WILLIAMSTOWN - Complacency can't surface if Williamstown wishes to continue its dominance over Tyler Consolidated in a high school football season-opener scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday in Kidwell.
In seven previous meetings, Williamstown coach Terry Smith has never lost to the Silver Knights. The streak features three shutouts, including one in each of the past two seasons.
Since taking a 14-10, second-quarter lead in a loss at Williamstown in 2009, Tyler Consolidated has failed to score in 10 consecutive quarters against the Yellowjackets.
Photo by Michael Uhl
Williamstown senior Alex Rauch is a returning two-way starter on the Yellowjacket line. Williamstown travels to Kidwell to meet Tyler Consolidated in a high school football season-opener at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Despite that domination, Smith is making sure his troops have the kind of intensity they lacked in scrimmages against Caldwell, Belpre and Liberty (Harrison).
"In our scrimmages this year, I didn't think our guys were real enthusiastic," Smith said. "The guys who have been around the longest didn't seem too fired up, but I hope they are for Friday's game.
"We tend to get this tunnel vision where we want to get to the playoffs - we get ahead of ourselves. We've got to take it week by week."
Williamstown returns several players who were recognized on the Class A all-state squads during last year's 13-1 season. The list includes first-team linemen Avery Goff and Chris McDuffy, along with second-teamers Nick Meadows (center) and Garret Butler (kicker).
Nursing a bruised foot, Goff remained on the sidelines for last Friday's scrimmage in Clarksburg. The 6-foot-3, 287-pound senior has not missed a game since becoming a starter two years ago and is expected to keep that streak intact against Tyler Consolidated.
"He wasn't thrilled about sitting out against Liberty (Harrison), but we were thinking about him for the long run," Smith said.
Jake Tracewell is another familiar face returning to the starting lineup at quarterback and defensive back. Smith is impressed with the junior's football IQ.
"I would say its off the charts as far as I'm concerned," Smith said.
Joining Tracewell in the backfield are three newcomers - Dakota Watson, Trace Hart and David Hastings - seeking to emerge as the lead ballcarrier. The Yellowjackets must fill the void created by the graduation of Trey King, who led the Mid-Ohio Valley with nearly 1,800 yards on the ground.
King opened the season with 183 yards rushing and three touchdowns in Williamstown's 50-0 victory at home against Tyler Consolidated. In that same game, five two-way starters for the Silver Knights were sidelined with injuries.
With their move to Class A, combined with the fact that 17 starters return, the Silver Knights expect to be more competitive. Coach Smith sensed that improvement watching Tyler Consolidated's scrimmage last week with Robert C. Byrd.
"They really played hard," Smith said. "They seemed like they were enthusiastic."
Manning the controls at quarterback for the second straight season is Tyler Consolidated senior Hunter Lemasters, who received honorable mention where all-state consideration was concerned. The only other representatives from the school were second-team linebacker Evan Cline and honorable mention pick Slade Dillon (lineman) - both of whom graduated.
Williamstown enters the contest ranked No. 2 in the Charleston Daily Mail's preseason poll after finishing runner-up to state champion Wheeling Central last year. Since losing at Wirt County 13-7 on Oct. 15, 2010, the Yellowjackets are riding a 13-game, regular-season winning streak.
Tyler Consolidated seeks to improve upon a 1-9 showing under coach Rob Caldwell.