MARIETTA The skies supplied the lightning. Parkersburg delivered the thunder.
Following a 40-minute lightning in their season-opener with Warren Saturday night at Don Drumm Stadium, the Big Reds scored three touchdowns in the span of 71 seconds and defeated the Warriors, 51-40.
The delay occurred at the 8:51 mark of the third quarter and PHS nursing a 17-12 lead. When play resumed, PHS running back Chandler Hamilton received the handoff and raced 24 yards for the touchdown.
A little bit of trickery put the ball right back in the hands of the Big Reds as they recovered the onside kick. As they did to open the scoring, PHS quarterback Aaron Roberts hooked up with Dan Fox for a 35-yard touchdown completion.
Trailing 30-12, Warren didn't do itself any favors when Fox picked off a pass thrown by Warren quarterback Austin Klintworth and returned the interception 19 yards for yet another TD. Josh Roney's point after extended the Big Red advantage to 37-12.
PHS completed its 27-point third quarter when Melvin Stubbs scored on a 24-yard run. Warren's lone TD of the period was the result of a 10-yard carry by Andrew Henthorn.
Warren sliced the gap to 44-26 on Klintworth's 5-yard rush, but an interception by Preston DeBerry of PHS all but sealed the win at the 6:23 mark of the fourth quarter. Because on the Big Reds' ensuing possession, Roberts found the end zone from a yard out.
Parkersburg scored on its first three possessions of the game and built a 17-3 lead midway in the second quarter.
On just the fifth play from scrimmage, Roberts connected with Fox on a fly pattern for a 64-yard touchdown pass. The extra point put the Big Reds in front 7-0 with 10:09 still remaining in the first quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Warren put together a sustained drive and nearly reached midfield when Corey Burdette put a snafu in the Warriors' plans after sacking Klintworth for an 11-yard loss. Two plays later with Warren facing fourth-and-1 at the PHS 42, Andrew Nichols tackled Andrew Henthorn for a 1-yard loss.
That clutch play opened the door for another PHS scoring drive.
The Big Reds ran the ball eight straight plays before the drive stalled, but Roney connected for a 31-yard field goal with 2:46 remaining before the second quarter to extend the lead to 10-0.
Warren drove the ball to the PHS 4, but had to settle for Cole Wigal's 21-yard field goal.
The Big Reds' final points of the first half occurred thanks to Chandler Hamilton, who bounced off several defenders then cut toward the sidelines for a 33-yard touchdown run. Another extra point and the Big Reds led 17-3 at the 7:48 mark of the second period.
Turnovers then posed a problem for PHS as Warren answered with two scores before intermission.
Alex Miller's 52-yard punt for Warren went in and out of the hands of PHS returner Dylan Thomas and Warren's David Ryan recovered the fumble at the Big Reds' 14. Three plays later and Klintworth punched the ball into the end zone from the 1. The extra point kick failed and the Warrior deficit was eight at 17-9.
Ryan provided yet another game-changer with an interception on PHS' next series. With just less than two minutes left before halftime, the Warriors covered 57 yards in eight plays before settling for Wigal's 28-yard field goal as time expired.