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PHS scratches Marietta

Big Reds run past rival Tigers by 14 points

Photos by Duane West Parkersburg High quarterback Bryson Singer runs between Marietta’s Bryson Chavez (17) and Blake Pritchett during the Big Reds’ 34-20 win over the Tigers Friday night at Don Drumm Stadium.

MARIETTA — Keenan Curry’s 85-yard pick-6 late in the first quarter put visiting Parkersburg ahead for good here Friday night inside Don Drumm Stadium as the Big Reds defeated Marietta, 34-20, in the 116th meeting between the two programs.

Tony Munos’ touchdown grab on a fourth-and-goal at the 4 play from Reece Gerber and Dillon Meagle’s extra point had the Tigers up 7-0 after the game’s opening drive.

However, the Big Reds answered right back with a 15-play, 83-yard scoring drive culminated by Carter King’s 14-yard touchdown reception from Bryson Singer, who had game-highs of 21 rushes for 205 yards. It was 7-7 with 3:44 left in the first after Casey Stanley’s extra point.

Although the red and white forced a punt, Curry was stripped on the return by Colton Sites and teammate Donavon Wheeler recovered. Two plays later, disaster struck for the 1-3 Tigers of head man Jason Schob when a Gerber pass was picked off by Curry as he made a couple of defenders miss and then sprinted down the Big Red sideline to paydirt.

“I wanted to make a play. I thought I had room on the bounce, but they closed in on me,” Curry said of the punt return. “My coaches and my teammates told me to make a good play and to make up for it. (On the pass) I was being patient like my coaches taught me.

Parkersburg High’s Aaron Kupfner tries to stay upright as Marietta’s Blake Pritchett delivers a hit Friday night.

“I was thinking he was going to catch it and I was going to smash him, but the ball popped up and I caught it. I ran by like two defenders and looked up and it was all green. We never know when we are going to play because of this COVID stuff so we play every game like it’s our last.”

PHS, which improved to 2-1 and is tentatively scheduled to play host next Friday to Cabell Midland, pushed ahead 21-7 with 3:59 left in the half via a Singer 18-yard TD scamper.

Marietta managed to answer before the break. Munos had a big 60-yard catch-and-run before hauling in a 7-yard touchdown pass from Gerber. MHS, which welcomes in Weir next Friday evening, had the extra point blocked for the 21-13 halftime deficit.

Xadrian Snodgrass, who rushed 18 times for 109 yards, lost a fumble on the first drive of the second half for PHS.

Zach Bartlett recovered and the Tigers were in business following a 38-yard pass from Gerber to Tyson Shaffer, who finished with nine catches for 86 yards.

Despite having it first-and-10 at the Big Red 14, Marietta turned it over on downs. A big part of that was a Justin Waybright 11-yard sack of Gerber on third down.

On the very next play, Singer took off out of the shotgun, followed a block by left tackle Deaven Francis and bolted 76 yards for a 28-13 cushion.

“Bryson on the counter-Q long TD run, that was big,” noted PHS head coach Mike Byus, whose squad was flagged 14 times for 150 yards. “I’ll have to wait to watch the film. Apparently, we’re playing real sloppy and don’t understand when to get our hands off people, I guess.

“We haven’t had that many penalties called on us all year. All of a sudden we come out here and it’s a yellow fireworks show. We’ve just got to shore up all the sloppy things.”

Marietta, which had a quartet of turnovers, lost a fumble on its next series and Waybright returned it 14 yards to the Tiger 31. However, Singer’s fourth-down pass in the end zone to Julian Martin fell incomplete.

Coach Schob’s squad put together a 17-play drive afterward and that included getting a 6-yard grab from Wheeler on a fourth-and-3 play from the 11 which set it up first-and-goal at the 5. Austin Fleming batted down a pass on first down, Zach Howard had a tackle on Munos for a 4-yard loss on second down and then Casey Mahoney sacked Gerber to force fourth down. Marietta’s pass on fourth-and-goal from the 16 was incomplete.

Mahoney’s interception of Gerber, who went 22 of 35 for 254 yards, ended the Tigers’ second drive of the fourth.

Waybright proceeded to recover a muffed punt, which led to a Snodgrass 13-yard touchdown run for a 34-13 advantage. On the extra point, the snap was high and Michael Owen took off running. He then pitched the ball back to Stanley, who raced in for the conversion, but Owen was called down on forward progress.

The Tigers scored with 1:11 remaining on Wheeler’s 15-yard TD grab as Courtney Schuck’s extra point set the final score.

Carson Urban had a late fumble recovery for the Tigers, but Waybright and Jake Barnette ended the game with a sack of Gerber.

“It was a little bit of a game of momentum,” said Schob, who watched Munos grab all six passes for 113 yards in the first half. “We made some mistakes, but our kids didn’t quit and they battled.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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