South passes big test vs. Huntington

Patriots knock off Highlanders, 30-21

File Photo Parkersburg South’s Brandon Penn (1) carries the ball during a high school football game against John Marshall earlier this season at Erickson All-Sports Facility.

HUNTINGTON — Parkersburg South quarterback Brandon Penn lived up to his reputation.

The senior led the Patriots spread offense with 158 yards rushing and he threw for 148 as the visitors defeated Huntington High, 30-21, to spoil homecoming for the Highlanders.

“I told the kids after the game it was a signature win for our program and in regards to Brandon he just gets better every week and tonight it was good to see him play the way the did for all four quarters,” said Tanner. “This was the first time this season they have had to play all four quarters and they did well.”

Penn, who had accounted for 21 scores prior to Friday, threw a TD pass in the first period and also picked off a pass late to seal the win.

Parkersburg South, ranked third in Class AAA, improved to 6-0. Huntington falls to 3-2 and visits Hurricane next week. This is the first win for the Patriots against a team with a winning record.

“We do tell our kids their is some chatter about the teams we have faced and how they haven’t been really good opponents and despite that our kids have come out and taken care of business no matter who we are playing,” said Tanner. “We prepare the same way whether it is Huntington High or Ohio State and do everything we can to come out with a W.”

Devin Gaines scored twice for the Patriots, who have an open date next week. Gaines finished with a tough 65 yards on 19 carries.

“Devin is just a workhorse and something we told the kids this week was not to forget what got you from where you are at to now. We want them to focus on how to do things the right way and make things happen,” Tanner said.

In the first half, the Patriots used a kickoff return for a score to take a 21-14 lead at the break.

Moments after a Huntington score, Dylan Day fielded a ground ball kickoff, went up the middle and ended up going 77 yards for the score.

Blair had two scores in the first half for the Highlanders. The first was a 10-yarder in the first period and the second was a 6-yard run to even the score at 14-14. The senior at 109 yards rushing the first two periods.

Parkersburg South used the big play for its first TD. It was a 47-yard pass from Brandon Penn to Levi Rice. The other score was a 4-yard run by Gaines to give the visitors a 14-7 lead with 8:20 left in the second period.

“It feels great,” said Tanner. “Something we try to preach to the kids at the beginning of every week is we are 0-0 and now we are 1-0 and our kids showed a lot of resilience in this game. We had our back up against the ropes and some costly penalties but every time our kids made a play when we needed to.”

The Patriots recovered two Huntington fumbles in the first half. They also blocked a 30-yard field goal try to Nathan Young. Jackson had returned the kickoff from his 11 to the Parkersburg South 6 only to see the Patriots defense rise to the occasion as the block was by the middle of the line.

“There is a lot of talk about Brandon but we do have a lot of kids making a lot of different and timely plays,” said Tanner. “It is something that makes this team and these boys special. They are having fun and making plays when they need to. Special teams are a third of the football game and it is a goal of ours to win the special teams. You try to make big plays and anytime you can it can bust a game open.”

(Joe Albright contributed to this story).