The Pocahontas County High School Warriors had a rough night playing hard, but ultimately falling, 21 – 14, to a resilient rival, the Pendleton County Wildcats. Photo courtesy of Cynthia Broce-Kelley

Aaron Pugh
Contributing Writer
            
The Warriors had a rough night Friday the 13th as they faced their long-standing rivals, the Pendleton County Wildcats, from the other side of our “continental divide.” It was an evenly matched slug fest that kept both sides on edge. But, in the end, the team that had the fewer mistakes prevailed. This time, Pendleton County was that team. 

The first quarter was an echo of the previous week’s game against Moorefield where the Warriors and Wildcats duked it out defensively. 

The Warriors  were hurting as injured Senior Outside Linebacker #83 Brody Buzzard was missing from the squad, but the Pocahontas County defense still found a niche and were able to keep the Wildcats out of the end zone the entire first half, with duo Senior Quarterback/ Linebacker #6 Dillon Shinaberry and Junior Running Back/Linebacker #10 Keaton Baldwin anchoring the defense. 

The second quarter proved to be better for the Warriors after a nine-play series, including a 33-yard catch and run, when Shinaberry connected with Sophomore Wide Receiver #5 Cage Burdette found pay dirt and Shinaberry scrambled on a right sweep for a one-yard run for a touchdown. Kick after by Junior Kicker #14 Jacob Davis was good.

Score at halftime 7-0 Warriors.

The third quarter saw the Wildcats strike back when #28 Dalton Dunkle capped a series with an eight-yard touchdown, Junior #75 Josh Alt’s kick was good.

Score 7-7.

The fourth quarter saw a firestorm of activity starting with a botched punt by the Warriors, when a snap went awry and Baldwin had to fall on the ball deep in Warrior territory. A few plays later Wildcat Quarterback #8 Isaiah Gardiner ran for a five-yard touchdown. Alt’s kick was good. 

Score 14-7 Wildcats.

The Warriors struck back going to the air and the ground in a rally to tie the game. Starting on their own 35-yard line the Warriors put together a 10-play drive that was capped off by an 11-yard touchdown run off tackle to the left by Baldwin; point after by Davis was good.

Score 14-14.

The Wildcats immediately put together a seven-play drive, starting from their own 36 yard line – capping it off with a two-yard QB sneak by Gardiner; Alt’s kick was good. 

Score 21-14.

The Warriors tried to rally in the final minutes of the game, hurrying up the offense and trying to go to the air. But, with heavy rush pressure from the Wildcats, they were unable to prevail.

Final score 21-14 Wildcats.

The Warriors had a rough night to be sure, playing hard, but ultimately falling to a resilient rival who had fewer mishaps. They had 161 yards of offense on the night, a mark gashed by two devastating  negative plays on bobbled balls that they covered up for a combined -31 yards. They soared in the air, however, like they had not done in the past season and a half – racking up 137 yards passing. Shinaberry completed 13 of 17 passes to a variety of targets. But the Warriors (counting the -31 yards) only rushed for 24 yards, stymied by a stout and  aggressive Wildcat frontline – allowing 251 yards of offense by the Wildcats.

Leading in rushing were Baldwin with 11 rushes for 28 yards, Shinaberry with 18 rushes or scrambles for 22, and Senior #88 Dalton Hendrick with 1 rush for 5.

The silver lining in the game to counter the raincloud that was the rushing game came from the air attack by the Warriors. 
On his best outing to date as a passer, Shinaberry completed 13 of 17 attempts, averaging 10.5 yards per throw. Over the night he targeted five different Warrior receivers. Leading the way on receiving yards was Sophomore #5 Cage Burdette with four receptions for 59 yards, Junior Half-Back #32 Jacob Barkley with three catches for 42 yards, Senior #88 Dalton Hendrick with three catches for 25, Baldwin with two for six yards, and Junior #24 Logan Ryder with one catch for five.

The Warriors will travel to Baker Friday night, September 20, to face the East Hardy Cougars.

Kickoff at 7 p.m.

Please join us for more Warrior football.

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