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Parkersburg, Jefferson meet for the first time

Photo by Duane West Parkersburg’s Austin Fleming gets a grip on Huntington’s Jordan Price during an earlier season game. Singer and the Big Reds welcome in Jefferson for a 7 p.m. start Friday at PHS Stadium Field.

PARKERSBURG — Despite the ongoing statewide regulations due to COVID-19, the Parkersburg football program continues to find games.

Although “The Game” against rival Parkersburg South isn’t until next week, the Big Reds will be out to match a season-best three-game winning streak when the Jefferson Cougars of head coach Craig Hunter invade Stadium Field for a 7 p.m. kick Friday.

Fourth-year Big Red head coach Mike Byus’ squad received a school record 436 total yards of offense from junior quarterback Bryson Singer, which featured 219 ground yards, in last week’s 54-14 blowout of John Marshall.

PHS, which was supposed to be at George Washington this week, enters the fray rated No. 9 in Class AAA with a 5-2 record. The Cougars (3-4) are in must-win mode sitting at No. 18 after knocking off Washington last week, 32-29. However, Jefferson hasn’t won consecutive games this season.

During last week’s victory, Evan Tewell rushed for three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 2:19 left.

Sammy Roberts, who completes better than 50% of his passes and has 15 touchdown tosses, keys an offense which also features tailback Christian Blowe as well as wideouts Spencer Powell and Jon Gidney.

“They got a big H-back who is quick. He does a heckuva job of opening up holes for number 3 (Jewell), who would just as soon run over you than around you,” said Byus, who watched Carter King haul in three touchdown receptions last week and also rush for another.

“They are kind of an anomaly. They beat Greenbrier East who had a good year and you look through to see they’ve lost to Spring Mills and they are eighth and Musselman (fourth). The teams that have beaten them are all pretty good football teams.”

The Big Reds jumped out to a 33-0 halftime lead versus the Monarchs a week ago, which included Jordan Martin grabbing a 31-yard TD pass. Big Red Keenan Curry also had a 60-yard pick-6, his second of the campaign after returning one to the house from 84 yards out versus Marietta.

Although he didn’t recover a fumble last week, Justin Waybright recorded a trio of sacks to increase his Mid-Ohio Valley leading total to 11.

“We had a great practice yesterday (Tuesday). I almost hate to say it,” Byus quipped. “I really do believe they are getting better and understanding more what we are asking them to do.”

The Parkersburg defense, which also got a sack apiece last week from Austin Fleming and Dylan Mason, is led in total tackles by Casey Mahoney (61) and Zach Howard (50).

Two more wins to end the campaign would assure the Big Reds of a home playoff game. PHS has been to the playoffs in each of coach Byus’ three seasons, which included a postseason contest during his first year in 2017.

Of course, coach Byus understands nothing matters but the next game on the schedule and they can’t afford to look ahead.

“I promised the kids they are not coming down here to lay down for them,” Byus added. “My best guess is we are going to have to play well.”

This will mark the first time the Big Reds and Cougars have met on the gridiron.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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