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Football First Take: Wheeling Central Again Advances to Class A Title Game

Bianconi, Henry run wild for top-ranked Maroon Knights.

November 26, 2011
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Class A Semifinals

(at Wheeling Island Stadium)

No. 1 Wheeling Central 37, No. 5 East Hardy 14

WHEELING -- Senior running back Gino Bianconi ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries as top-ranked Wheeling Central (12-1) advanced to the Super Six for the ninth time since 2000 with a rout of previously unbeaten and fifth-ranked East Hardy (11-1) at Wheeling Island Stadium. The Maroon Knights will face No. 2 Williamstown (13-0) for the West Virginia Class A state championship at 7 on Saturday night.

Bianconi scored on runs of 51, 4 and 4 yards. Sophomore quarterback Parker Henry added 21 carries for 162 yards and a touchdown, and also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Nolte to start the scoring.

Bianconi (177-1,756-26td) and Henry (178-1,236-17), neither of whom played in a chippy fourth quarter Saturday, have combined for 355 carries, 2,992 yards and 43 touchdowns this season. Wheeling Central was whistled for 16 penalties for 160 yards, while the Cougars racked up 92 yards on nine flags.

Fact Box

West Virginia Class A Semifinals

(at Wheeling Island Stadium)

No. 1 Wheeling Central 37, No. 5 East Hardy 14

East Hardy 6 0 6 2 14

Wheeling Central14 14 9 0 37

W Nolte 21 pass from Henry (Cottrell kick)

W Bianconi 51 run (Cottrell kick)

E Miller 72 pass from Foltz (pass failed)

W Bianconi 4 run (Cottrell kick)

W Henry 17 run (Cottrell kick)

E Foltz 9 run (pass failed)

W Bianconi 4 run (kick failed)

W Cottrell 31 FG

E Safety, Skovron blocked punt out of end zone

Rushing: East Hardy 17-24-td (Hinkle 2-5, Foltz 14-10-td, Miller 1-9). Wheeling Central 58-357-4td (Bianconi 19-166-3td, Henry 21-162-td, Biega 6-(-2)m Keane 6-5, Gompers 5-21, Burch 2-5).

Passing: East Hardy 10-26-173-1-1x (all by Foltz). Wheeling Central 3-8-39-1-1x (Henry 2-6-33-1-1x, Biega 1-2-6-0-0).

Receiving: East Hardy10-173-td (Skovron 2-2, Beck 1-9, Miller 2-99-td, Hinkle 5-64). Wheeling Central 3-39-td (Nolte 1-21-td, Keane 1-12, Gompers 1-60.

First Downs: East Hardy 9 Wheeling Central 19

Fumbles-lost: East Hardy 3-1 Wheeling Central 2-0

Penalties: East Hardy 9-92 Wheeling Central 16-160

East Hardy quarterback Kollin Foltz, who entered the game leading the state with 35 touchdown passes and having thrown for more than 8,000 yards in his career, was harrassed all day by the Maroon Knights defense. Foltz completed 10 of 26 for 173 yards and a touchdown 72 yards to Jamie Miller and was intercepted once.

The Cougars were held to 24 yards on 17 carries. Leading receiver Joshua Parker was held without a catch.

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