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GAMEDAY: Parkersburg South faces OVAC foe Morgantown out of bye

MORGANTOWN — Coming fresh off a bye week, the Parkersburg South Patriots are 6-0 and ready for another Friday night battle on the road. The Morgantown Mohigans (1-6) enter this game with a lot to handle from the Patriots, as it’s business as usual for PSHS.

That was the message head coach Nathan Tanner gave to his team in the bye week, as all phases of the game are working well heading into this one. Quarterback Brandon Penn continues to add to his big 2019 season, and a big road win in Huntington further cemented his status as the real deal. His 156 passing yards in that win were overshadowed by his balanced 156 yards on the ground in the victory. Running back Devin Gaines cleaned up after his quarterback and notched two scores and 55 yards on the ground, as everything is going according to plan for coach Tanner’s leading man.

Penn’s 152.5 yards per contest is tops on the team, and Gaines is right behind him at 105 per game. Even then, deep-threat receivers for the Pats come in with that same business as usual set of expectations from their coach.

The top three wideouts on the team are all averaging double digits per catch, as Dylan Day leads the way with five scores and almost 16 yards per grab. Although Jake Hogsett and Levi Rice don’t have as many receptions as Day, they will still command respect from a Mohigan secondary with a lot of work to do. Rice’s 202 yards on 13 catches is good for 15.5 yards a game, while Hogsett is second on the team in receptions and yards with 220 yards due to 15 snags. Getting those top receivers ready to dominate is also on the agenda for Tanner’s staff.

“I think it’s a combination of both (our receivers being athletically-gifted and our runners spreading the field for them),” Tanner said of his receivers and their ability to get open. “I think whenever you can run the football successfully, it opens up your passing game. It’s a testament to our receivers, too. They work hard in practice just like everybody else.”

Top-tier defensive line play is needed against a couple running backs Tanner spotted in film. Luckily for Patriot defenders, Tuesday’s practice saw them focusing on specific defensive points of emphasis. Tanner believes they will be ready for the challenge of stopping Deondre Crudup and Preston Fox.

“Our emphasis today was on defense, and the kids really got after it,” Tanner said. “They showed a lot of effort and banged around a lot, it was really physical. (Fox) is their playmaker on offense. They try to get him the ball in a variety of ways. They’ll line him up at the slot and throw bubble screens, they’ll run jet sweeps with him. Every now and then, they’ll put him in at quarterback in a Wildcat formation. (Crudup) is about 250 pounds, and he’s a bruiser. Those kids are dangerous.”

A win would further place Parkersburg South among the elite in Class AAA, and it would also signify that the beat goes on. When asked how he felt about the reception of his team from the community, Tanner kept it simple and said, “When you’re winning, everybody’s happy and wants to be a part of this.”

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