POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A statement win in a statement game.
In a battle of top-five AAA unbeatens, the Point Pleasant football team simply dominated visiting Oak Hill Friday night during a 49-15 victory in a Week 7 non-conference gridiron matchup at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
The fourth-ranked Big Blacks (6-0) churned out 406 rushing yards and 500 yards of total offense while also limiting the high-powered Red Devils to just seven points over 42-plus minutes of regulation. Fifth-ranked Oak Hill (5-1) finished the night with just 271 yards of total offense, despite running 15 more offensive plays in the setback.
PPHS forced three turnovers and finished the night plus-2 in turnover differential, and two of those takeaways resulted in 14 first half points. The hosts also broke away from a 7-all tie early in the second canto by reeling off 42 consecutive points before allowing Oak Hill’s final score with 5:04 left in regulation.
Point Pleasant ran the ball 37 times for an average of 10.97 yards per carry and was also a perfect 6-for-6 in the passing game. Kicker Colin Peal was perfect on seven point-after tries and also helped the defense win field position after some deep kickoffs — including a touchback.
But at the end of the night, it was the defense that again came through in the clutch — limiting the Red Devils to just 4.2 yards per carry on 45 attempts. The Big Blacks also accomplished their goal of shutting down OHHS running back Jalen Jones, who finished the night with just 63 rushing yards on 24 totes.
In all, it was about as good a night as PPHS head coach Dave Darst could have asked for.
“Our defense has really bought in this year, and we’re so proud of the way we’re playing defense right now,” Darst said. “That Jones kid has a real chance of being the Kennedy Award winner and I know he put up some yards tonight, but he didn’t break any big runs on us like he did last year. We did a great job of keeping him and them contained.
“We were due for one of these offensively. We hadn’t been clicking over the last couple of weeks, but we were back to clicking tonight. I am hoping that after tonight our offense is ready to take it to another level.
“Another big key for us tonight was our special teams. Colin (Peal) did an excellent job on kickoffs and he is still perfect on PAT kicks this year. We were just solid in all three phases of the game tonight.”
Oak Hill took the opening kickoff ran 14 plays all the way down to the Point 23-yard line before losing the ball on downs. PPHS countered with a 3-play, 77-yard drive that resulted in a score — and possibly provided the spark for the rest of the contest.
After running two plays out to the PPHS 45, Cody Mitchell took a handful to the right side and bounced off a would-be tackler, then spun out of the tackle and raced an additional 30 yards to paydirt. Mitchell’s 55-yard YouTube-quality jaunt gave the hosts a 7-0 advantage with 4:17 left in the opening period.
The Red Devils, however, countered with an 11-play, 60-yard scoring drive of their own on the following possession, capped by a Kadrin Goodman 17-yard run that tied the game at seven with 11:08 left until halftime.
Mitchell added his second TD run of the night at the 8:44 mark of the second after capping an 8-play, 68-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge, making it a 14-7 contest.
Oak Hill fumbled on its ensuing possession, and Point made the most of the opportunity after Chase Walton plunged in from three yards out — giving the hosts a 21-7 edge with 4:54 remaining in the first half.
The Red Devils fumbled again on their ensuing possession, and the Big Blacks again took advantage of the situation after Walton broke off a 48-yard run to paydirt with 13 seconds left until halftime — giving Point Pleasant a sizable 28-7 cushion at the break.
The Big Blacks held a 229-137 overall edge in total yardage at halftime, despite running 20 offensive plays compared to Oak Hill’s 38. PPHS had a small 9-8 edge in first downs and all four turnovers in the contest came in the opening 24 minutes of regulation.
Walton scored his third and final touchdown of the night just 18 seconds into the second half, as the senior rumbled 59 yards to the end zone for a 35-7 lead with 11:42 remaining in the third period.
Jon Peterson hauled in a 30-yard scoring pass from Aden Yates at the 5:18 mark of the third for a 42-7 edge, then Austen Toler finished Point’s scoring on an 11-yard run at the 8:51 mark of the fourth for a 49-7 advantage.
Joey Re came up with the game’s final TD at the 5:04 mark after hauling in a 6-yard scoring pass from Deonte Scruggs, allowing Oak Hill to pull to within 49-13. Jones did add a successful 2-point conversion run, ending the game at its 34-point outcome.
The Big Blacks finished the night with a 19-14 edge in first downs and did not punt the ball once in the triumph. Oak Hill had two punts for an average of 46 yards and was flagged eight times for 41 yards, compared to just three penalties for 15 yards for Point Pleasant.
Walton led the ground attack with seven carries for 170 rushing yards, followed by Mitchell with 149 yards on 15 attempts. Aden Yates was next with 25 rushing yards on four carries, while Grant Safford had 24 yards on five tries.
Austen Toler, Gage Buskirk and Cody Marcum each ran the ball twice for respective totals of 15, 15 and eight yards as well.
Yates finished the evening a perfect 6-for-6 passing for 94 yards, with Walton leading the wideouts with two catches for 38 yards. Buskirk hauled in two passes for eight yards, while Peterson and Mitchell each had a catch for 30 and 18 yards respectively.
Jarrell Green led the Red Devils with 83 rushing yards on 11 carries and Kadrin Goodman added 44 yards on 10 carries. Scruggs finished the night 6-of-13 passing for 81 yards, which included one touchdown and one interception. Goodman led the wideouts with four grabs for 58 yards.
Point Pleasant returns to action Friday night when it hosts Ravenswood in a Week 8 Homecoming contest at OVB Track and Field at 7:30 p.m.