PHS deals with Capital, 28-20
PARKERSBURG — With both Parkersburg and Capital coming into Friday night’s contest winless on the season, it was safe to say both teams were hungry for a win. Using a big performance from Bryson Singer, who rushed for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns, the Big Reds picked up their first win of the season, 28-20, at Stadium Field.
“I thought they showed a heck of a lot of heart tonight. We’re more injury-riddled than I’ve ever seen in my entire career. We have guys playing positions that they haven’t practiced until maybe this week. We keep making adjustments to try to utilize hopefully what we’re pretty good at,” Parkersburg head coach Mike Byus said. “We have to make sure we’re not turning the ball over.
“We had a couple of issues upfront and we fixed that. Our kids did a great job on defense and those guys are fast. We got to be able to break down on those fast guys and make tackles and they make you look like you’re not trying sometimes because man they’re so slick. But overall just proud of the effort that we gave tonight.”
Moving from quarterback to running back during the second quarter, Capital defenders had a rough time taking down the senior, rushing for 203 yards on 32 carries in the backfield. Singer was also the team’s leading receiver with 46 receiving yards on just two catches.
Now seeing time at fullback, Austin Fleming had six carries for 21 yards and Logan Hartshorn rushed for 19 yards on four carries.
Backup quarterback David Parsons completed six passes on nine attempts for 72 yards
Starting in poor field positions off a bad kickoff return, Capital went three-and-out after being in the shadow of its end zone, punting the ball to the Big Reds.
Already inside Capital’s redzone after the punt, the Big Reds couldn’t capitalize on the good field position, as three plays in, Singer coughed up the ball after evading Cougar defenders, recovering the ball on its 39-yard line.
The Cougars reached the Big Red 1 as part of a 17-play, 80-yard drive, but only left with three points on the scoreboard. The Big Reds defense held their ground inside the goal line, as Capital’s Cavon Tyler’s 20-yard field goal gave the visitors a 3-0 lead with two minutes left to play in the first quarter.
Midway through the Big Reds’ second drive of the game, Parkersburg switched to an I-formation with Singer moving to running back and Parsons going under center. The Cougars’ defense had no answer for the change, with Singer rushing for 45 yards on the drive. It ended with a 4-yard gallop on fourth down to give Parkersburg its first lead of the game, making it 7-3 with 9:44 left in the second quarter.
With both teams not getting much traction on their next possessions, Capital took over the lead once again after a big play by quarterback Jacqai Long, causing problems with both his arm and legs. On third-and-long at midfield, Lang found Elijah McDaniel wide open in the middle of the field for a big 42-yard passing play to put Capital inside PHS’ goal line. The Cougars scored on the next play when Lang found Shawn James on the left side of the field for the easy 8-yard score to put Capital in the lead, 10-7.
On their next drive, the Big Reds quickly found themselves facing a third down, however, Parsons found Singer wide-open near the Big Reds’ sideline and he made a break for the end zone before getting dragged down by a Cougar defender at the 5. Singer scored on a 2-yard run to give the hosts a 14-10 lead going into halftime.
Receiving the ball first in the second half, Singer coughed up the ball once again on the second-and-long, giving the Cougars the ball inside Parkersburg’s 33-yard line. Capital quickly went to work, reaching the end zone when Long found Brayden Slack near the goal line who punched it for a 13-yard touchdown, making the score 17-14 in favor of the Cougars with just two minutes off the third.
Singer bounced back on the Big Reds next drive, cutting through the Capital defense en route to a 37-yard touchdown run to give the Big Reds the lead once again at the 7:10 mark.
Capital’ Scott kicked a 32-yard field goal to make it a one-point game.
Being put inside the goal line thanks to big plays from Hartshorn, PHS extended its lead to eight off a 7-yard run from Signer with 6:46 in the final period.
Capital tried to answer on a 12-play, 64-yard drive reaching Parkersburg’s 9-yard line, but the Big Red defense for the third time of the game stood tall, forcing a Long incompletion for a turnover on downs.
Long went 14 of 25 with 188 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with 47 rushing yards on 15 carries. James had 42 rushing yards on nine carries and Zion Smith had nine carries with 39 yards on the ground. Trenton Tiggle was the Cougars’ leading receiver with 53 yards on four catches, James had 34 yards on four catches as well.
Tyler Bennett can be reached at email@example.com