POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Point Pleasant forced six turnovers and accumulated 432 yards of total offense Friday night en route to a 70-14 thumping of visiting Lincoln County in a Week 1 football matchup at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
The Big Blacks (1-0) forced four first-half turnovers and turned them all into points, as the hosts stormed out to commanding leads of 29-6 after one quarter of play and 56-6 at the intermission.
The Panthers (0-1) — who managed only three first downs and 42 yards of total offense in the first half — scored the opening points of the second half to pull within 56-14, but PPHS tacked on a pair of third quarter touchdowns to secure a 70-14 cushion headed into the finale.
Neither team scored the rest of the way, allowing the Big Blacks to claim the convincing 56-point triumph.
Point Pleasant rushed 29 times for 322 yards and added another 110 yards through air while converting 15 first downs and committing one turnover. Point also had two defensive touchdowns and recovered five fumbles in the decision.
LCHS, conversely, ended the night with 43 rushes for 123 yards and netted another 54 yards through the air for a total of 177 yards of offense. The Panthers also scored one defensive touchdown in the setback.
Overall, it was a good night for the Big Blacks — which PPHS head coach Dave Darst eluded to afterwards.
“Obviously, I’m pleased that we won that football game,” Darst said. “Offensively, we did a good job and I felt that we grew up as the first half went on. We had some bad snaps early, mainly because everyone was jacked up and excited. For as young as we are offensively, I’m pleased with how we executed.
“Really, I’m more impressed with our defense tonight. We were flying to the football and kids were getting where they were supposed to. It’s a great start to the season, but now we just need to keep working to get better.”
Lincoln County fumbled on the opening play from scrimmage, as Gage Buskirk scooped up the loose ball at the guests 29-yard line just six seconds into the drive. Chase Walton hauled in a 16-yard scoring pass from Aden Yates moments later, giving PPHS a 7-0 edge with 10:16 left in the first quarter.
Point Pleasant forced a punt on the Panthers’ next drive and retained possession, but an errant Yates pass was picked off by Chaz Wiley and returned 59 yards to paydirt — making it a 7-6 contest with 7:18 left in the opening stanza. Lincoln County was never closer the rest of the way.
Buskirk hauled in a 39-yard scoring pass from Yates at the 6:49 mark for a 14-6 lead, then defensive end Jon Peterson ripped the ball away from LCHS quarterback Grant Bates 13 seconds later and rumbled 16 yards to paydirt for a 21-6 advantage.
Cody Mitchell closed out the first quarter scoring with a 60-yard jaunt at the 2:49 mark, giving the hosts a 27-6 lead. Walton hauled in a pass from Buskirk for the successful two-point conversion, making it a 29-6 advantage.
Walton started the second quarter scoring with a 10-yard scamper to paydirt, which made it a 35-6 contest with 9:48 left in the first half. PPHS recovered a live ball on the ensuing kickoff and needed just nine seconds to make it a 42-6 game after Buskirk rumbled in from 14 yards out with 9:39 left in the half.
Walton scored his third and final touchdown of the night at the 6:25 mark after a 29-yard run made it a 49-6 affair, then Mitchell tacked on a 26-yard scoring run with 1:59 left to wrap up the first half scoring at 56-6.
PPHS had 317 yards of total offense and 13 first downs by the intermission, compared to just 42 yards and three first downs by the Panthers. Point rushed 16 times for 207 yards and had one turnover in the first half, while LCHS had four rushing yards on 20 carries and four turnovers by the break.
Lincoln County struck first blood in the second half after Jacob Reynolds hauled in a 17-yard scoring pass from Grant Bates at the 8:32 mark of the third quarter. Bryan Miller added a successful two-point run to make it a 56-14 contest.
Point Pleasant countered with a seven-yard scoring run from Grant Safford at the 6:14 mark to make it a 63-14 contest. Dakota Swann added a 40-yard TD run with 2:02 left in the third to wrap up the scoring at 70-14.
The Big Blacks were penalized nine times for 65 yards and did not attempt a punt in the triumph. PPHS kicker Colin Peal was also a perfect 8-for-8 on point-after tries.
Lincoln County was flagged four times for 35 yards and also punted four times for an average of 27 yards.
Cody Mitchell led the hosts with 108 rushing yards on five attempts, followed by Dakota Swann with 53 yards on seven carries. Jacob Wamsley and Chase Walton respectively added 47 and 41 yards on three rushes apiece, while Gage Buskirk chipped in 28 yards on two totes.
Aden Yates was 5-of-10 passing for 110 yards and also added 31 rushing yards on five carries. Yates threw two touchdowns passes and an interception for the hosts. Buskirk led the Big Blacks with 57 receiving yards on three catches. Brian Gibbs and Chase Walton each had one catch for 37 and 16 yards, respectively.
Blake Taylor led the Panthers with 59 rushing yards on 13 carries, followed by Shane Wells with 39 yards on six totes.
Grant Bates was 7-of-9 passing for 54 yards, throwing one TD and one interception. Zach McGhee led the guests with three catches for 23 yards.
Point Pleasant resumes the Oak and Bucket series next Friday night when Ripley comes to OVB Field for a Week 2 non-conference matchup in Point Pleasant. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.