Cougars claw Warriors, 30-14
The Pocahontas County Warriors traveled to Baker on September 16 to challenge the powerhouse East Hardy Cougars on their home turf. The Cougars, last year's Potomac Valley II conference champions, have a dangerous passing offense and a first-team, all-state QB to lead it.
The Warriors had to play a nearly perfect game to skin the cats in their home lair, but it was the Cougars who would play mistake-free football and chalk up a 30-14 victory.
The Cougar stands were packed with a rowdy homecoming crowd and a large contingent of Warrior fans made the nearly three-hour drive for the contest.
The Warriors took the opening kick and lost a fumble on the third play from scrimmage. The Cougars took over on the Warrior 45 and faced a fourth and nine at the Warrior 21. Cougar senior QB Kolin Foltz completed to WR Josh Parker to the two, and RB Dustin Hinkle rushed in for a two-yard TD at 7:34 in the first quarter. The extra-point kick was good. Cougars-7, Warriors-0.
The Warriors picked up a first down on their next possession, but were forced to punt. East Hardy took the ball at their 48-yard line.
PCHS defensive back Kyler Doss broke up a sure TD catch with an excellent defensive play in the end zone, and DB Dillon Hovorka did the same a few plays later. LB Hunter Grimes stopped Hinkle in his tracks when the back attempted a rush up the middle. But the Cougars scored on a three-yard Foltz keeper at 1:15 in the first quarter. The extra-point kick was good. Cougars-14, Warriors-0.
On the next Warrior possession, PCHS drove 36 yards to the Cougar 35, with good rushes by Doss and Grimes. On third and six, the crafty Foltz intercepted a Warrior pass and returned it to the Cougar 36, where East Hardy set up shop.
The Cougars got a big play when Foltz completed to Parker for a first down to the Warrior 30. PCHS DB Seth Painter broke up a pass in the end zone, but Foltz completed to Parker on the next play for a six-yard TD. The extra-point kick was good. Cougars-21, Warriors-0.
The Pocahontas defense shut down East Hardy for the remainder of the half, but the Warriors were unable to score.
Pocahontas won the second half, 14-9, but the rally was insufficient to overcome the first half deficit. The Warriors did not lose their fighting spirit and maintained their composure in an unfriendly atmosphere to score two second half touchdowns.
On their first possession of the second half, East Hardy took more than five minutes off the clock and scored a field goal, increasing their lead to 24-0.
The Warriors made a nice drive on their first possession of the second half, consuming nearly five minutes, but culminating in a two-yard Doss TD rush at 2:19 in the third quarter. Doss rushed in for a two-point conversion. Cougars-24, Warriors-8.
East Hardy responded a few minutes later with a four-yard Foltz TD rush at 11:47 in the fourth quarter, but PCHS DL Zach Cassell blocked the extra-point kick. Cougars-30, Warriors-8.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Doss broke free for an eight-yard TD rush, but the two-point conversion failed. The final: Cougars-30, Warriors-14.
The two turnovers proved to be the difference in the game for the Cougars. East Hardy scored on both PCHS errors and won by two scores. The Warriors played mistake-free football in the second half and gave the Cougars more than they could handle. The PCHS linemen played well on offense and defense and defensive backs Doss, Hovorka, Painter and Matt Arbogast played well against an elite passing team.
For the Warriors, Doss rushed 33 times for 139 yards, an average 4.2 yards per carry. Grimes rushed five times for 38 yards, an average of 7.6 yards per carry, and lost a fumble. Arbogast caught two passes for 35 yards. QB Skylar Knisley was 4-10 with 43 yards and an interception.
For the Cougars, Hinkle carried 10 times for 48 yards. Foltz was 19-32 passing for 268 yards and a TD.
Pocahontas falls to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the Potomac Valley II conference. East Hardy improves to 3-0, overall and conference. The Cougars occupy first place in the PVC II and the Warriors, fifth place.
Pocahontas plays a home game this Friday evening against the Richwood Lumberjacks. The Jacks are 1-3, having defeated Midland Trail last Friday, 44-8. Richwood lost their first three games to: Webster County, 34-8; Greenbrier West, 42-6 and Fayetteville, 28-14.
Kickoff for the PCHS homecoming game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Warrior Field. Game time forecast calls for mostly cloudy skies, a 40-percent chance of showers and temperatures in the 50s.
EHHS, Hinkle, eight-yard TD rush, 7:30 (1st); Foltz extra point.
EHHS, Foltz, three-yard TD rush, 1:115 (1st); Foltz extra point.
EHHS, Parker, eight yard catch from Foltz, 6:44 (2nd); Foltz extra point.
EHHS, Foltz, field goal, 6:50 (3rd).
PCHS,Doss, one-yard TD rush; Doss two-point conversion.
EHHS, Foltz, four-yard TD rush, 11:47 (4th).
PCHS, Doss, eight-yard TD rush, 6:25 (4th)
Final score: Warriors-14, Cougars-30.