John Marshall outlasts Parkersburg, 42-35

Photo by Tom Perry John Marshall’s Nick Coulter (15) carries the ball as Parkersburg’s Zion Atkinson (1) tries to bring him down during Friday’s Class AAA playoff football game at Stadium Field in Parkersburg.

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg High let loose with its passing game in the second half, but could never quite overtake visiting John Marshall in falling 42-35 in a first-round Class AAA football playoff game Friday night at Stadium Field to end its season.

The No. 7-ranked Big Reds finished at 7-4, while the No. 10 Monarchs improved to 8-3 and will play in the second round next weekend.

After a first half that concluded in only an hour with John Marshall up 14-7, both teams turned it up in the second half with PHS quarterback Kam Mace throwing four touchdown passes. But it seemed like whatever the Big Reds did, the were always still behind.

PHS got off to a good start, rolling downfield in just seven plays to score on a Seth Dailey one-yard TD run for a 7-0 lead at 10:25 of the first quarter.

No one put up points after that until the second stanza though, as John Marshall grinded out a 10-minute, 99-yard, 25-play touchdown drive to paydirt at the 5:42 mark on a three-yard burst by Nick Coulter for a 7-7 tie.

In all, Coulter and Charles McCool combined for 408 rushing yards for the Monarchs, with McCool having 249 on 32 carries.

After recovering a PHS fumble, John Marshall tallied on a 15-yard scoring scamper by Coulter again at 4:10 to make it 15-7 at the half.

And to begin the second half, Dereck Hess’ 20-yard TD run upped his team’s lead to 21-7 at 9:13 of the third quarter.

But the PHS aerial attack was just getting into gear, as Mace found Jake Johnson in the flat and Johnson took off, eluding defenders and then breaking free to race into the end zone for a 41-yard score to make it 21-14 at 7:30 of the third.

Then it was JM’s turn again, with a 18-yard scoring dash right up the middle by McCool at 1:59 for a 28-14 advantage.

The next tally was by PHS as Johnson gathered in a deflected pass downfield and took off to the races, sprinting 68 yards for a TD at 1:40 of the third to pull within seven points again at 28-21.

Then came the fourth with two more TDs as each team took turns. First, Coulter intercepted and on offense, McCool took the pigskin 49 yards to the house at 11:35.

Dailey followed, hauling in a 29-yard TD toss from Mace at 9:02 for a PHS score before Couler tallied again, fighting his way 10 yards to paydirt at 2:20.

PHS, though, got a TD with just 1:42 to play on a 14-yard scoring strike from Mace to Brenton Strange before the Monarchs recovered a Big Red onside-kick and ran out the clock on PHS.