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GAMEDAY: Golden Eagles out to ground the Patriots

Patriots’ offense has caused trouble for a lot of teamsBy JOSH HUGHES Staff Reporter PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg South Patriots (9-1) are back in the Class AAA football playoffs as the No. 4 seed, and this time, they’re gearing up for a run with some of the biggest expectations they’ve had in over a decade. When first-year head coach Nate Tanner arrived on the scene on the Southside, he installed an Air Raid attack that’s helped the team average the most points through the regular season in program history (43.3). Skill players all around the ball can be thanked for that feat, but the offense runs through its senior signal caller, Brandon Penn. He capped off a regular season to remember with a big game against rival Parkersburg to help with his case for the Kennedy Award. When the Patriots host South Charleston at 7:30 p.m. Friday, he will be front and center for all the action. Not far behind him in terms of ball-carrying is Devin Gaines holding down the fort at tailback. All-State candidates on the defen

Photo by Joe Albright Parkersburg South’s Marshall McPherson handles Greenbrier East lineman Tyler Boggs during a regular-season win for the Patriots. McPherson and company open playoff action against South Charleston at 7:30 p.m. Friday inside the Erickson All-Sports Facility.

PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg South Patriots (9-1) are back in the Class AAA football playoffs as the No. 4 seed, and this time, they’re gearing up for a run with some of the biggest expectations they’ve had in over a decade.

When first-year head coach Nate Tanner arrived on the scene on the Southside, he installed an Air Raid attack that’s helped the team average the most points through the regular season in program history (43.3).

Skill players all around the ball can be thanked for that feat, but the offense runs through its senior signal caller, Brandon Penn.

He capped off a regular season to remember with a big game against rival Parkersburg to help with his case for the Kennedy Award.

When the Patriots host South Charleston at 7:30 p.m. Friday, he will be front and center for all the action. Not far behind him in terms of ball-carrying is Devin Gaines holding down the fort at tailback. All-State candidates on the defensive line in Jeffrey Tucker and Braxton Amos pose a threat for an SC offense looking to find any weakness they can. Coach Tanner likes the way his team matches up with SCHS, as he’s prepping for this clash.

“I think we match up pretty well. They have a lot of athletes all over the field. There’s definitely going to be a test on Friday, but I like our kids going into it,” he said. “This will be a great experience for (younger players). Anytime you can go to the playoffs and host a playoff game, it’s definitely a good thing. We want them to get their feet wet and get acclimated. It’ll be a good situation.”

In case the Black Eagles (4-6) have to rely on the offense to stay in the game, they have a young quarterback already showing signs of promise in his high school career.

Trey Dunn’s 1,636 passing yards give the Eagles another dimension to their game plan. Head coach Donnie Mays expects nothing short of a full team effort, but on the topic of Dunn, he was especially encouraged with how much he’s developed into a leader with a sharp work ethic.

“Well, Trey’s a hard worker, and while the rest of the kids are packing up their bags to go home, he’s staying after and lifting. Whenever we go to film study, it’s nothing for he and I to sit back and knock out a half hour of work. He does a really nice job of identifying what he needs pre-snap. Finishing plays is where his growth needs to continue, but he’s going to be really good.”

A win for the Patriots will make history for them. PSHS could make it to the second round for the first time since 2011 when Jon Bolen coached them to a quarterfinal appearance against Morgantown.

Before then, you have to go back to the year they won a Class AAA state title (2003 under Mike DeVol) to find the last time they advanced past the first round.

If everything goes according to plan, the Patriots would host the winner of the Musselman-Parkersburg game.

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