Parkersburg High School rallies past rival Parkersburg South, 27-24

Photo by Jeff Baughan Parkersburg’s Tyler Moler moves past the Parkersburg South defense for a touchdown Friday during the annual crosstown rivalry game. With the 27-24 victory, Parkersburg High School clinches a home game in the first round of the West Virginia Class AAA playoffs.

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South played a football game Friday night that saw both squads give it their all, but the visiting No. 7-ranked Big Reds tallied the last two touchdowns to overcome the Patriots 27-24 at the Erickson All-Sports Facility to secure a home first-round Class AAA playoff game vs. No. 10 John Marshall next weekend.

The annual regular-season finale between PHS (7-3) and South (3-7) was anything but just a another game, as the No. 19 Patriots might have landed a playoff berth too with a win plus some help with the outcomes of some other games.

PHS’ Tyler Moler, who was a workhorse with 38 carries for 155 yards rushing and two TDs, started out by hauling the pigskin six times on the Big Reds’ short 29-yard drive to paydirt after Jake Johnson made a diving interception just 1:36 into the game.

Moler’s 5-yard scoring scamper for a 6-0 lead was followed by South marching 52 yards to the PHS 1, but couldn’t go any further and stalled at the half-yard line at 1:32 of the first quarter.

The Patriots got a break early in the second stanza, taking over at the PHS 27 after a shanked punt and eventually Ahmed Ali boomed a 43-yard field goal at 9:13 to cut the deficit in half at 6-3.

Photo by Jeff Baughan Parkersburg South’s Tyee Gibson, center, battles Parkersburg’s Seth Dailey for the football as Parkersburg’s Jake Johnson, left, and South’s Brett Hearn head toward the play. Parkersburg High School won the game by a 27-24 score.

South QB Brayden Mooney (16 rushes for 53 yards) then made his presence felt with runs of 15, 6 and 11 en route to the PHS 28, from where he found Nick Yoho all alone at the Big Red 15 and Yoho took it in untouched at 2:33 to move South in front at 10-6, where it stood at halftime.

Moler raced 28 yards on a 3rd-and-9 at the South 30 to the 2 to set up Kam Mace’s 3-yard scoring strike to Brenton Strange at 8:25 in the third period to have PHS go ahead 12-10.

Then Tyee Gibson ran back the ensuing kickoff 79 yards for a South score at 8:14 to have his team move back in front, 17-12.

On South’s next possession, Yoho, who finished with 15 carries for 108 yards, sped 34 yards to the PHS 14 and went 7 yards to tally another TD at 6:30 of the third to surge the Patriots into a 24-12 advantage.

A 39-yard pass from Mace (12 of 17 for 122 yards) to Shane Miller to the South 36 preceded seven straight Moler carries, culminated by a 3-yard TD burst at 1:20 of the third to move PHS closer at 24-19.

Then in the fourth, Moler again hauled the load downfield for PHS before a 19-yard TD toss from Mace to Strange, followed by two-point conversion aerial to Johnson propelled the Big Reds into a 27-24 lead with 7:06 to play.

South had one last threat, reaching the PHS 35 before Kionte Peacock intercepted at the Patriot 22 with only 4:56 left.

“When they (South) scored to go up by two touchdowns, I saw that look in our kids’ eyes that I saw all year when we got down,” said PHS head coach Mike Byus. “I just kept telling them to be patient, that we’ll get it going eventually and we did — prodding and picking until we found something that would work.”

“The adversity that these young men went through this year,” said South head coach Mike Eddy, “from start to finish in the season they had, the way they battled back and the way they played these last four weeks, they were a great football team.”

From an 0-3 start, “a lot of people gave up on them, but these kids never gave up on themselves,” said Eddy.