Prep football: GW's Switzer savors home finale
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The George Washington offense took over at its 40-yard line with 3:52 remaining in Friday's 41-14 win over Lewis County in the Class AAA playoff quarterfinals.
With the Patriots leading by 27, a reserve unit trotted onto the field, led by sophomore running back Clayton Anderson and junior quarterback Tanner Sorrells.
Ryan Switzer was not with them. After capping his night with a 12-yard touchdown run on GW's previous possession, the 2011 Kennedy Award winner and North Carolina recruit pulled off his helmet, looked into the crowd and waved, smiled and made his way to the sideline.
And so ended the home playing career of the most decorated player in school history.
"It's important, and it's really nice," Switzer said of the ability of his class to play its final game at Steve Edwards Sr. Field with such success. "The seniors have put in so much work for this."
The Patriots (10-2) are the No. 3 seed in the Class AAA playoffs, and will travel to No. 2 seed Martinsburg (11-1) for a semifinal game to be played at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Switzer, who has spent much of his senior year fielding petty heckling from opposing players - and at times coaches - in various media forums as well as the player's own Twitter account, continued to let his play do the talking for him Friday. He carried the ball 18 times for 180 yards and four touchdowns, and on defense intercepted a pass and returned it 65 yards for another TD.
"I had my UNC coaches here, all my family came in. It's just a really special situation," Switzer said. "I'm just proud we could get the win."
Switzer's eminent departure from high school ends an era for GW in more than one aspect.
As a freshman, Switzer was a starter on the first GW team to play a full season at the school's on-campus field. Fellow senior Dustin Crouser, who is out for the remainder of the season after suffering an ACL tear against Capital on Oct. 19, also started as a freshman strong safety in 2009.
In four years under the leadership of Switzer and Crouser, the Patriots were 23-4 at home, and suffered two of those losses in Switzer's freshman season, and one when he was not in the lineup this year after suffering a concussion a week earlier.
"This is home to us. All of us guys have been so blessed with a great coaching staff, a great community behind us," he said.
"These fans deserve it, these seniors deserve it, to go out on top.
"We ain't done yet."
Switzer's stats in the win give him 2,256 yards and 31 rushing touchdowns on 184 carries in 2012. In 14 games in 2011, the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder ran 298 times for 2,796 yards and 40 TDs.
Switzer missed the majority of two games early this season. His yards per carry average increased from 9.4 in 2011 to 12.2 in 2012.
He had 45 total touchdowns as a junior, and has scored 39 this year.
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PLAYOFF REMATCHES of regular season games have gone in favor of the regular season winner 75 percent of the time.
Of eight such games, only regular season losers St. Marys and Lewis County have turned the tables on the postseason.
This week's semifinals will see only one rematch of a regular season game. Class AA No. 3 Bridgeport (9-2) plays at No. 2 Keyser (11-1) at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
The Golden Tornado held the Indians to one first down in a 25-0 win on Oct. 26 in Keyser.
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MORGANTOWN'S 35-14 victory at No. 4 seed Huntington on Friday night ended a 15-year road losing streak in the postseason for Coach John Bowers' Mohigans.
In fact, it was Morgantown Coach John Bowers' first road playoff win, which doesn't include state championships in 2002, 2004 and 2005 played at Wheeling Island Stadium - a neutral site.
Morgantown (10-2), which plays at top-seeded Cabell Midland (12-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a Class AAA semifinal, had lost seven consecutive playoff games on the road.
The school's last road win in the postseason was a 31-12 win as a No. 14 seed, beating No. 11 seed Greenbrier East in 1996.