Capital claims victory over PHS

Parkersburg’s Nathaniel Steed catches a pass from QB Jake Johnson as Capital’s KJ Figures tries to tip it away. Photo by Chris Dorst, Charleston Gazette-Mail.

CHARLESTON — After jumping into a big lead early, Capital needed a couple of fourth-quarter touchdowns to pick up a 40-21 victory against Parkersburg on Friday night at University of Charleston Stadium.

The Cougars (2-1) had a 27-0 lead in the second quarter before the Big Reds were able to make it a six-point game with 21 unanswered points before Capital was able to close it out in the final quarter.

“We can be our own worst enemy sometimes, but it was really good to see our guys fight back tonight once they made a run,” Capital coach Jon Carpenter said. “That was the best thing tonight was seeing that our guys stayed together, we didn’t point fingers and start doing dumb stuff.”

Capital used its run defense to set the tone for the majority of the first half as the Cougars wasted no time taking control of the game early on.

The Cougars held Parkersburg to just 9 yards rushing on 35 carries for the night, and in the first half they stopped the Big Reds at or behind the line of scrimmage on 11 of 20 carries.

Even when Parkersburg began to find success throwing the ball, Capital was still able to come together down the stretch and come away with the victory.

“They did a good job of putting some stuff in that we weren’t ready for,” Carpenter said. “But we were able to do enough and make stops. All that stuff comes with the maturation process of a team.”

Junior quarterback Kerry Martin Jr. opened the game with a 4-yard touchdown run for Capital, giving the Cougars the only score of the opening period. They followed that with touchdown runs from Quieshan Gray and Kalai Clark before Martin connected with Deshawn Harper for a 40-yard touchdown pass to give Capital the 27-0 advantage.

But Parkersburg (1-1) began making its comeback attempt toward the end of the first half. Led by quarterback Jake Johnson, the Big Reds marched down the field and beat the clock by scoring on a 1-yard Johnson run as time expired in the first half.

Then the Big Reds opened up the passing game even more, scoring two touchdowns late in the third quarter on an 8-yard pass to Seth Dailey and a 69-yard pass to Shane Miller shortly after forcing a Capital punt.

“I’m proud of them. You could see we had some trouble with their speed, but we never quit working and clawing,” Parkersburg coach Michael Byus said. “Our kids showed a lot of heart and grit and they never gave up. That’s what you ask for as a coach.”

Capital was able to come up big with a response on the first play of the fourth quarter when Martin found his brother, Kerrion Martin, for a 55-yard touchdown pass to give the Cougars some more wiggle room. From there, Capital was able to use the running game with Kerry Martin and Gray to march down the field and sustain longer drives and eat time off the clock.

Kerry Martin connected with Harper again with 2:25 to play for a 28-yard touchdown to add another insurance score for the Cougars.

Kerry Martin finished with 275 passing yards and three touchdowns while running for 80 yards and another score. Gray added 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground while Harper caught four passes for 117 yards.

“People always talk about how athletic we are and things like that, but tonight we were able to sustain some drives and put points on the board,” Carpenter said. “To see us run the clock the way we needed to was good for our team. That was a huge thing for us.”

Johnson threw for 267 yards on 22-of-33 passing with two touchdowns for the Big Reds.