PARKERSBURG - No. 1 Huntington (7-0) came to Stadium Field Friday night and showed why the Highlanders must be considered a severe threat when the Class AAA playoffs begin in November, racing past the host Big Reds by a score of 55-14 on Homecoming Night.
Senior Nick Tubbs paced a trio of running backs that eclipsed the 100-yard mark, finishing with 166 yards on only five carries. Huntington finished with 447 yards on 35 touches as Paden Christian chipped in with 118 on nine carries and Charles Crawford added 105 on seven totes of the pigskin.
Conversely, the Big Reds rushing attack was missing two of its leading weapons and finished with only 79 yards on 44 carries. Sophomore Noah Weaver led the way with 41 yards on 14 carries while junior Chase Shank added 34 yards on 10 tries.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg's Chase Shank is dragged down by Huntington's Matthew Shaver, center, and Arick Nicks Friday night at Stadium Field. The Big Reds lost, 55-14.
The game was close through the first seven minutes.
Parkersburg took the opening kickoff, but was unable to move the ball. Senior Kyle Foster got off a 44-yard punt that pinned the visitors on their own 27 with 10:55 showing on the clock. Two plays later, the Big Reds got their first break of the game when Austin Brown recovered a fumble at the Highlanders' 33.
With the momentum shifting into their favor, PHS appeared poised to take advantage of their MSAC foe's miscue, but seven plays later were once again forced to punt the ball away.
Taking over at their own 20, the Highlanders would need only three plays and 90 seconds to tally their first score on the night-a 76-yard pass from Clark Wilson to Charles Crawford with 4:55 showing on the clock. Zach Stevens added the PAT and Huntington had the lead for good, 7-0.
The visitors would score on two of their next three possessions to take a 20-0 lead before played was stopped with 8:41 remaining in the first half when a bank of lights failed. The Highlanders would double that margin with 15 seconds left in the frame when Christian raced 60 yards to paydirt. Stevens' second successful PAT made it 14-0 before the Big Reds had garnered a first down on offense.
Huntington would add two more scores in the second quarter, despite a short delay when a bank of lights in one end zone went down, one on a 70-yard run by Nick Tubbs and a 13-yard scamper by Wilson.
Parkersburg, which played without the services of seven starters, kept the game close thanks to a pair of miscues by their guests. The second one, a muffed punt by the Highlanders' Tubbs gave the Big Reds a first-and-10 at the Huntington 14 with 1:42 remaining until the intermission.
Parkersburg would not let this opportunity pass it by as a fourth-and-3 run by Aaron Roberts resulted in a first-and-goal at the HHS 3 and, on the next play, Josh Trembly's 3-yard pass was hauled in by Stephen Dailey in the back of the end zone for the touchdown with 1.8 seconds left in the half. Josh Roney added the PAT and the Big Reds went into the locker room trailing by 27-7.
That would be as close as the score would get as Christian would score on an 18-yard run, Tubbs would score twice on runs of 3 and 94 yards and Crawford would add a 77-yard score as the Highlanders would build a 55-7 cushion with one quarter left to play.
Parkersburg, which returns to Stadium Field at 7:30 p.m. next Friday to take on George Washington, was able to send the hometown fans away with a touchdown as Roberts connected with Dailey on a 43-yard flea-flicker with 7:48 left in the game.
But, it would be too little, too late for the red and white as they dropped to 2-5 on the season.