WAYNE, W.Va. - Nathan Spurlock had a simple plan Friday night.
"I just kept my head up and looked for the holes and they were there and I hit them as hard as I could,'' said the Wayne junior running back, who started in the backfield for the first time this season against Robert C. Byrd in the Class AA semifinals.
Indeed, the 5-foot-8, 180-pound Spurlock, who started in place of his brother Brandon Spurlock, found running room time and time again in churning out 208 yards on 24 carries as the No. 1 Pioneers played keepaway from the No. 4 Eagles in an 18-0 victory. A crowd of about 3,000 attended at Pioneer Field at Wayne High School.
Wayne (13-0), the defending state champion, will take on No. 2 Keyser (12-1) in next week's state championship at Wheeling Island Stadium. The Golden Tornado defeated Bridgeport 42-14 in the other AA semifinal Friday.
The Pioneers weren't at full strength against RCB (11-2) without senior Brandon Spurlock, who had rolled up 1,859 yards and 25 touchdowns, and sophomore Mason Hodge, who had 532 yards and 10 scores. They were sidelined by injuries suffered in last week's quarterfinal victory.
Hodge, though, started at his linebacker position and punted but didn't carry the ball.
Nathan Spurlock and sophomore quarterback Grant Ferguson, who added 111 yards on 12 attempts on the ground, picked up the slack as Wayne gouged the Eagles for 423 yards on 60 rushing attempts.
"It's really all just teamwork,'' said Nathan Spurlock. "We practice hard, we run over players over and over and just keep going at it. The line did great. We worked together.''
Spurlock said his older brother Brandon gave him encouragement all week and before the game.
He was like, 'You can do this,' '' said Nathan, who has started at linebacker all season but played only sparingly in the backfield as a blocking fullback.
"I said, 'I feel it. I'm going to hold onto the ball and run as hard as I can.' I play with my heart. I was nervous at first, then I got used to it. I went out there and had fun.''
"I had no doubt what kind of effort Nathan would put into it,'' added Wayne coach Tom Harmon. "The kid's got the heart the size of a lion.''
Wayne's defense forced RCB to punt seven times and held it to four first downs and 56 yards of total offense. Eagles sophomore Ben D'Annunzio and senior Tre Cox, a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, could only manage 23 and 5 yards, respectively.
"We were just sterling,'' said Harmon of his defense. "We took away everything they wanted to do. We didn't let them push us around up front even though we were outsized by 40 or 50 pounds per man.