On Friday night in Dunmore, the Pocahontas County High School Warriors football team finished up their season with a bang and demolished the Webster County Highlanders, 46-14.
PCHS senior running back Judd Walther crossed the 1,000-yard rushing mark with a 25-yard scamper in the second half. Walther played on the line before this season, when Head Coach Doug Burns decided to give the big weightlifter regular carries.
PCHS senior QB/DB Wesley Felton threw three touchdown passes, including two 45-yarders to senior WR/DB Andrew Morrison. Senior RB/LB Devin Rose scored rushing TDs of two and four yards.
The Pocahontas defense, which played an overall excellent season, had its hands full with a determined Webster offense. But the PCHS defense was up to the task and forced several punts. The lopsided score does not reflect the excellent effort and skill displayed by the Webster County squad.
PCHS junior RB/S Jimmy Campbell made a pretty interception at the Highlander 47 on Webster’s first possession and the Warriors took advantage. Walther made a clutch 15-yard rush and Rose capped the Warrior drive with a two-yard touchdown at 5:00 in the first quarter.
The Warriors made a pooch kickoff and the Webster up-man fumbled, giving the ball to the Warriors on the Webster 45-yard line. PCHS wasted no time. On first down, Felton lofted the ball to Morrison, who made a beautiful, diving catch, landing in the end zone for the score.
The Highlanders made a nice drive on their next possession, assisted by Warrior penalties, and Webster QB Jacob Thayer rushed in on a two-yard keeper, narrowing the gap to 13-6.
The Warrior offensive line provided excellent blocking and Walther made key rushes on the next Pocahontas drive. On a fourth and three inside the Webster five, the Warriors executed a perfect play fake and Felton tossed the ball to wide open senior TE/LB Brandon Hamons in the end zone. The Warriors tried a two-point conversion but failed. Still, they held a two-score advantage at 19-7.
Rose did most of the legwork on the next Warrior drive and showed great strength, carrying Webster defenders downfield on multiple carries. On a second and seven at the Highlander 45, Felton dropped back and hit Morrison with a perfect, in-stride strike and the lanky receiver dashed untouched into the end zone. A pass attempt for a two-point conversion fell incomplete, but the Warriors went ahead 25-7.
With time running out in the first half, Webster took advantage of a momentary PCHS lack of focus and made a big pass play to the Warrior 33. Forced out of the pocket by Walther, Thayer completed to his wide receiver in the end zone, narrowing the gap to 25-14.
The Pocahontas defense was totally focused in the second half and shut out the Highlanders. Webster was threatening on a second and goal at the Pocahontas three-yard line, when PCHS sophomore RB/LB Cade Walker sacked Thayer for a nine-yard loss. Webster went for it on fourth and goal at the Pocahontas 12, but failed to score.
Matching the excellent defensive effort, the Pocahontas offense protected the ball and continued to rack up points in the second half. Walther scored on a four-yard rush in the third quarter. Rose punched the ball in from four yards out in the fourth quarter and Walker scored the first TD of his career with a five-yard rush late in the game.
The game was the last in Pocahontas maroon and gold for seven extremely talented seniors, including Felton, Walther, Rose, Morrison, Hamons, OL/LB Anson (Bubby) Hatfield and WR/DB Anson Dilley. Their skills and leadership will be sorely missed next season.
But the Warriors have a strong crop of juniors to lead the team next year, including standout lineman Chad Burns, RB/S Jimmy Campbell, OL/DE Travis Taylor, OL/DL Nash Rose and OL/DL Logan Mann. These juniors and several other underclassmen got significant playing time this season, giving Warriors fans hope for another thrilling football season.