Aug. 23, 2018 at Morgantown: Game
Mohigans Top Big Reds, 45-35
Game Statistics / Game Photos
MORGANTOWN – A horrible start followed by an incredible second quarter was not enough as Morgantown held on to post a 45-35 season-opening win over Parkersburg in the West Virginia Kickoff Classic here Thursday night.
Falling behind 17-0 in the first quarter, the Big Reds proceeded to score 28 unanswered points in the second period and looked to be on their way to an impressive debut for the 2018 season.
But a 90 yard kickoff return touchdown by the Mohigans’ Jace Whesell not only stopped the momentum but turned it around completely with just 26 seconds left before halftime.
Still leading 28-24, PHS received the second half kickoff but was called for holding on the return and wound up starting from its own eight yard line. Three plays later an interception and 37 yard return by Preston Fox gave Morgantown the ball on the Big Reds’ three-yard line and quarterback Cameron Rice quickly ran it in for the score that put the home team up for good, 31-28.
The Big Reds turned the ball over on downs on its next possession and Morgantown put together a 64-yard drive to go up 38-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
PHS cut the margin to 38-35 with 10:23 remaining thanks to a 17-play drive that was culminated on a six yard touchdown pass from Jake Johnson to Braeden Mason. Johnson rolled left and found Mason in the end zone just between two defenders.
But Morgantown was able to seal the victory with a 65-yard drive that took nine plays and ate 4:33 off a dwindling clock that PHS could not take advantage of with Morgantown running the final 10 plays of the game.
After a 37 yard kickoff return to state the game, Morgantown drove 53 yards on eight running plays before Rice passes to Fox for the touchdown. The Big Reds proceeded to fumble the ball away on their first offensive play and the Mohigans responded with a 29 yard field goal by John McConnell to make it 10-0.
The Big Reds punted and again Morgantown drove for a score, going 55 yards on six running plays for a 17-0 lead with 1:18 left in the initial quarter.
But PHS, playing without standout receiver Brenton Strange, rallied with four straight touchdowns. The first came on a 30 yard pass to Dylan Shaver with 9:44 left in the half.
An interception by Kionte Peacock gave the Big Reds back the ball on the Morgantown 37 and Tyler Moler then turned in a highlight film run for a touchdown in which he ran over, around, and spun away from virtually the entire Mohigan defense.
Then came a blocked punt by Jeremy Walls with Justin Waybright picking up the ball and returning it 39 yards to the 18 for the Big Reds. Four plays later Moler scored from the five on a more conventional run to make it 21-17.
Another interception, this one by Hayden Morris, set up the next PHS points, a 17-yard pass from Johnson to Shaver for a 28-17 lead with just 39 seconds left in the half.
But then came the kickoff return up the left sidelines to stop the momentum.
The second half saw PHS have trouble on offense as Shaver went to the bench with a shoulder injury and the absence of Strange and Shaver meant the primary target was 5-foot-6 Mason, who caught five passes for 59 yards.
Johnson completed 11 of 21 passes for 125 yards and three scores to go with one interception. He also ran for 70 yards on 12 carries. Moler finished with 151 yards rushing on 22 attempts as PHS had 347 yards in total offense.
Morgantown, which had 336 yards in offense, got 124 yards from Ty Konchesky while Rice ran for 48 yards and passed for 84 more.
Gage Fiore led the PHS defense with 12 unofficial tackles.