The Pocahontas County High School Warriors walked into an ambush Friday night in Man. The home team Hillbillies welcomed their up-State guests like a Hatfield would welcome a McCoy. Man broke a three-year losing streak to the Warriors and dished out some payback to the tune of 42-0.
The much-larger Man defensive line was too much for Pocahontas’ front four and Warrior quarterback Wesley Felton was running for his life the entire game. The Hillbillies held Pocahontas to 85 yards of total offense and recovered five Warrior fumbles in the game.
On the first possession of the game, the Warriors faced a fourth-and-three on their 47-yard line. The Warriors boldly went for it, but the ball turned over on downs when the Hillbillies stuffed a running play at the line of scrimmage.
Man took advantage of the short field and drove to score on a 15-yard TD pass – out of the hands of one receiver and into the hands of another. This evening, the luck would remain with the Hillbillies.
The next Pocahontas possession ended with a lost fumble, but the Warrior defense – especially good pass coverage by DBs Felton and Andrew Morrison – forced the Hillbillies to go three and out.
A nice Man punt bounced into the end zone and PCHS took over on their 20. On second down, the Warriors lost a fumble, on a reverse gone awry, giving the Hillbillies a first down on the Warrior 17. It took only one play for Man to score, as RB Mikle Rowe dodged tackles for 17 yards into the end zone.
Walther made a nice kickoff return to the Warriors’ 37-yard line, but PCHS couldn’t move the sticks and Rose kicked a nice punt. Man sustained a nice drive to the PCHS 16, but the Warriors played takeaway and pounced on a fumble inside their 10-yard line.
With their backs to the wall, the Warriors could not make a first down and a Man defender got a hand on Rose’s punt, which rolled out of bounds at the Warrior 32. On second down, the Hillbillies made 16 yards on a reverse and two plays later, RB Braden Griffin scampered into the end zone from four yards out. A good two-point conversion made it 22-0 for the Billies.
On the next series, the Warriors lost their third fumble of the game on a third down option play. Man got the ball on the Warrior 20, but the Warrior defense held firm. With some help from a bad snap, Pocahontas forced the Hillbillies into a fourth and 25. With a 22-point lead, Man felt they could take the risk and pulled off a perfect fake punt. RB Cayce Mullins took the snap and completed a pass to WR Tyler Grimmet for a 35-yard TD. A two-point conversion put Man in the driver’s seat with a 30-0 advantage.
Rose provided a lift for PCHS fans with a pretty interception before the end of the half, but the Warriors could not convert and turned the ball over on downs.
In the second half, Pocahontas played better defense and the third quarter went scoreless. But the Warriors couldn’t get anything going offensively against a much larger Hillbilly defensive squad. Hamons, Rose, Walther, Felton, Andrew Morrison and Bubby Hatfield made their usual excellent efforts, but the much-larger Man linemen won the battle in the trenches.
Walther made the biggest play of the game for PCHS in the fourth quarter with a 25-yard rush to the Man 25. But the Warriors lost the ball on second down with their fifth lost fumble of the game. With the win, the Billies improved to 7-1 and the Warriors dropped to 3-5.
PCHS plays their final game of the season Friday night at home against next-door rival Webster County. The Highlanders are 2-7, but coming off a 16-14 win over Braxton County. Kickoff at Warrior Field is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Game time forecast calls for clear skies, temperatures in the 40s and a zero percent chance of precipitation.