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HUGHES: Great showing in crosstown showdown

This year’s crosstown showdown showed exactly what high school football is all about. In the face of adversity amidst quarantine restrictions, Parkersburg prevailed for the win. When Parkersburg South trailed throughout the contest, it nearly completed a late comeback.

This game brought out the best of the city and its student-athletes. Last year’s game was cancelled following COVID-19 concerns, and nothing could fill the void. I grew up surrounded by the rivalry, and as a PHS graduate, I can remember plenty of great moments for both sides of the big game. We finally had the chance to see these two go at it again, and the result provided plenty of talking points for the Patriots and Big Reds.

The win for PHS puts them inside the top 16 in Class AAA, and it’s a statement win after a slow 1-2 start. David Parsons went 8 for 14 for 112 yards and a touchdown in the win, and he did exactly what was needed of him. Austin Fleming accounted for a pair of scores (including the dagger onside kick return to make the final score 28-19). Bryson Singer stayed patient when South keyed in on him defensively and found paydirt to help the cause. All of this begs the question: where does the Parkersburg offense go from here?

The 28 points scored ties a season high, and PHS tallied 253 total yards as well. The feats of Singer helped capture a win over Capital in the previous week, and this victory could serve as a springboard for the red and white to reach new heights. Upcoming games against the likes of Cabell Midland, Hurricane and South Charleston will go a long way in seeing what the offense can accomplish.

South drops to 2-2 with the defeat and falls outside the top 16. The emergence of sophomore QB Robert Shockey added another wrinkle to the offense, while the defense benefitted from being another year older. Those facts should give Southsiders reason for excitement in the future, and it took big performances on both sides of the ball to get back in the ballgame.

Shockey was a dual-threat PHS could not contain, as he threw for 182 yards and ran for 128 more. Cyrus Traugh continued his big season by totalling 11 catches for 106 yards and a score. Triston Walker emerged with five catches for 41 yards in the loss, as he is another weapon for Shockey to use. All of this begs the question: where does Parkersburg South go from here?

We’ve seen the Patriots at the highest of highs in 2021, and we’ve seen them fall in frustrating fashion. If the season ended today, they wouldn’t make the playoffs. Luckily, “if” doesn’t matter. There is still plenty of time for a rebound. The nature of the crosstown showdown makes it hard to predict, and even then, South didn’t just lay down and take the loss. PSHS gained 386 yards of total offense and drove down the field with seconds remaining to bring the score within two. A pair of tough games against John Marshall and Bridgeport are up next for head coach Nate Tanner’s crew, but if any of his past comments are to be believed, this team will not be daunted.

One thing is certain. Both PHS and South will find out a lot about themselves in the following weeks, but Friday’s rivalry game was everything it needed to be in an uncertain time. I’m glad a staple of Class AAA football returned, and it’s an exciting time to be a fan in PKB.

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com.

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