West Fairmont brings air show to Nitro

West Fairmont quarterback Kyle Allard (left) tries to get past Elkins’ Tyler Jackson (33) during the Polar Bears’ win over the Tigers earlier this season.

Life is good for West Fairmont’s Kyle Allard.

Whether he’s at home babysitting his three sisters — 6-year old triplets Anna, Leah and Sara — or tangling with his 13-year-old brother Jamie, the Polar Bears’ 5-11, record-setting senior quarterback finds time to put the football program back on the map.

The next step in his adventure comes Saturday at Underwood Field, when he brings his No. 6 Bears (9-2) to Nitro High for a Class AAA quarterfinal matchup with the third-rated Wildcats (10-1) at 1:30 p.m.

There is nothing strange about this game for either team, even if the appearance of two high-powered passing teams on the same playoff field is a rare occurance.

Allard has attempted more than 23 passes per game, while Nitro quarterback Michael Scott has tried more than 24 per game.

Allard has broken single-seas school and North Central Athletic Conference records for touchdown passes (29) and the school record for yards (2,380). He has completed 158-of-302 attempts for 2,380 yards with 29 TDs and only six interceptions.

Scott’s numbers — 167-of-272 for 2,700 yards with 23 touchdowns and 15 interceptions — are nowhere near the school records held by former Nitro star J.R. House, but the Wildcats’ success hinges on his performance.

He’s only throw four interceptions in the last five games after throwing seven in the first five.

Finally, the Nitro defense stands up all its linemen, while the Polar Bears have played against two teams — East Fairmont and Wheeling Park — with standing linemen.

Most of the eyes, however, will be fixed on Allard and the Bears, who have won eight consecutive games and scored more than 30 points in all but four contests.

Allard, a candidate for the Kennedy Award that goes to the state’s top player, has led West Fairmont to its first playoff appearance since 2000 in 2005 and first postseason victory since 1992.

He’s only been playing quarterback for a little more than two season, starting at running back at Miller Junior High and scoring more than 20 touchdowns.

Part of his development cane be attributed to former West Fairmont star QB Jarrod Ferguson, who is an assistant coach with the team. Ferguson threw for 1,801 yards and 23 TDs in 1992.

“I started as a wide receiver and running back as a sophomore and they moved me to quarterback the last game,” said Allard, who threw for 250 yards in that game, a 42-28 loss to East Fairmont.

“I thought I was just playing because we had other quarterbacks hurt, but after the game I knew I had a spot for the next couple years.”

He’s done nothing to waste the chance, passing for more that 1,500 yards as a junior but feeling as if his passing wasn’t where he wanted it to be.

That’s when the student with a 4.0 grade point average really did his homework.

“This past offseason, me, Ben (Kettering) and the other receivers got together a lot on our own and worked,” Allard said.

The 6-6 Kettering, Allard’s favorite target, has caught 65 passes for 893 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Drew Retton has 36 receptions for 462 yards and two scores. Adam Domico has 16 catches for 313 yards and four TDs.

Their chemistry is undeniable, even if that’s one class they didn’t have to take when they attended Miller Junior High together.

“I think familiar is the reason we’re playing so well together,” Allard said.

The innovative offense utilized by second-year coach J.L. Abbott has produced numbers and victories.

Tailback Jerry Kelly, who has 776 yards rushing despite missing three games, certainly has helped.

“If they stack the box to stop Jerry, we’ll throw the ball,” Allard said.

The Nitro offense has proven to be well-balanced as well. Tailback Chris Kirkpatrick has run for 1,151 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The leading receivers are Marcus Valentine (57 receptions, 948 yards, 7 touchdowns) and Josh Humphrey (44-698, 5), while tight end Hunter Hamrick has 18 catches for 291 yards and five scores.

The teams could be looking at a high-scoring affair, especially since the Wildcats, who had stepped up their defense as the season progressed, gave up individual Princeton’s Chris Belcher in last week’s 30-26 first round victory.

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