CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Draven Riffe barely knows the George Washington High School fight song, sung by the Patriots at the conclusion of each football game.
Patriot fans sure know the name Draven Riffe by today.
The senior running back - a transfer from Van who spent his first two years of high school at Scott - ran for 250 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries Thursday night, leading a bruising Class AAA No. 8 Patriots (1-0) running attack in a 34-27 win over No. 6 South Charleston at Steve Edwards Sr. Field.
"We learned it the other day," Riffe said with a nervous laugh after his GW debut, which spearheaded a running game that chewed up 512 yards on 55 rushing attempts.
Riffe was one of three GW ball-carriers to eclipse the 100-yard mark in the mutual season opener. Senior Jacob Jackson carried nine times for 131 yards and junior fullback Austin Blake - subbing in for an injured senior Zach Malone - carried 12 times for 106 yards.
Riffe took his first carry of the season and raced 62 yards for a touchdown on GW's opening drive. The hosts never trailed, though it wasn't until an overwhelming second quarter that they put themselves in position to actually win in a rout.
"The only thing I have to say, really, is that we win with our offensive line," Riffe said. "Our offensive and defensive lines, really, our big guys. Without them, it would have been a whole different game."
South Charleston (0-1) answered each of GW's first two scores - both by Riffe - with touchdown drives of its own, but when Riffe scored his third TD on 1-yard run with 7:17 left in the half, SC had no answer.
"You just have to get a hat on a hat," SC first-year Coach Donnie Mays said. "We couldn't do it tonight. It's discouraging, because it's a simple game. We made some adjustments and some personnel changes at halftime, but we got too far behind."
George Washington led 34-14 at the break.
GW chewed up yards in chunks in the first half and continued to do the same after halftime, but mistakes allowed SC to creep back into the game.
Jon Alexander, who had transferred to GW from Hargrave Military Academy after leaving South Charleston midway through the 2012 season, didn't throw a pass until less than 4 minutes left in the first half. His third pass, with 11:40 left in the fourth quarter, was intercepted by former teammate Marquel Hampton and returned 92 yards for a touchdown that cut GW's lead to 34-27.
The GW defense made sure the Black Eagles never got any closer. After having some success in the first half throwing the football, SC quarterback Kentre Grier found his passing lanes less frequently in the third and fourth quarters. He finished by completing 15-of-32 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice - both times by Riffe.
Grier threw just one interception in 5 1/2 games as SC's quarterback a year ago.
"They've really done a good job of jelling. They've bought into the process that we're having, and it is a process," GW Coach Steve Edwards Jr. said of his team. "We're building a new team and building a new identity. They're doing a good job with it, so I'm really tickled to death for him tonight.
"I'm really happy with the line. They did a great job for a bunch of guys who haven't been together for a long time. There were some nice holes to run through."
George Washington returns to action next week at Ashland (Ky.) Paul Blazer, while South Charleston plays its first home game of the season when it plays host to St. Albans.
South Charleston 7 7 6 7 - 27
George Washington 7 27 0 0 - 34
GW - Draven Riffe 62 run (Reed Deer kick), 9:44
SC - Kentre Grier 3 run (Jacob Gordon kick), 3:08