The Dominion Post  

Second-half surge propels UHS past Spring Mills, 37-7

Created on:   Sat, Nov 11, 2017   12:41 AM

Last modified:   Sat, Nov 11, 2017   12:41 AM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — It was exactly how you draw it up for the University High football team on Nov. 10 against Spring Mills in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.

After a defensive stop, Hawks quarterback Clay Bailey found a wide open Amir Richardson for a 52-yard touchdown on their first play from scrimmage.

Unfortunately, that may have hurt the effort from UHS during the rest of the first half, according to head coach John Kelley. Heading into the locker room, the Hawks held just a 10-7 lead over the Cardinals after SMHS scored a touchdown with 25 seconds to go in the half.

“I can tell you it wasn’t no church sermon. It was ugly,” Kelley said of his halftime speech.

“I don’t understand these guys. I love these seniors, but how do you play that bad in the first half and then play that well in the second?”

It was a much different UHS team in the second half, outscoring the Cardinals, 27-0, on their way to a 37-7 win during a blistery night on top of the hill, at Mylan Pharmaceuticals Stadium.

The Hawks’ defense dominated the second half, allowing just 30 yards after SMHS (5-6) outgained UHS in the first half.

Trevor Barnhart, who missed most of the second half of the season with an ankle injury, scored from 1 yard out to give UHS a 17-7 lead. But Spring Mills looked to respond on its next possession and got down to the UHS 8-yard line. The next play, SMHS fumbled and the ball was recovered was UHS’s Owen Zeiders.

The Hawks (11-0) then took the ball 92 yards for another touchdown, scored by Logan Raber. Richardson then intercepted quarterback Trenton Kerns, and the rout was on.

“In the first half, I thought we came out and played with great effort,” Cardinals head coach Derek Munson said. “We kind of stumbled down there, which has been our Achilles heel all year — we get inside the red zone and self-destruct.”

Kerns finished with
94 passing yards and a touchdown pass to Mason Williams, while fellow quarterback Evin Hurt was the leading rusher for the Cardinals, with 60 yards.

“We did just enough to get into the playoffs and have this opportunity,” Munson said. “I told them after the game that I was really proud of how they came out and approached this game against a quality, undefeated team.”

UHS quarterback Clay Bailey handled a majority of the offensive snaps, throwing for 171 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 48 yards, while a running back trio of Barnhart, Raber and Robert Sanders had 103 yards combined. Receiver Evan Parow had 83 yards receiving to lead the team.

Richardson capped off the night with a 20-yard touchdown scamper out of the wildcat formation.

“I knew we could do damage if we could get the ball,” Kelley said. “The good thing is, in the second half, our defense gave our offense a chance.”

Last season, the Hawks lost in the first round, at home, to Hurricane, but got over the hump this year.

With the win, UHS advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2014, and it will host Capital on either Nov. 17 or Nov. 18 — the choice being up to the Cougars as the visiting team. Capital throttled Wheeling Park on Friday, 63-21.

“They’re an excellent team that’s well coached, has skill everywhere, speed everywhere,” Kelley said. “They beat us 65-14 the last time we played them in the playoffs, but you know what, we won
11 games and we’re going to try for 12.”