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State powers collide: PHS, Bluefield meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday

Photo by Duane West Parkersburg High’s Kevin Hancock (1), Zachary Howard (21), and Xadrian Snodgrass (29) gang up to tackle Huntington’s Amari Felder. The Big Reds are back in action when they welcome Class AA power Bluefield for a 7:30 p.m. Friday visit at PHS Stadium Field.

PARKERSBURG — For the first time since 1991, the Bluefield Beavers and the Parkersburg Big Reds will meet on the gridiron.

Bluefield, which has been in the past three Class AA state championship games and won it all in 2017, enters Friday’s 7:30 p.m. showdown at Stadium Field with a 4-0 record. Head coach Fred Simon’s squad sits atop the double-A ratings.

The 3-2 Big Reds of fourth-year head coach Mike Byus are currently sitting on the outside looking in of the Class AAA playoff race with a No. 18 rating. PHS is seeking a fourth straight postseason appearance.

Neither team played last week. Bluefield rolled past Point Pleasant, 46-28, back on Oct. 2. The same night the Big Reds had a halftime lead at Hurricane, but struggled in the second half and lost 60-36.

“Speed. Winning tradition,” Byus replied when asked what comes to mind when he thinks of Bluefield, which he said uses a “spread offense. They run and throw it well. They have a lot of good team speed. Their running back (Jaeon Flack) is a scatback kind of kid.

“Their offense and defensive linemen are big kids. The (Brandy) Wiley kid, that receiver, he’s their, I guess, biggest go to guy, but all their wideouts are pretty quick. The quarterback (Carson Deeb), he’s more of a passer than a runner. He’s a bigger kid. He can throw it.”

Bluefield also features the brother receiving duo of Jacorian and Juwaun Green, who have combined for six touchdown catches.

Hurricane signal-caller Ismael Borrero threw for seven touchdowns against the Big Reds, who also tossed a pair of pick-6s in the loss.

“Anytime we don’t play well I’m champing at the bit to get back out there and go get that bad taste out of my mouth,” said Byus, who has watched junior quarterback Bryson Singer rush for team-highs of 770 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“We didn’t have a game (last week) so just keep practicing and try to get better. You know, you can only do what you can do. It’s always good to win going into a bye week even though we didn’t necessarily know we were going to have a bye week.”

Singer, who is averaging 60 yards passing a game and has thrown four touchdowns versus two picks, has used Aaron Kupfner (10-66-0), Carter King (9-98-3) and Jordan Martin (4-105-1) as his top receivers.

Xadrian Snodgrass has rushed for 251 yards and a pair of scores for the Big Reds, who have a quartet of players with at least 20 unassisted tackles — Keenan Curry (28), Carter Mills (23), Casey Mahoney (21) and Zach Howard (20).

Justin Waybright leads PHS with five sacks and six fumble recoveries. Austin Fleming has two sacks while Jeffrey Jones has 4.5 tackles for loss.

“For some reason we played very lethargic and made a lot of mistakes and pretty much handed it to them,” Byus said of the Hurricane game. “We couldn’t guard them. The guy had a career night. Obviously, we better learn to cover a little bit.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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