Warriors face Yellow Jackets in 2020 opener

Aaron Pugh
Contributing Writer
            
It goes without saying at this point, 2020 has been a year full of surprises and challenges. Unfortunately high school football didn’t escape the effects. The season was postponed, summer practice was partially cancelled for many teams, and the question of whether or not a season would even happen was hot on everyone’s mind. Fortunately, the season is officially underway, and the Pocahontas County High School Warriors travelled to Moorefield Friday night to open the season. 

The Warriors faced maybe more than their fair share of challenges. Several starters from the 2019 season didn’t come out for various reasons. The August practices were limited both due to the postponement of the season and inclement weather. The lone scrimmage that PCHS had scheduled was cancelled due to Monroe County going into the “red” on the COVID-19 county school monitoring system. Plus a few key injuries forced some re-shuffling on the starting lineup. Couple all of that with a senior heavy and talented Moorefield Yellow Jackets and the 6-38 loss stings, but is understandable. 

However, there is certainly hope. The Warriors held the Yellow Jackets to 0-10 in the first half – showing stoutness on the defensive front and the ability to rally to the ball. 

It was in the third quarter that the Yellow Jackets found breathing room with a pair of offensive touchdowns and running in a pick-six interception. 

Despite great physical effort from the players, the Warriors were unable to make things click effectively and found their lone touchdown in the fourth quarter when Junior #1 Cash Keating at quarterback ran for a 32-yard touchdown.

The season hasn’t started off like the Warriors would want. But coming into a game cold against a team that has had a scrimmage and a 2019 playoff berth leaves a lot of opportunity for the Warriors to improve. 

The total offense for the Warriors was 192 yards vs the Yellow Jackets 265. PCHS had comparable rushing stats behind a line with a lot of new faces, rushing for 168 yards compared to Moorefield’s 186. 

Senior # 10 Keaton Baldwin at quarterback commanded on the field and had 11 rushes for 38 yards. Junior Quarterback/H-Back Cash Keating had two rushes for 48 yards and the lone touchdown in the fourth quarter as younger players were rotated in by both sides. 

Seniors #24 Logan Ryder and #8 Haiden Gladwell had 11 carries for 32 yards and five for 21 yards respectively. 

When JV team members were fielded in during the fourth quarter, sophomore #11 Evan Hamrick added to the stats with six carries for 21 yards. In the air, Baldwin had 13 attempts for five completions, a sharp uptick in passing attempts from 2019. The wide range of targets included: junior #4 Frankie Burgess with 14 yards on one catch; junior #34 Tucker McGee had three yards on one; Gladwell had two yards on two; senior #14 Jacob Davis gained one yard on one catch.

As the passing improves, Baldwin is showing a willingness to spread the ball around to a variety of potential targets.

In JV play freshmen #88 Wyatt Hendrick and #83 Clayton Burns connected for one pass for four yards in the fourth quarter to add to the stats.

The Warriors will travel to Parsons to face the Mountain Lions of Tucker County who are coming off a loss in their opener against the Tygart Valley Bulldogs.

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