Red-hot Eagles advance in playoffs

Greg Mast
Wellsville sophomore Nash Money follows the blocking of Wellsville senior offensive lineman Colby Stephens (55) for a big play in Friday's playoff victory over Rossville.

Wellsville is used to winning football playoff games. The Eagles have a rich history playing in four state championship games and more than 30 state playoff appearances.

Eagles missed the playoffs last year and struggled out of the gate this season, losing the first three games.

Wellsville caught fire after a two-week break because of COVID-19 quarantine. Welsville won four of its past five games after Friday’s 28-22 playoff victory over Riverton in Wellsville.

Wellsville (4-4) plays state-ranked Colgan (8-1) Friday in Pittsburg.

“They are the real deal,” Wellsville coach Mike Berg said. “We know they are athletic. They have a big offensive line. Our kids will not back down from anybody.”

The Eagles enter the game playing top-notch football.

“They are playing Wellsville Eagle football,” Berg said. “We have a coaching staff that has been here a long time. They have taught me about it. Our kids have bought in. We struggled early in the year and had to regroup. They believed in what we were teaching them. Now it is paying off.”

Wellsville returned to power football. Berg, who coached several years at Baldwin, knew first-hand of Wellsville’s punishing style.

“My teams would come home battered and bruised,” Berg said. “That is the philosophy we are taking. We want to be a physical football team.”

Wellsville took it to Riverton, bottling up its high-powered offense and ran the ball behind a dominating offensive line.

“Their offense puts any defense in a bind,” Berg said. “They play power football, have reverses and play-action pass. Our kids were always in the right spot.”

The Eagle offensive line opened big holes all game.

“We asked them to do so much.,” Berg said. “Riverton knew we were going to run the ball. They had nine guys in the box. We were still able to execute. Our backs ran hard. It was a total team effort.

“Our game plan was clock management. We had to keep their offense off the field.”

Berg said the players are having fun.

“They enjoy each other and they enjoy playing together,” he said. “They don’t want this to end. They are playing as a team. You can’t be satisfied with what we have done. You have to keep getting better every week.”