Warriors vs Bath ~ in the mud

Aaron Pugh
Contributing Writer

The Warriors have gone through ups and downs to get to week six of the 2018 season. The Warriors spent the first part developing their young players into a cohesive unit. They hit something of a stride with a win over the East Hardy Cougars in week four and an excellent showing against the Lumberjacks in week five. On September 28, they hosted their neighbors from across the state line, the Bath County Chargers, a 2-2 team with a roster of seniors, led by quarterback #2 Trey Shaver.

The night had an inauspicious start, the rain from the days leading up to the game left the field at Warrior Stadium with a lot of standing water and ankle deep mud. Coupled with the field conditions, Bath County had to fight against flooding and school cancellation at home, fortunately both teams were able to pull off the game that began on a wonderful fall evening.
The night was one that revolved around the ground game, with both teams relying on a lot of north and south running, a plan that worked well for both and resulted in a classic, high tension, mudslinging, football game.

The Chargers, loaded with seniors, drew first blood after a good drive when Shaver finished off a series with an eight-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The Warriors echoed their first quarter score after rumbling down the field for five plays and set up senior running back #34 Jacob Jones to mud-bog 18 yards for a touchdown, score at the end of the first quarter, 7 – 6.

The Warriors played strong defense and held off the Chargers offense, but on the first play of their second offensive series they threw an interception, but held off the Chargers again, stalling out two of their offensive attempts. In the second quarter, the Warriors finished up an eight play drive starting on their own 20, with a touchdown run by junior quarterback #6 Dillon Shinaberry from 10 yards out.

Coming into the back half of the second quarter the Warriors held the Chargers after 10 plays to take over on downs and were in position to start driving the other way, but two plays into the new series, they fumbled on their own 32-yard line to set up Shaver and company for a new drive. Seven plays later Shaver connected with #2 Cole Plott from 16 yards out, then completed a two-point conversion out of a “muddle huddle” when #6 Sean Gardenet threw to a drag route by Plott. Score at halftime, 14 – 14.

Coming out in the second half the field conditions started taking their toll, and it turned into a largely defensive slugfest. The Warriors got the ball to start the half and after seven plays Jones punched in his second touchdown on the night from five yards out; Shinaberry got the point after, score 21 – 14.

The Chargers answered nine plays later though, driving down the field and setting Shaver up for a two-yard run, and a point after to tie the game 21 – 21.

The fourth quarter saw the Warriors holding the Chargers out of the end zone, the Chargers went to the air and a roughing the passer penalty against the Warriors gave them hope and set them up within field goal range, #6 Sean Gardenet made a 36-yard field goal to put the Chargers ahead 21 – 24 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors set up a powerful drive, starting at their own 20-yard line and systematically marched the ball down the field and ticked seconds off the clock. Eleven plays later the Warriors were set up for third and goal on the one yard line. But it was not meant to be. A run to the right saw the Chargers stiffen and foil Shinaberry’s run, driving him back 11 yards. On fourth and goal, in ankle deep mud, the Warriors attempted to catch the Chargers defense off guard by going to the air with 6.6 seconds left on the clock – but failed to complete the pass. The final play saw Shaver kneel the ball to end the game. Final score, 21 – 24.

The night was a heartbreaker for Pocahontas. The Warriors pounded away and had a dominating game on the ground, racking up 335 yards of rushing, and the Chargers had an impressive showing with 252. Shinaberry, as has become his calling card, led the way for the Warriors with 21 runs for 188 yards and one touchdown. Jones carried the rock 16 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore #10 Keaton Baldwin rounded out the night with six carries for 39 yards. The interception and fumble, coupled with 70 yards in penalties was the death knell for the Warriors in this game.

On the other side of the ball, Shaver led the Charger charge with 17 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns, #4 Connor Call had 23 for 73 yards and #6 Sean Gardenet had six for 64 yards. In the air Shaver and Plott connected once for 16 yards and a touchdown, and once with Gardenet for five yards on the night.

The Warriors will host the Greenbrier West Cavaliers Friday night, October 5, for Homecoming 2018.

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