Even though their offense didn't score any more points, their defense changed the complexion of the game, getting some stops and forcing four second-half turnovers on GW's first six possessions, turning two into TDs.
"We challenged them at halftime and they responded,'' said Donnie Mays, the Black Eagles' first-year coach. "Like I told them, we're not into moral victories. We're too good of a program to buy into that. I appreciate the effort the kids gave. They had a lot of fun in the second half.
"We got too excited at the beginning of this game, and we let our emotions kind of carry into it, and we made a lot of terrible mistakes. We had some things in the passing game we worked on - our kids were running wrong routes, just a lot of confusion. It didn't help the fact that [GW's players] knew what we do offensively by our actual numbers that we call, when we call our plays in the no-huddle.''
Grier finished 14 of 32 for 201 yards, including a 7-yard scoring toss to running back A.D. Cunningham and also hit the end zone himself on a 3-yard run. Forrest caught five passes for 93 yards.
Alexander, a two-time 1,000-yard passer at SC who started the first five games for the Black Eagles last year, was hardly a factor, going 1 of 3 passing for 7 yards with one interception and running six times for minus-2 yards with a lost fumble. Riffe and Zach Malone each also lost a fumble for the Patriots in the second half.
"We had some trouble holding onto the football,'' Edwards said. "Sometimes you try to outsmart yourself, but those things happen.
"We really hustled tonight. The line on both sides of the ball did a fantastic job. We held their running game in check and I thought we forced them into the passing game. When you can hit big plays like they do, sometimes you have to be focused because it can be scary. They were perfect a few times.''
GW's ground game was practically perfect itself in the first half, with Riffe scoring on runs of 62, 1 and 1 yard and Jackson on carries of 69 and 19 yards.
"In the first half, they were more physical than we were,'' Mays said. "We weren't physical and we didn't want to wrap up. We challenged them at halftime and made changes with some personnel, and we got simpler offensively and defensively. I think we played a better half, even though we didn't put any points on the board in the second half. We had a couple turnovers and little mistakes.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.