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PHS welcomes John Marshall

Big Reds ready for unexpected home game

Parkersburg High’s Justin Waybright (48) and Jeffrey Jones (51) smother a Bluefield player during the Big Reds’ 29-8 win over the Beavers. The Big Reds return to Class AAA action against John Marshall at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Photo by Duane West

PARKERSBURG — What’s better than a road trip to Beckley to take on Woodrow Wilson?

Parkersburg fourth-year head coach Mike Byus is hoping it’s playing a home game against No. 10 John Marshall (5-2) on Friday night at Stadium Field.

“I’ll tell you after the game,” quipped the Big Red boss, whose 4-2 squad enters the fray rated 13th in Class AAA.

Due to continued Mountain State COVID-19 restrictions, the Big Reds weren’t allowed to play the Flying Eagles because Wood County was gold on the color map and can only play programs in other gold counties.

Last week, then top-rated Class AA Bluefield rolled into Stadium Field averaging nearly 41 points per game and left town with a 29-8 setback.

The Monarchs of head coach Jason Willis are putting up nearly 47 points an outing.

But they lost 68-33 two weeks ago to Princeton, which was defeated twice by Bluefield this season — 15-13 and then 54-40 in the rematch.

“Last week won’t help us a bit this week. Different team. Speed team versus power team,” added Byus, who has watched Big Red signal-caller Bryson Singer rush for 904 yards while averaging 7.1 yards per attempt with a dozen touchdowns.

“They got that back that’s really good. They play hard and they are used to winning this year and we are going to have to play well, be fundamentally sound and tackle well.”

Monarch tailback Dalton Flowers rushed for 277 yards and four scores in last week’s blowout of Brooke. Alex Burton also rushed for 208 yards and a pair of scores. Quarterback Derrick Derrow also had touchdown passes to Reid Wiley and Bryce Rayl versus the Bruins.

“We got to stop the run and make them pass,” Byus added. “That doesn’t necessarily mean we can stop the pass. Most teams you got to make sure you can keep the run game shut down.”

The last time the Monarchs invaded Stadium Field was in the opening round of the 2017 playoffs during Byus’ first season. Then head coach Rich Goodrich’s squad pulled off a 42-35 victory.

“No. Just another game,” Byus said when asked if there was any extra motivation to beat JMHS.

“(Last week) our defense did an excellent job, preparation and all,” Byus continued. “They will be a challenge and do a good job.”

Defensively for the Big Reds, Justin Waybright leads the team with eight sacks, six fumble recoveries and 10.5 tackles for loss.

Casey Mahoney (50), Zach Howard (45), Keenan Curry (35), Austin Fleming (34) and Carter Mills (31) lead PHS in total tackles. Howard and Jake Barnette each have two sacks. Fleming paces the red and white with six pass breakups while Mills has a team-best three interceptions.

Singer has thrown seven touchdown passes with Carter King (12-138) catching five and Aaron Kupfner (11-73) and Jordan Martin (5-144) one each.

Punter/kicker Casey Stanley has made 17 of 18 extra points to begin his Big Red career and has converted both of his field goal opportunities.

“I just feel like we need to get prepared to play,” added Byus, who noted there have been distractions during practice this week.

“We’re going to have to take on blocks and going to have to tackle. This team will shake one-man tackles. We’ve got to gang tackle.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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