Parkersburg Big Reds take down Marietta Tigers, 45-10

Photo by Jeff Baughan Marietta High School’s Cyrus Rhodes, left, attempts to tackle Parkersburg High School’s Brenton Strange during Parkersburg’s 45-10 win over the Tigers Friday at Stadium Field.

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg High was happy to be home.

The Big Reds returned to Stadium Field Friday for the first time since the season opener against St. Albans and came away with a dominating 45-10 victory over Marietta High.

The Big Reds (2-2) totaled 440 yards of offense and forced three turnovers on defense for a complete overall performance.

“Our kids have been playing hard and flying to the football,” said first-year PHS head coach Mike Byus. “I thought we set the tone our first three or four drives. Our offense kept making mistakes but our defense really flew around and got some good hits in there on them early. I think that set the tone.”

After Tyler Moler rushed for a 26-yard touchdown on the Big Reds’ opening possession, two of Parkersburg’s next three drives resulted in interceptions by Marietta’s Kail Hill. A 40-yard field goal by John Mannix cut it to 6-3, but it was nearly all PHS from there as the hosts outscored Marietta 39-7 the rest of the way.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Parkersburg High School students set off noise makers and confetti poppers after the first tackle was made Friday night during the Big Reds’ win over Marietta High School at Stadium Field.

Mace finished 14 for 18 passing for 242 yards and three touchdowns, shaking off the early turnovers.

“I told him, ‘Just trust yourself and turn the ball loose.’ The quarterback has to have a short memory,” Byus said.

Brenton Strange’s 34-yard touchdown run at the 5:34 mark gave Parkersburg a 14-3 lead. That’s when things spiraled out of control for Marietta as the Big Reds added a 15-yard touchdown pass from Mace to Shane Miller and a 26-yard scoring run from Moler before halftime to make it 28-3.

“We had some mental mistakes, but even with that it was still 6-3 midway through the second quarter,” said Marietta head coach Jason Schob, whose team dropped to 3-2. “I thought we felt sorry for ourselves later on and they made a couple big plays. The good thing is at least we responded. In the mid-third quarter on to the fourth, we had a couple really long drives. We kept fighting and battling. I said ‘I can take losing as long as we’re trying and giving the effort we need to.”

Strange, who finished with 101 total yards, scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter on passes of 9 and 55 yards from Mace.

Dominic Vanfossen, who finished with 110 yards on 27 carries for Marietta, finally found the end zone for Marietta on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Corbin Alkire to make it 42-10.

Christian Axman’s 35-yard field goal in the final period put the finishing touches on the win for PHS.

Parkersburg controlled the line of scrimmage offensively, finishing with 198 yards on 27 carries as a team. Moler led the way with 114 yards on 12 rushes.

“Kids did a good job up front,” Byus said. “Coach (Zach) Nolan’s a hell of an offensive line coach.”

Brandon Braham, Tey Peacock and Seth Dailey all had interceptions for the Big Reds, whose pass rush pressured Alkire (8 for 19, 72 yards) consistently.

“Our defensive coaches are doing a heck of a job,” Byus said. “Coach Murray (Mace) is teaching those kids how to take on blocks and how to tackle.”

Marietta has lost two games in a row after starting the season 3-0. Giving up big plays has been a thorn in the Tigers’ side lately.

“That’s sort of been the theme the last two weeks,” said Schob, who will prepare the Tigers for a home game against New Philadelphia next week. “We’re having a person in position, we’re just missing tackles. That’s part of football, but that’s an area we probably need to focus on.

“We’re going to have make sure we get our work boots on and get back after it.”

For Parkersburg, Jake Johnson was Mace’s top target with 117 yards on five catches. The only weak spot in the Big Reds’ game Friday was penalties, as PHS was flagged 12 times for 120 yards. Byus also would like to see the run defense improve just a bit going into next week’s matchup with Wheeling Park.

“Coming in, I felt like (Marietta) would get some dinks and dunks on us in the passing game,” Byus said. “But our biggest focus was stopping the running game and (Vanfossen). You saw in the second half he popped a couple runs. We’ve got to clean that up a little bit, but it’s nitpicking. They did a heck of a job, overall.”