
Junior receiver Caleb May led the Panthers with six receptions for 86 yards against Williamstown, as he also put up the single best season statistically in program history for a receiver in 2019.
May led all Class A receivers as he finished with 82 receptions for 1,316 yards and 16 touchdowns. Both May and Varney were also menaces on the defensive side of the ball. Varney led the team with six interceptions while May added four.
Sophomore Tanner “Boo Boo” Kirk added 37 catches for 479 yards and six scores in 2019 while Easton Davis and Ethan Colegrove each finished with four receiving touchdowns. Davis also finished 6-12 passing for 107 yards and a passing TD as the backup quarterback.
Sophomore running back Zack Savage was second on the team in rushing yardage with 460 yards and five touchdowns while also leading the Panthers in tackles on the defensive side of the ball, finishing with 92 total tackles and 14 tackles for loss.
Senior defensive lineman Grayson Spaulding and May finished second on the team in tackles with 52 while senior Aaron White finished with 46. Spaulding also had 14 tackles for loss while Colegrove added 13 tackles behind the line of scrimmage on 27 total tackles.
The loss for the Panthers sees their season come to a close at 6-4 as they qualified for the postseason for the fifth time in the past six seasons.
After losing two straight games and falling to 3-3 midway through the regular season, Tug Valley won three straight contests to close out the regular season, including a big win over Class AA playoff team Man to secure a playoff berth.
Tug Valley had a bit of bad luck this season as they were stuck with nine games after Clarksburg Notre Dame folded their season just a couple of weeks before the regular season due to low numbers. If they would have had that 10th game and finished at 7-3, they more than likely would have had enough points in the playoff ratings to secure a first round home playoff game.
The Panthers will be hit hard by graduation as they had 10 seniors on their 23 man roster, including quarterback Ethan Varney and seven offensive or defensive linemen
They will say goodbye to lineman Corey Pack, Aaron White, Mark Newsome, Jared Webb, Josh Brewer, Grayson Spaulding and Erick Fitzpatrick as well as defensive backs Dustin Balentine and Robert Spurlock along with Varney.
TVHS (6-4): 0 0 0 0 — 0
WHS (9-2): 7 14 21 0 — 42