Mason, W.Va. — Although the 2012 football Class A playoffs doesn’t officially begin until next week the Wahama White Falcons and Buffalo Bison seemingly began the post-season a week early Friday evening with third ranked Wahama rolling to a surprising 41-13 win over the 10th rated Putnam County eleven.
From the opening kickoff until the final seconds a huge senior night crowd at the Bend Area School witnessed the crucial grid competition between the two Class A rivals. The White Falcon win solidified the Bend Area teams grasp on the third position among the final Class A rankings and ensures WHS of at least two home dates during the post-season. Buffalo dropped its second consecutive outing and will tumble out of the top eight in the ratings race and will be on the road for its opening playoff encounter.
The Wahama victory was the fourth in a row over its Putnam County rivals and concluded the Falcons’ 2012 regular season with a perfect 10-0 regular season mark for the third year in a row. Buffalo dropped its second consecutive decision and falls to 7-3 on the campaign.
Zach Wamsley scored a pair of touchdowns while rushing for 145 yards in 20 carries while Kane Roush added another two scores and 97 yards on the ground to pace the WHS offensive attack. Crandal Neal added 84 yards on the evening with Trenton Gibbs scoring one touchdown and passing 16 yards to Austin Cole for another as the White Falcons quieted a lot of its critics that the Bend Area team plays a weak schedule in the Tri-Valley Conference.
Wahama fell behind by a 13-7 score midway through the second quarter before Coach Ed Cromley’s charges exploded for 34 unanswered points for the huge victory. The play of the Falcons’ offensive line experienced a phenomenal outing in allowing WHS to control the line of scrimmage and enable the Mason County team to rush for 331 yards on the night.
Juniors Zack Killingsworth, Joshua Haddox, Weldon Sparks, Tyler Nutter and Wesley Harrison along with sophomore Benny Youkers, sophomore Brent Larck and freshmen Jesse Hesson and Clayton Sines provided the White Falcons with the necessary front line thrust to propel Wahama to the crucial regular season ending triumph.
Buffalo gained an early 7-0 advantage with an 11 play, 71 yard drive that culminated in a 16 yard touchdown pass from Levi Jordan to Jordan Tucker late in the opening period. Wahama answered the call after gaining great field position following a 41 yard kickoff return by Roush to allow Wahama to set up shop at its own 47 yard line. Nine plays later Wamsley bulled his way in from three yards out with the senior running back also booting the point after kick to knot the score at 7-7 with 9:43 to play in the half.
Buffalo again began a long drive behind Jordan with the Bosons riddling the Falcon defensive seemingly at will. Jordan connected on five consecutive passes for 62 yards during the series before taking the pigskin into the end zone from three yards out with 4:49 left in the second canto.
Kane Roush then came up with what was likely the turning point in the game on the ensuing kickoff. Roush hauled in the kick at his own 15 yard line and broke free down the far sideline. Roush juked the final Buffalo defender at midfield and rambled the final 40 yards untouched for an 85 yard kickoff return. Wamsley added the PAT kick to give Wahama its first lead of the night at 14-13 with 4:45 to play in the half.
The White Falcons would tack on two more scores before the half concluded with Wamsley capping a 55 yard drive with a four yard run at the 1:05 mark. On the ensuing kickoff Austin Cole forced a Bison fumble with Crandal Neal falling on the loose ball at the Buffalo 31. Six plays later quarterback Trenton Gibbs was not to be denied when he found the end zone on a determined 13 yard run to extend the Bend Area teams lead to 27-13 with: 16 remaining in the half.
Wahama pushed its edge to 35-13 following the Falcons opening possession of the third quarter. Behind the running of Crandal Neal and Wamsley the White Falcons marched 69 yards in seven plays with Roush going the final three yards for the touchdown at the 9:16 mark. Wyatt Zuspan tossed a successful point after conversion pass to Colton Neal to strengthen the WHS lead.
The final score of the night came in the final period when Wahama began a time consuming drive at its own 28 yard line. It took ten plays to cover the distance with Gibbs tossing a 16 yard scoring strike to Austin Cole for the final points of the game and give Wahama a 41-13 gridiron win.
Jordan connected on 16 of 22 passes for 197 yards for Buffalo with Laythen Good grabbing six aerials for 76 yards. Gabe Garrison caught four Jordan passes for 65 yards with Jordan Tucker emerging as the Bosons leading ground gainer with 59 yards in eight carries.
Nine Falcon gridders completed their high school careers on senior night at the Bend Area school with Brandon Rickard, Benny Youkers, Louis Mendendez, Zack Wamsley, Austin Jordan, Crandale Neal, Justin Tillis, Trenton Gibbs and Austin Cole all performing for the final time in a regular season football contest at Bachtel Stadium.
Both Wahama and Buffalo must now await the final Class A rankings to be released on Sunday in order to find out who their respective first round playoff opponents will be. WHS should end the season at number three in Class A and host a first round game while Buffalo will fall to around the number 13 position with the Bosons being on the road for its opening round post-season contest.