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Parkersburg High School football has tall task to avoid 0-2 start

Parkersburg High’s Bryson Singer (7) bursts through a hole in the offensive line during the Big Reds’ 47-7 loss to the Highlanders last Friday. Singer and the Big Reds play Spring Valley at 7:30 p.m. Friday. (Photo by Duane West)

PARKERSBURG — Mountain State Athletic Conference members Parkersburg High and Spring Valley were planning on 1-0 starts.

Entering week two of the gridiron season, both programs will be seeking victory number one come 7:30 p.m. Friday when the Timberwolves of head coach Brad Dingess invade Stadium Field.

The Big Reds of head man Mike Byus suffered a 47-7 setback at Huntington last week, but the game couldn’t have started off any better for the visitors. Anthony Ice returned the opening kickoff 49 yards and then Carter King hauled in a 24-yard touchdown reception from Bryson Singer and it was 7-0 following a Casey Stanley extra point.

However, King later left the game in the first half and the Big Reds proceeded to hurt themselves with five turnovers en route to the lopsided setback.

“His leg is broke,” admitted coach Byus of King, who had a team-high eight touchdown grabs in 2020. “The second drive we had a similar drive and a touchdown almost in our hands and the ball is about 10 yards away and the defensive back takes Carter’s arms and puts his arm to his side and tackles him before the ball got there or else we’d scored again.

“From top to bottom, we are just reassessing what we can do and what we can do better and we all have to understand we have to get better. They were physical and they were fast and we weren’t.”

Coach Byus knows things aren’t going to get any easier against SVHS, which lost to rival Cabell Midland 28-19 in its opener.

Jace Caldwell paced the Timberwolves with 101 yards rushing on 11 attempts and a pair of six-pointers. New quarterback Dalton Fouch, who added 32 yards rushing on a dozen carries, finished 12 of 25 through the air for 148 yards. Ben Turner (2-59), Ty Bartrum (3-48) and 6-foot-6 tight end Corbin Page, who had four receptions for 45 yards, were his top targets.

Along with the turnovers, the Big Reds also weren’t able to sustain drives versus the Highlanders. HHS not only dominated the time of possession, but held a 469-109 advantage in total yards while going 8 for 8 in red zone scoring chances.

“We’re worrying mostly about ourselves to be honest with you,” Byus said of this weeek’s preparation. “We are trying to get better at what we do. That’s from day to day. We’re trying to make improvements. Trying to get more mentally tough. Trying to get sharper. Trying to execute better. Bottom line is we got to block and tackle better. It’s a football game. We had five turnovers.

“None of that is going to help in winning a game.”

Singer led the team with 10 rushes for 37 yards and he also went 3 of 6 for 36 yards through the air with a pair of interceptions. David Parsons was 5 of 8 for 22 yards and one pick for the red and white.

Stanley averaged 41 yards on his trio of punts and that included a 59-yarder and two of them being downed inside the 20.

Austin Fleming had the Big Reds’ lone sack and Xadrian Snodgrass recovered a fumble that Zach Howard forced.

“Nobody has the experience that Carter has playing that position. There’s a learning curve,” Byus said of the big loss of King, who had team-highs of three receptions for 32 yards. “We have to try to get better. There’s not a lot else to do. It’s not rocket science. It’s a matter of putting the work ethic in and it’s got to be important everyday to work on getting better.”

When asked if there were any positives about the Huntington setback coach Byus quipped, “our pregame meal was good. The charter bus driver got us home pretty quick after the game. The boosters did a heckuva job feeding us after the game.

“We’ve got to get better, top to bottom. I hope the kids are p—– off and I hope the kids aren’t happy, and I hope they want to fix it. It doesn’t matter how bad we want to fix it. It only comes down to how bad they want to fix it and it doesn’t get any easier.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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