Favorable results around the region and Weaver’s 49-20 victory over Ashville left the Bearcats in that position, but they were somewhat subdued.
When Weaver coach Daryl Hamby gathered his team together and told his Bearcats that they had done so, there was no confetti, no fireworks, just a quick collective cheer.
If you ask how, it’s not an easy thing to figure out.
While a win over Hokes Bluff would give Weaver the fourth spot outright. So, too, would a loss.
Weaver sits at 4-3 in the region and Hokes Bluff 3-4. A Hokes Bluff win would make both teams 4-4, along with Saks.
Due to three-way tiebreaker (e.) winning percentage against the No. 3 ranked team; Susan Moore is that No. 3 team, and Weaver scored a 24-21 win in Week 1.
Marshall Dunn, a senior who played through the darker days, explained that his team expects to create more memorable moments in the near future.
“This year our main goal was making the playoffs,” Dunn said. “But now we’re going to try to get to the championship game.”
Perhaps that is overly optimistic for a team who is a year removed from not winning anything, but with the dominant rushing game Weaver displayed against Ashville, the confidence is understandable.
Any conversation about the Weaver running game will always begin and end with Quinnata “Toot” Jones. This night was no different, as the Bearcats scored six touchdowns on the six drives in which Jones played.
The senior, who puts on video game moves and piles up video game numbers, had another huge game, as he rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns despite playing only one series after halftime.
It became so easy for Jones, he received the Peyton Manning treatment. New England Patriots’ coach Bill Bellichick was roundly criticized last year when he went for it on fourth-and-2 in his own territory against Manning’s Indianapolis Colts. His reasoning was that Manning was going to score no matter where he got the ball.
Ashville must have felt the same way about Jones and the rest of the Weaver rushing attack, as they followed a similar pattern on multiple occasions as early as the second quarter.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the plan completely backfired as the Weaver defense rose to the challenge. The resulting short fields led to the Bearcats scoring three touchdowns — two by Jones — in 2:02.
But there were plenty of plaudits to go around — Brandell Massey added 99 yards and a touchdown — and Hamby said they start with the offensive line.
“What really, in a way, helped us, was that Tevin Heath, one of our best offensive linemen, went down, and we thought it was going to be a season-ending injury,” he said. “Thank God it wasn’t, but it helped our other linemen step up, which gave us more depth, and they’re doing a great job.”
Even as the Bearcats proved to be much more than a one-man team, Ashville did prove to be something of a one-trick pony.
That one trick was quarterback E.J. Moss, who Hamby said he “wouldn’t be surprised to see playing on Saturday,” led two quick touchdown drives on the Bulldogs first two possessions.
But despite his best efforts, Moss was going to have to score on virtually every possession just to keep the game competitive. When the Weaver defense made some adjustments, the Bearcats were able to turn a 14-7 Ashville lead into a 42-14 Weaver lead.
From there, it was simply about watching the clock run down and cheering for Piedmont and Glencoe.
“Nobody should go 0-10,” Dunn said. “We didn’t have Toot on the sidelines and a lot of things went against us. But now, we’re playing good and we’re ready to go.”