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Midland slips past Spring Valley 28-26

ONA, W.Va. - David Gaydosz found yards tough to come by Friday night against an inspired, physical Spring Valley team, but the Cabell Midland star couldn't be kept penned up all night.

With two long runs, he essentially took down the Timberwolves. He had lots of help from his fellow Knights, but his 48-yard touchdown run and 57-yarder to set up another gave Midland a 28-26 victory in a thriller before an overflow crowd at "The Castle."

Top-seeded Midland (12-0) survived 155 yards by Spring Valley's Ryan George and 152 yards by Elijah Wellman, with Wellman scoring three times and George once on a  34-yard run.

Both teams scored four touchdowns, but Nicholas Boone blocked an extra point and Tyler Hayes stonewalled Wellman on a 2-point conversion with 6:48 left. After that, defensive lineman Cameron Gould led a charge that didn't give the Timberwolves (9-3) another chance.

But the highlight reel belonged to Gaydosz, who rushed for 179 yards despite having an early 58-yard TD run called back by a penalty.

Midland was down 20-14 after Wellman's 5-yard run, set up by consecutive George runs of 16 and 24 yards, and had to respond.

On third-and-5 at the Spring Valley 48, Wellman turned a toss sweep into a winding journey through the Wolves' defense. He appeared to be finally penned in inside the 10-yard line, but made a juke to change directions to the left.

Or so a defender thought. As quick as Gaydosz looked left, he went right instead for the score.

That gave Midland a 21-20 lead, and Spring Valley started driving again, thanks to a 22-yard pass from Tyler Brown to William Evans - a trick play in a game with just eight passes. But the Wolves committed a holding foul to negate a long George run, and Brown threw an interception to Stephen Matthews on third-and-18.

Midland took over on its 7 and picked up a first down to end the third quarter. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Gaydosz struck for his 57-yard run to the Spring Valley 17, pinballing his way through at least six frustrated defenders.

"Oh, man, if I would have cut it back one more time, I would have scored," he said. "I should have planted my foot, but I kept my legs moving. The guy grabbed my jersey and I kept my legs moving. These are my money-makers [points to legs], and I've got to take care of them."

Lowell Farley, who had his own 58-yard TD run early in the game, covered the final yard for his third touchdown, giving Midland a 28-20 lead with 9:30 left. Farley finished with 127 yards.

Wellman, committed to play at West Virginia, took over in a big way. With his team facing fourth-and-5, the 6-foot-3, 232-yard back bolted around left end for 42 yards, finally going down at the Midland 18. After Brown was bailed out on a fumbled snap, Wellman scored from 17 yards and made it look easy.

There was no question who would get the ball on the 2-point conversion.

"If I had to call that play again, I'd call it 10 times. I'd put it in [Wellman's] hands," said Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess.

But on this carry, Wellman never came close to getting those game-tying 3 yards. Hayes led the swarm of Knights, struck Wellman dead center and never let go.

"Defense played well," said Midland coach Luke Salmons. "They made plays when they had to, and that's how it is in the playoffs. You're not going to shut anybody out, and you've got to bend at times, and when you've got to make a stand, they made a stand."

No. 8 seed Spring Valley got the ball back with 4:12 left and went in reverse. That started with George getting belted for a 3-yard loss and Wellman being stopped for no gain on second down.

On third down, Brown tried a keeper and got tossed around by Gould in what looked like a human hammer throw. After a false start, Brown couldn't connect with Cory Hughart on a fourth-and-17 pass, though Hughart wanted a pass-interference call.

Midland advances to the semifinals next weekend to take on Morgantown, which will return to Cabell County after dispatching Huntington. Spring Valley, which started the season with losses to Midland and Huntington, came to a thrilling, agonizing end of the road.

"I just look at the beginning of the year, to what they did in this game, and those kids have come leaps and bounds," Dingess said. "For the most part, especially when we were on offense, we controlled the line of scrimmage and blocked them. That makes you feel good in a way, but that's a tough way to lose a ballgame."

Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or follow him at  twitter.com/dougsmock.

 

 


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