Warriors tame the Mountain Lions

Aaron Pugh
Contributing Writer

Despite the chaos of the 2020 school year, the Pocahontas County High School Warriors were able to get in their second game of the season in. This time the Warriors made the trip to Parsons to face off with the 0-1 Tucker County Mountain Lions who were coming off a loss to Tygarts Valley in the modified week one.

PCHS was seeking to rebound after a loss to the Moorefield Yellow Jackets, and succeeded in redeeming themselves. They made major improvements, showing more cohesion as a team than the week before.

The Warriors began by receiving the kick off, and managing to set up shop on their own 29 yard line. They started with some electricity with a 23-yard run by senior #10 Keaton Baldwin, followed the next play by senior #8 Haiden Gladwell, who ran a sweep for 19 yards. Three plays later, the Mountain Lions stalled the Warrior steam roller. Senior #14 Jacob Davis and the field goal unit were sent in and completed a field goal from 39 yards out with plenty of clearance.

Score 3-0 Warriors.

The Warriors then forced a 3 and out following their kickoff to the Mountain Lions. PCHS and TCHS would spend the rest of the first quarter going back and forth, but the Mountain Lions would find their lone success against the Warrior defense, connecting in the air for a 13-yard touchdown pass, but the Warriors would stuff the two-point conversion.

Score 6-3 Mountain Lions.

The Warriors hit the throttle in the second quarter, and the rest of the night would belong to them.

Coach Doug Burns’ offense came right back and finished a seven play series with Gladwell scoring on a sweep from 10 yards out; but Davis’ point after attempt was muffed.

Score 9-6 Warriors.

Following the kickoff, Coach Matt Buzzard’s defense would show stoutness forcing another 3 and out, and nearly intercepting a Mountain Lion pass attempt. The offense complemented this with a six play drive, and with less than a minute to go in the half, they punched in a 4-yard touchdown run by Baldwin. Baldwin’s attempt at a 2-point conversion was not successful.

Score 15-6 Warriors.

On the second play after kickoff, an iffy snap by Tucker County and a hit from senior D-Lineman #73 Matt Hipes caused a fumble that was recovered by senior #51 D-End John Fitzgerald. With seconds left in the half, Baldwin and company set-up shop one more time. Two plays later Baldwin would connect with junior WR #4 Frankie Burgess for a 21-yard touchdown pass. Point after by Davis was good.

Score 22-6 Warriors.

The Warriors would play safe in the second half, but still managed to work a little more offensive magic. With 21 seconds left in the third quarter, Baldwin capped off a series with a 16- yard touchdown run. Davis’ point after was good.

Score 29-6 Warriors.

With 5:07 left in the fourth quarter, Baldwin would get his hat-trick on the ground with a third rushing touchdown – this time from 24 yards out. Point after by Davis was good.

Score 36-6 Warriors.

Following that score PCHS rotated in the young Warriors.

In 56 offensive plays, the Warriors finished with a whopping 405 yards of offense (an average of 7.2 yards per play), vs the Mountain Lions, who had 76 yards of total offense on 40 plays.

On the ground the Warriors racked up an impressive 305 yards rushing, dominated by the three-headed monster, the senior trio of: #10 Keaton Baldwin (116 yards on 16 carries and 3 touchdowns), #8 Haiden Gladwell (137 yards on 14 carries and 1 touchdown) and #24 Logan Ryder running as the power back with 47 yards on 13 carries).

The JV squad chimed in, with sophomores #9 Nacota Smith with one carry for 5 yards; #6 Brayden Hayhurst with one for 4 yards; and #11 Evan Hamrick with one carry for 1 yard. Passing continues to improve. Baldwin was still spreading the ball around, targeting five receivers on his eight attempts. He completed 4 of those for an even 100 yards in the air. Two to Haiden Gladwell for 64 yards; one to #4 Frankie Burgess for 21 yards and a touchdown; and one to #24 Logan Ryder on a screen play that had the entire offensive line – seniors #55 Ty Cochran, #51 John Fitzgerald and #66 Jesse Bostic, sophomore #77 Austin Morgan and junior #71 AJ Madison – bulldoze a path for a 15 yard gain. The Warriors were able to force and recover 2 fumbles on the night on defense and hold the Mountain Lions to 76 yards of total offense, 61 yards of that offense and its only touchdown was in the air. Tucker County was held to only 7 completions of 17 attempts and a only 15 yards on 23 attempts, an average of just 0.7 yards per carry, a dominant performance.

The Warriors made great strides from week 1, tightening up several aspects of their performance. But they will need to continue to do so when they host the 1-1 Petersburg Vikings on September 18. The Vikings, who are coming off a rebound win against Pendleton County, recently dropped to A Division and are large and senior heavy.

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