Warriors pound the Bulldogs, 42-6
The Warriors hammered the Tygarts Valley Bulldogs, 42-6, to a roaring homecoming crowd Friday night. The squad performed admirably in the lop-sided victory, according to Warrior head coach Chris Sutton.
“I was pretty happy,” said Sutton. “Everyone played pretty good. We did great offensively and defensively. I mean, defensively, we held them to, I think, only three first downs.”
Sutton said he was cautious headed into Friday night's game. The team and coaching staff knew the Bulldogs were coming to Pocahontas County with 0-6 season record, but Sutton didn't want the team to be complacent.
“You know they're struggling this season, but you can't go in there thinkin' this team should be a breeze,” Sutton said. “I was kind of afraid they'd walk out there and next thing they know, they're in the middle of a football game.”
Sutton said he set different goals for the team to keep the guys focused.
“I said 'your goal needs to be no first downs in the first half' — things like that,” remarked Sutton. “I said 'we need to keep 'em scoreless, and every time we run the ball we need to get a first down.' I think puttin' focus on those goals and tellin' 'em, 'we're gonna run extra hills — we're gonna run a hill for each point that they score.' Doing things like that kind of helps motivate them and keep their minds set on what they're supposed to be doing in the game and not overlooking the other team.”
The Warrior defense set the pace early in the evening by holding back the Bulldogs during their initial drive. In the opening seconds of the game, the Warriors sacked Bulldog quarterback Owen Arbogast on the third down, ultimately forcing the Bulldogs to punt.
The Warrior squad snatched an early lead during the first quarter with strong rushing. Warrior Devin Rose ran for a 30-yard gain with a single-wing fake up the middle. Running back Kyler Doss contributed short yardage on the next play, followed by a successful pitch from quarterback Wes Felton. Rose ended the drive with a relatively uncontested touchdown run up the middle, followed by a successful extra-point attempt. Rose was flawless throughout the night with his extra point attempts, not missing a single one.
Rose shined again with a deep kick-off, and the Warrior defense held the Bulldog offense again. Tygarts Valley had one unsuccessful rush, was sacked again, and then missed a short screen pass, ending their drive with another punt.
Felton was stormed by the Bulldog kick-off team and the Bulldogs managed to recover the ball. They only managed to squeeze out a five-yard rush during their short drive.
Doss brought the crowd to their feet when he charged up the field in a 25-yard carry. Then again, only seconds later, when he danced around the Bulldog defense for a 75-yard long run, brought down just shy of the goal line. Fullback Spencer McCoy pounded the ball up the middle into the end zone on the following play, bringing the score to 14-0 in the first quarter.
Tygarts Valley started to show some signs of life with a decent 15-yard kick-off return and was brought down on their 35 yard line. They were stuffed on a rush attempt but managed to complete a short pass on the second down. Two carries produced little or no yardage and they lost yards after a pitch attempt was stymied by the overwhelming Warrior defense. After two more rush attempts and an incomplete pass, Tygarts Valley was again forced to punt the football.
Doss didn't give the Bulldogs a chance to regroup, rushing for a long touchdown carry on the very first play of the drive, bringing the score to 21-0 after Rose's third successful PAT.
Warrior Derek Hamman thwarted any chance of a successful drive from the Bulldogs when he recovered a fumble during the kick off at the 46 yard line.
McCoy carried the football up the middle, breaking tackles for a strong 20 yard rush. Felton connected with Rose on a completed pass for another 20 yards. McCoy rushed again up the middle for a short gain, followed by a short pass to Warrior Brandon Hamons. McCoy carried the ball up the middle again for a short gain, setting Doss up for a short touchdown carry on the following down.
The relentless Warrior defense sacked Arbogast again during the Bulldog drive, but Tygarts Valley was able to get a first down off a short carry. Felton snagged an interception when Arbogast tried to connect with a Bulldog receiver, leaving the scoreless Bulldogs down 28-0 headed into halftime.
After the Bulldogs kicked off, Felton broke several tackles with a 15-yard return. McCoy contributed another seven yards or so with a hard charge upfield. The Bulldogs did manage to sack Felton on the third down and forced the first Warrior punt of the night.
Rose's long punt left the Bulldogs with poor field position, but they managed a short rush and a successful screen pass for a first down. After a negligible rush attempt and another incomplete pass, the Warrior defense again forced Tygarts Valley to punt the football.
Doss, again, broke tackles for another 65-yard long touchdown carry the very first play of the Warrior drive.
After Rose contributed another long kick-off, he followed up by sacking Arbogast for a 10 yard loss. Another QB sack forced the Bulldogs to again punt the football.
After the return, Rose rushed for a 20-yard gain. Then snagged a long pass from Felton for another Warrior touchdown.
The Bulldogs scrambled to get their game together, but were stymied by the encroaching Warrior defense. After two unsuccessful rush attempts, and a tipped pass from Warrior Andrew Morrison, Tygarts Valley punted the ball for the sixth time.
Rose and McCoy produced about eight yards each on separate carries, but the Warriors ended their drive with a long punt. PCHS forced a fumble and recovered the football, just yards from the Bulldog's goal line. McCoy pounded the ball up the middle for a short gain, and Warrior Cade Walker was brought down just inches from the end zone. The Warriors went for the touchdown on their fourth down, but the Bulldogs finally managed to hold them, forcing a turnover.
Tygarts Valley's Adam Cassell started to get the Bulldog crowd excited with an 18-yard rush, the longest carry of the evening at that point. After another short rush, Arbogast was able to connect with Cassell for the team's first touchdown of the evening. The Warrior defense thwarted their two-point conversion attempt, leaving the score at 42-6.
The Bulldog defense started to liven up during the Warrior's drive and even managed to sack Felton.
The Warriors were forced to punt and Bulldog P.J. Lanham was able to put more points on the scoreboard with an exciting 55 yard touchdown carry. Tygarts Valley went for another two-point conversion but were unable to pull it off.
Felton scrambled for 25 yards after the kick-off return, but after an incomplete short pass and a couple of unsuccessful rush attempts, the Warriors were forced to punt with only seconds on the clock.
“Overall I was very pleased, it was a great game,” Sutton said. “A good homecoming game — you always get a bigger crowd for homecoming.”
The Warriors towered over most of the Bulldog squad. Sutton said Tygarts Valley had several freshmen and sophomores on the field.
“Tygart's Valley really only has a varsity squad,” explained Sutton. “They've only got nineteen kids, so they really don't have much of an option.”
Sutton and the coaching staff are already setting their sights on next week's showdown against Man.
“Man is gonna be a really tough team. I expect them to play us a bit closer, but if we have good ball control, if we block well, we tackle when we should, then we should be looking pretty good for gettin' another win,” he said. “Man runs a defense that's similar to what we've seen throughout the season, so it's not something that's strange to us.”
Sutton said Man holds a 2-6 season record, but that doesn't mean anything.
“Man is 2-6 but they play six AA teams, a class above 'em, and one AAA team, two classes above them. So they have an extremely tough schedule,” he said.
Friday night's win over the Bulldogs leaves the Warriors with a 3-5 season record.
The Warriors are scheduled to host the Man Hillbillies Friday night at 7:30 p.m.