Aaron Pugh
Contributing Writer

Homecoming, Ax Bowl and a resounding rebound against rivals – the Richwood Lumberjacks.

What more could you ask for in high school football?

The Pocahontas County High School Warriors have had a rough three weeks, following close losses against stout and well-prepared opponents by a total of 14 points, beset by injuries, adjustments and key mistakes.

Friday night, the Warriors hosted the 2-2 Lumberjacks for PCHS Homecoming and made a statement. With a sound game from skilled players and adjustments by the offensive line, the Warriors showed marked improvements, fixing past mistakes and playing four solid quarters of football. The game was the latest installment of the Richwood rivalry, the longest in PCHS’s football history. The Warriors emerged with a Homecoming victory in the annual Ax Bowl.

Following all the pomp and circumstance that one would expect from Homecoming, the Warriors took the field. Opening the game with Senior #88 Dalton Hendrick receiving the kickoff and setting up PCHS on its own 30-yard line. Seven plays later, including a great pass by Senior QB #6 Dillon Shinaberry and catch and 37-yard run by Senior WR #83 Brody Buzzard, Shinaberry charged in for a four-yard touchdown, then kicked the extra point.

Score 7-0 Warriors.

Minutes later, after stalling the Lumberjacks and setting up shop on the Richwood 34-yard line, the Warriors put together a five-play drive and if once is good, twice is better – Shinaberry found the end-zone again from four yards out, and made the point after.

Score 14-0 Warriors.

Early in the second quarter, the Lumberjacks found success after a 12-play drive when #32 Doye Ward found the end-zone for a one-yard touchdown; the point after attempt by #5 Lasse Alberts was blocked by Sophomore #5 Cage Burdette.

Score 14-6 Warriors.

The Warriors set up a final drive in the first half, starting near mid-field after a turnover on downs. The Warriors put together a seven-play series, capped off by a reverse pass with Hendrick throwing a 20-yard pass up to Burdette. Burdette went between two Lumberjack DBs on the one-yard line and fought for the bobbled ball, claimed it and lunged in for the touchdown. The point after snap was bobbled, and Buzzard’s attempt to salvage it came up short.

Score at Halftime 20-6 Warriors.

After halftime, the Lumberjacks received Shinaberry’s kickoff and went three-and-out. The Warrior offense set up shop at the Richwood 32-yard line. Shinaberry finished off the five-play series by charging 16 yards up the left sideline, shaking off two defenders, dove for the pylon and found pay dirt; point after by Shinaberry was good.

Score 27-6 Warriors.

At the end of the third quarter the Warriors struck again. After starting on the 50-yard line Shinaberry and crew marched up the field behind the big Warrior line for eight plays, at the end of which Junior RB #10 Keaton Baldwin found the end-zone from three yards out; point after by Shinaberry was good.

Score 34-6 Warriors.

Early in the fourth quarter #1 Caleb Jantuah connected with #2 Ethan Davis for a 45-yard touchdown pass. The kick by Alberts was no good, dinging off the left upright.

Score 34-12 Warriors.

The Warriors dealt the final blow of the night less than two minutes later at 9:45 in the fourth when Shinaberry pummeled the Lumberjacks into the end-zone one final time. This time at the end of a five play series, on a two-yard run set up by a 35-yard run by Baldwin. Shinaberry’s kick after was good. The Warrior JV took over a few minutes later to finish off the night.

Final Score Warriors 41, Lumberjacks 12. The Warriors keep the Ax another year.

Shinaberry set the tempo for Doug Burns’ offense, leading a smooth running and balanced attack. The Warriors racked up 372 yards of total offense; 272 on the ground and 100 in the air, including two 100-yard rushers in one game.

Richwood managed to get 277; 187 in the air (mostly on a hand full of big plays) but only 90 on the ground against Matt Buzzard’s defense.

Rushing leaders for the Warriors were: Shinaberry who had 22 rushes for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns (and 5 point after kicks); Baldwin had 14 for 111 yards and 1 touchdown; and #83 Brody Buzzard had 2 for 13 yards. In the air, Shinaberry was 5 of 6 for 80 yards, and # 88 Dalton Hendrick on a reverse pass had 1 of 1 for 20 yards. Receiving was led by Buzzard with 2 receptions for 48; Burdette with 3 receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown; and Hendrick caught one himself for 20 yards.

The Warriors have fixed some issues and will hopefully continue this trend as they start the second half of their season that includes four away games. That will start with a road trip to AA Shady Springs, who are 4-1 on the season. A stout challenge, but great opportunity for the Warriors to resurrect their season.

Kickoff at Shady Springs will be at 7 p.m. Friday, October 4.

Please join us for more Warrior Football.

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