MORGANTOWN — Morgantown head coach Matt Lacy felt that his team was getting a little overwhelmed and wasn’t keeping its focus during a brutal three-game stretch from the end of September through mid-October.
Scoring two touchdowns in three games and watching their postseason chances slipping away a game at a time, the Mohigans wanted to get back to the basics.
The basics have worked pretty well during the last two games against John Marshall and University in the Mohawk Bowl.
Offensively, MHS scored 14 combined touchdowns and are using weapons all across the field with six different players reaching the end zone. A healthy Ty Konchesky and Tanner Davis are a lethal 1-2 punch in the backfield and sophomore quarterback Cam Rice is finally getting more comfortable.
Preston Fox, back from a broken collarbone, gives MHS a deep threat in the passing game it missed while he was out.
But the message heading into the showdown with UHS was simple and the Mohigans executed it to perfection.
“We had a guest speaker (William James) come in and his message was to stay focused for 70 snaps,” Lacy said. “It averages out to be about five seconds a snap, so that’s essentially just under six minutes a game. That’s what we asked them to focus on for t hose 70 snaps — just five seconds at a time.
“They came out and did that from start to finish.”
James, a Uniontown, Pa., native, was a third round pick cornerback to the New York Giants in the 2001 draft after playing at Michigan and Western Illinois. He also played for the Eagles, Bills, Jaguars, Lions and 49ers.
After the 55-10 win over the Hawks, MHS (5-5) finished Week 10 with 12 base points for the win over a Class AAA school, plus five bonus points for UHS’s five wins. The Mohigans picked up an additional bonus point for John Marshall’s win Friday.
That gives them 73 total points and after coming into the week at No. 17 and one spot out of the WVSSAC playoff ratings, the Mohigans will jump Greenbrier East (62 points, one game remaining), Hurricane (59, one game remaining) and George Washington (56, one game remaining).
MHS will also pass No. 13 UHS, which will have 71 points when the new ratings come out Tuesday.
The Hawks are still in good shape to make the postseason, though they will have to wait and see how those other three teams perform this week.
It was a dreadful performance all around fore UHS (5-5) in the Mohawk Bowl, much to the chagrin of head coach John Kelley.
“I don’t know why teams went 4-6 and made the state playoffs last year,” he said. “I don’t think 5-5 teams should be in the playoffs. If this team wants to be in the playoffs, it has a lot of soul searching to do before then.”
It wasn’t just a lack of execution, it was a failure to stand up and fight against a cross-town rival that should have meant something special, especially considering playoff circumstances.
“I’m very disappointed by our effort,” Kelley said. “They wanted it more than us and they showed that from the beginning. I’m surprised by our lack of effort, but our guys just quit.”
MHS and UHS will have their bye weeks during Week 11, so they’ll sit back and see how everything shakes out.
The Cee-Bees, which were No. 18 in the Class A ratings coming into this week, couldn’t get any momentum against Notre Dame, falling to the Fighting Irish 57-0.
With no chance of moving up, C-B will have a tough hill to climb heading into this week against Madonna on Friday.
The Cee-Bees (5-4) did earn two bonus points with wins from Paden City and Conotton Valley (Ohio) to bring their total to 38, but Ritchie County, which was the No. 16 team and final team in the A playoffs, won and earned three bonus points to bring its total to 53 points.