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South wins in road thriller

No. 3 Patriots now 7-0 with 35-28 win

Photo Provided by Dominion Post Parkersburg South’s Brandon Penn (1) runs with the ball after a fake to teammate Devin Gaines (22) during a high school football game against Morgantown Friday night. South won, 35-28.

MORGANTOWN — Two weeks in a row, it took until the last possessions for top 10 Class AAA schools to knock off the Morgantown football team, but in the end, the Mohigans just haven’t been able to get over the hump.

That’s been the case the entire season for MHS, and it came to a head Friday night in a 35-28 loss to No. 3 and unbeaten Parkersburg South (7-0). Leading 28-27 to open the fourth quarter, the Mohigans gave up the lead quickly on Patriots running back Devin Gaines’ fourth touchdown of the night.

MHS (1-7) had three opportunities to tie it in the final frame, but failed to score on any of its possessions.

“You know, it’s the consistency again, unfortunately,” coach Matt Lacy said. “We’re not quite there, but I thought the guys did a good job responding at halftime — I thought we played well in the first half but I thought we played even better in the second. We’re just one or two plays away from having a couple of these. I’m not into the moral victories, but like I told these guys, I’m so proud of the way they responded.”

The ball hasn’t bounced in favor of the Mohigans much at all this season, and it started Week 1 at Parkersburg in a 6-point loss where a comeback attempt fell short. Missed field goals and turnovers were the story Week 2 in a 3-point loss at Bridgeport.

The next month was filled with blowouts to Fort Hill (Md.), Linsly and Musselman, but MHS also had its lone win against Hedgesville.

But on Oct. 10 against Wheeling Park, the Mohigans appeared to finally get back on track. Trailing 28-13 in the fourth quarter, though, Wheeling Park scored 21 unanswered points to escape with a 34-28 win.

MHS, again, struggled to seal the deal.

Following Friday’s loss to Parkersburg South, Lacy sees the obvious improvement — it’s a matter of putting all of the pieces together for the final two games at John Marshall and in the Mohawk Bowl against University.

“We just want to win football games and every game we play,” he said. “We’ll watch the film and see what adjustments we need to make. If we continue to practice like we have, I have no doubt we’ll break through.

“It’ll be worth the feeling these guys will have when that get that ‘W.’ It’ll be rewarding for them in the end.”

Preston Fox was the best offensive threat for MHS, finishing with 165 total yards (94 receiving and 71 rushing). Quarterback Gunner Latimore struggled to find consistency on his throws but did have 164 yards and a touchdown pass. He also had 68 yards on the ground.

Gaines was outstanding for the Patriots, finishing with 214 yards on 23 carries to go along with his four scores.

“We focused all week on the little things and not to get unfocused just because it was a bye week,” he said. “It’s taken us two weeks to prepare for Morgantown. I knew I had to come out here and show them what I have — it was a statement game for me. I just wanted people to notice me, work hard and show them what I got.”

The highlight of the night for the Patriots was a 90-yard run by Gaines in the first quarter. He started right but once he ran into traffic, he cut left and dragged MHS defenders along the way as he burst down the sideline for the score.

Parkersburg South will host Greenbrier East next Friday.

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