Warriors repel Crusaders, 27-18
The Crusaders of Parkersburg Catholic stormed onto Warrior Field with lightning and thunder, but the Warriors of Pocahontas County repelled the football invasion, 27-18. The opening kickoff was delayed for nearly two hours because of lightning and the game was delayed again with a 30-minute lightning time-out in the second quarter.
Junior RB Kyler Doss fielded the opening kickoff on a bounce near the right sideline. Fellow return man sophomore RB Devin Rose dashed across the field and made a nice block, freeing up Doss to scamper through a gap 73 yards for a TD. Rose's extra point was good and the Warriors were up, 7-0.
Senior FB/LB Hunter Grimes made a nice tackle on the Crusader return and Catholic took over at their 29-yard line. Catholic got one first down but faced a fourth and five at their 41-yard line. The Crusaders attempted a fake punt but failed to convert, and the Warriors took over at midfield.
The Crusader defense played well on the next series and the Warriors were forced to punt. The snap sailed far over the head of punter Rose, who alertly picked up the ball but was tackled at the Warrior 22-yard line, where the Crusaders took possession.
On a second and 11 from the 12, Catholic RB Charles Schriner bounced off right guard, squeezed through a hole and found an open lane to the end zone. The extra point attempt failed and the Warriors retained the lead, 7-6.
Six-and-a-half minutes remained in the first quarter, but the teams traded punts for the remainder of the half. The Warrior offense made two first downs in the first half, one on a Crusader penalty. Doss was a workhorse in the first half and carried the ball 20 times out of 26 offensive plays. The Warriors were forced to keep the ball on the ground due to the inclement weather.
The Crusaders took the second half kickoff and lost a fumble on the second play from scrimmage. Pocahontas set up shop on the Catholic 35-yard line.
Rose scampered left for 12 yards to the 15 and followed up with another good rush to the 10. Doss took the ball on second down, followed a good lead block by pulling guard Brandon Gloshen and scored from 10 yards out. The extra point failed but Pocahontas extended their lead to 13-6.
On the kickoff return, Warrior LB Spencer McCoy hit the Catholic return man, stripped him of the ball and recovered the fumble. The Warriors had the turkey on the table at the Crusader 30, but could not capitalize and were forced to punt.
The Warrior defense held firm and it was three and out for the Crusaders. Rose made a nifty punt return all the way to the Catholic 35, assisted by a crushing block by Doss. A Catholic personal foul put the ball on the 20 for the Warriors.
On first down, Grimes smashed through the line and broke free on the right side for a 20-yard score. Rose's extra point was good - Warriors 20, Crusaders 6.
The Crusaders took the kick, made one first down, and punted.
Warrior return man Dillon Hovorka made a nice punt return to the Warrior 39, but Pocahontas lost a fumble on the first play from scrimmage. The Warrior defense came up big and junior LB Matt Arbogast sacked Collie on fourth down to get the ball back for PCHS.
The Warrior offense ran Doss three times and couldn't make a first down. Rose made a beautiful punt that was fielded on the 25 and downed at the 31.
Miraculously, the Catholics faced two fourth and longs and a third and long on the next drive but got out of trouble and scored.
Warrior tackle Derek Hamman sacked Collie for a six-yard loss on third down, but on fourth and 16, Collie completed to Romine for 17 and a first down to the Warrior 45. Facing fourth and 11 from the 46, Collie faked like he was dropping back to pass, then ran for his life all the way to the Warrior 28. On third and long at the 26, Collie dropped back and threw a rainbow to uncovered Mitch Davis, who caught the ball at the four and streaked into the end zone.
The Crusaders failed on the two-pointer but had narrowed the gap to 20-12.
With 6:36 remaining in the game, Catholic coach Jeff Campbell made the bold decision to make an onside kick. The kick rolled out of bounds at the 50, where the Warriors took possession.
Doss made 11 yards on the first play and 14 on the next to the Catholic 25. He scampered 25 yards into the end zone on the third play, but there would be no score. A holding call, far away from the action, put the ball on the 35.
Doss carried four times and the ball turned over on downs at the Crusader 25.
On third and 10, Collie scrambled, looking for a receiver, and ran instead, for 20 yards to the Crusader 45. Arbogast sacked Collie on first down for a five-yard loss, but on third and 13, the Catholics converted with a 15-yard pass to Payton Sturm. Collie completed to Romine to the 18 and, two plays later, threw an 18-yard TD to Davis.
The Crusaders had pulled within two and lined up for the critical two-point conversion. Collie kept the ball and dashed toward the end zone, but McCoy made a hit that spun Collie around and onto the ground just short of the goal.
Catholic tried the onside kick again but Grimes fell on it at the Warrior 44.
With two minutes left, all the Warriors needed was a first down to secure the win. But they got a lot more when Doss took the snap and scampered 55 yards for a TD. Rose's extra point was good.
The Catholics were down by nine but had no quit in them. They drove all the way to the Warrior 25 before turning the ball over on downs. Pocahontas ran out the clock to end the game.
Crusader coach Jeff Campbell said the size of the Warrior team was the main factor in the game.
"I think Pocahontas' size was a little bit of a problem for us," he said. "I think they wore us down a little bit and I think we wore them down at the end there a bit, but I think that's probably the biggest thing and we gave up too many big plays and they capitalized on it."
Warrior coach Mike Knisley said good blocking and solid defense were key factors in the win.
"We blocked better, we did, and again - Parkersburg Catholic is a very good team," he said. "The biggest thing that helped our offense was that our defense played assignment ball to begin the game. We didn't get in a deep hole there in the first half, get down by a couple scores, making us feel like we need to do a little extra throwing."
Knisley said the coaching staff wanted to try more pass plays, but the weather conditions favored the run.
"We would have liked to thrown some little things against them, but you know what - we just didn't feel comfortable," he said. "Wet ball, you know, especially when we know we can power run against teams when we get the opportunity.
The coach praised his team's defensive effort.
"I thought it was excellent," he said. We hit, we tackled well.
Pocahontas improves to 1-1 and Parkersburg Catholic falls to 0-2. The Warriors' next game will be against Potomac Valley Conference II rivals the Pendleton County Wildcats (1-1) on September 9, 7:30 p.m. at Warrior Field. The Wildcats shellacked Tygarts Valley 32-0 in week one, and lost a close one to Petersburg last weekend, 14-12. Game time forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies, scattered showers and temps in the low 60s.