POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. - For much of the day, Greenbrier West's mammoth defense had bottled up and frustrated Wahama's trademark rushing game.
But when the White Falcons absolutely, positively had to move the ball late in the game, they finally managed to do it.
Kane Roush scored on a 10-yard run with 5:02 left in the game, capping a time-consuming drive helped along by a fake punt that put the finishing touches on a 21-12 victory over Greenbrier West in a Class A quarterfinal Saturday.
"We couldn't get them off the field on that one drive,'' said Greenbrier West coach Lewis McClung. "They made the plays on that drive and kept the drive alive.''
The win sends the No. 3 White Falcons (12-0) into next week's semifinals against Magnolia.
Quarterback Trenton Gibbs added two scoring runs for Wahama and a handful of big plays both passing and running.
The sixth-seeded Cavaliers (10-2) scored on the second play of the fourth quarter to whittle their game-long deficit to 14-12 and seemingly had captured momentum.
When do-it-all Malik Boatwright booted the ensuing kickoff into the end zone and forced Wahama to set up shop at the 20, there was no indication the White Falcons would do anything with the ball.
At that point, they had registered just six first downs and their vaunted ground game - led by a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Roush and fullback Zack Wamsley - had managed only 81 yards.
But Wahama stuck with it and flipped the momentum to its favor, racking up first down after first down on what turned out to be a 15-play, 80-yard march that chewed 6:38 off the clock. The White Falcons notched six first downs on the possession, which ended on Roush's TD burst that helped bump the lead to two possessions at 21-12 late in the game.
Fourteen of the 15 calls were running plays, and the lone pass fell incomplete.
"It's something we needed to do,'' said Wahama coach Ed Cromley. "We talked to the kids about accomplishing that. It helped, too, that we were a little slimmer than they were, and I think we were in better shape. I can't fault a 300-pound guy for getting tired. I've never carried 300 pounds around, and I think that might have played something into it.''
Two key runs highlighted the drive. First was a 12-yard bootleg by Gibbs on third-and-3 at Wahama's 27 to get the initial first down. But six plays later, the White Falcons appeared ready to punt the ball back on fourth-and-6 from the West 44.
That's when Roush, the punter, again got creative. He took the snap and rolled right on a rugby-style-punt look, then took off for the right sideline. He appeared to be trapped, but got a clearing block from Wamsley and picked up just enough for the first down.
"Basically,'' Roush said, "[Cromley] told me, 'If it's open, take it if you want it. If you can't, punt it.' ''
What made the move even bolder was the fact that Roush came up well short of a first down on a fake punt in the second quarter.
"We run it a lot in practice against the scrub team,'' Roush said, "and there wasn't really [much hesitation to show it again].