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Written by: David Burnworth on Sunday, December 5th, 2021
The Rebels and Yellowjackets both left everything on the field in this one with both teams coming up with some of the hardest jits I have seen all year long. The biggest difference in this one was Gus Morrison, who had a monster game. He rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns and caught five passes for 44 yards and a score. His offensive line was as good as they could have been as they made things look way too easy for the super talented player. The team effort led the Rebels to the school’s first-ever state football title.
The Rebels got things started with a 13 play, 67-yard drive that needed two fourth-down conversions the drive was capped off with a six-yard Morrison run. Ethan Haught was able to run in the two-point conversion run from his quarterback slot to make this an 8-0 game. The Yellowjackets strong rushing game would slowly work the ball downfield with Maxwell Molessa capping off the drive with a seven-yard run to cut the Rebels lead to one, with 0:36 seconds left in a very competitive opening quarter.
Colton Melrose came up big for the Yellowjackets defense when he pounced on a Haught fumble. The offense would not waste the present presented by their hard-nosed defense as they worked the ball down to the two-yard line where Rickie Allen eased his way into the endzone making this a 14-8 game. Being on the field I can say that the Rebels sideline really showed no panic as they found themselves down.
Undeterred by his fumble Haught and the offense went on a ten-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Haught throwing a strike to Marlon Moore from seven yards out to lock this one at fourteen. In championship games as everyone who follows sports know making mistakes can put you so far behind the eight ball you might not ever recover and that is exactly what would happen in this one.
Allen would cough the ball up on the first play of the ensuing possession with Morgan Knight making the recovery for the Rebels, with 2:22 left in the half. The Rebels would work the ball down to the three-yard line but found themselves facing a fourth and goal. Morrison would catch the ball in the endzone with Haught making the nice throw. The same combo teamed up again for the two-point conversion to give the 22-14 lead.
The second half got started with Ritchie County perfectly working an on-side kick leaving the loud crowd on the Yellowjackets side ghostly quiet as if they could not believe the haunted event that had just taken place. The Rebels would need just four plays to score again, with Morrison doing the honors as the lead grew to 28-14. The Yellowjackets gave their fans hope when they narrow the gap to 28-21 when Molessa worked his way into the endzone with 2:45 left in the third.
The make it break it drive for both teams would see the Rebels reel off a gut-wrenching eight-play, 55-yard drive that Morrison capped off with a seven-yard score to make this a 34-21 with 11:27 remaining. One thing Morrison did in this one was read his blockers to get to the corner quickly then turn on his speed to gain important chunks of yards.
The last touchdown in this one came when Morrison rushed in from ten yards out, he then capped off his scoring for the day by catching the two-point conversion pass to make this a 42-21 game. Haught would go 8-12 good for 90 yards and he rushed for 32 yards. Gus Morrison rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns and caught five passes for 44 yards and a score. For Williamstown, Molessa rushed for 120 yards and two scores, while Allen gained 90 yards on 16 carries.
This was my second time seeing each of these teams. Ritchie County is 2-0 in those games, while the Yellowjackets drop to 1-1.
I want to think everyone involved with the WVSSAC for not only allowing myself and our photographer Jason to cover this game, as well as both of the other games, and to say thank you for the media trailer and to all of those working inside of it. The food was great and the coffee was endless.
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