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Warriors host Petersburg Vikings

Aaron Pugh
Contributing Writer

Following a rough game one at Moorefield, followed by an excellent rebound at Tucker County, the Pocahontas County High School Warriors were finally at home Friday night, hosting the Vikings of Petersburg. The Vikings recently dropped to Division A, and both teams came into the game 1-1 and were looking to advance their season. But the 15 seniors from Petersburg ultimately won out despite an excellent effort and some high flying from the smaller and younger Warriors.

Petersburg opened up things by receiving the kickoff from senior #14 Jacob Davis.

The Warriors had good success stalling the Petersburg offense, and it wasn’t until late in the first quarter that Petersburg was able to score on a run from senior QB #4 Cody Nuzum; with the point after good.

Score 7-0 Vikings.

Two minutes later, at the end of the first quarter, the Warriors struck back, capping off a short drive with a connection between senior QB #10 Keaton Baldwin and senior RB #8 Haiden Gladwell on a 25-yard touchdown pass; point after by Davis was no good.

Score 7-6 Vikings.

Early in the second quarter, Baldwin was able to make good on the air game yet again. This time connecting with Davis who pounded down the field 85 yards for a touchdown; however the two point conversion attempt was no good.

Score 12-6 Warriors.

The Vikings would rally in the back half of the second quarter with three quick scores. The first on the ground, when Nuzum scampered in from 13 yards out. Then twice more, both in the air when Nuzum connected first with #12 Jacob Landis for 51 yards, and then with #22 Peyton Day for 16 yards in the final seconds of the half. Only one point after kick was bad.

Score at halftime, 27-12 Vikings.

During the Senior Night halftime, the two teams made what adjustments they could, but the Warriors would be hard pressed to find success against the size and seniority of the Vikings. Unable to power up the middle and with Baldwin tormented by a heavy blitz, passing was hampered. The Vikings were able to stymie the Warrior varsity offense and Nuzum was able to punch in two more touchdowns on the ground from 3 yards and 8 yards out respectively, one in the third and the other in the fourth quarter.

Score 41-12 Vikings

After this, both teams marched out their JV units, where the young Warriors of Pocahontas were able to introduce themselves to Petersburg in style, rallying and giving the Vikings something to worry about in future matches. The young Warriors stalled the JV Viking offense. Freshman #60 Branson Gordon blocked a punt. Then sophomore QB #6 Brayden Hayhurst capitalized on the blocked punt three plays later with a 9-yard run for a touchdown; Hayhurst then completed a bubble pass to freshman WR #88 Clayton Burns, who then fought through a tackle and got some good stock blocking by #60 Branson Gordon and sophomore #2 Ryan Halterman for the two-point conversion.

Final Score 41-20 Vikings.

On the night, the Warriors had a respectable 253 yards of offense, but the Vikings were able to tally a staggering 405. On the ground, the Warriors were only able to get 53 yards against the massive defensive front of Petersburg. Leading on the ground for the Warriors was senior #6 Haiden Gladwell with six for 19 yards and junior RB/QB #1 Cash Keating with two carries for 14, Ryder and Baldwin were heavily targeted by the Vikings and had no yards. The JV contributed to the stats with Hayhurst with three carries for 18 yards and a touchdown and Sophomore #11 Evan Hamrick with three for six yards.

In the air, Pocahontas was able to gather up 200 yards, as the passing game continues to expand, Baldwin was able to complete eight of 16, targeting the various targets throughout the night. Leading the receivers was #14 Jacob Davis with three receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown; #8 Haiden Gladwell with four for 82 yards and a touchdown and Senior # 24 Logan Ryder with one for two yards.

The Warriors will next face their first high stakes rivalry game when they host the Richwood Lumberjacks, who are coming off a big win against Hundred High School.

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