By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
Robert C. Byrd jumped out to an early lead and that was all she wrote, as the Flying Eagles came out out with a 42-12 victory over East Fairmont Friday night at East-West Stadium.
Byrd (4-3), which usually tries to pound the ball on the ground, came out of the gate firing on all cylinders against the Bees (1-5) .
“We slowed (their running game) down after we had to adjust and move some kids around,” East Fairmont coach Bill Haddox said. “We planned on them running the ball, but they threw the ball well, also.”
Ben D’Annunzio, who’d been out most of the year with a broken collarbone, returned for the Flying Eagles and provided a spark early in the game.
He gained 21 yards on the ground on four carries and caught three passes for 31 yards in the first half. He would leave the game in the second quarter, though, and would not return.
But the damage was already done.
“We weren’t really expecting to face him, but that didn’t make a big difference,” said Haddox. “Our biggest problem was their strength. That’s the feedback we got being on the sidelines.Every kid said, ‘Man, they’re strong.’”
Byrd quarterback Julian Marino had a bigger role than normal, as he completed nine of 13 passes for 112 yards and two touchdown tosses, one in each half, before exiting the game late to give way to the younger guys.
Byrd would get first-half scores from Anthony Helms and Elias Grant on the ground and one from Marino to Alex Banko en route to a 21-0 halftime lead.
Grant would finish with 72 yards on 19 carries and the lone score.
“We tried to take the ground game away so they would have to throw,” Haddox said. “They threw it real well, but we didn’t cover them real well.”
East Fairmont, led by quarterback Jake Delaney, gained only 39 yards in the first half to Byrd’s 210.
“Their secondary was good,” Delaney said. “They covered our receivers well, and they just stuck on them. Usually I can scramble out and find someone, but I couldn’t tonight.”
Delaney had 47 yards on the ground, but a few negative plays kept the Bees to such a low number.
Delaney would finish with 48 yards on the ground and eight of 16 passing for 47 yards with a lone interception late in the game.
Of his use of his legs during the game, Delaney said coach Haddox told him, “If it’s open, run.”
East Fairmont would get its first touchdown with 7:35 remaining in the game, when Scotty Shroyer took an option pitch from Delaney 16 yards in for the score.
“Scotty just knows how to play football,” Delaney said of his teammate. “Neither of those touchdowns were supposed to be pitches, but he just makes things happen.”
RCB would finish the game off with its ground attack, including a touchdown from fullback Juwan Jones-Wright and freshman Brandon Cook.
Shroyer would add another late touchdown and finished with 23 yards on the ground and the two touchdowns. He also caught six passes for 35 yards, pacing the Bees’ offense. Ronnie Mills added 50 yards rushing on two carries in his second week filling in for the injured Matt Hopwood.
“We have to do what we do and just do it better,” Haddox said. “We just try to keep improving each week.”
The Bees fell to 1-5 and will play Preston next week at home.
Email Matt Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.