ASHTON, W.Va. — There’s nothing better than a big feast before going into hibernation.
Hannan wrapped up its 2016 football campaign on an impressive note Friday night following a 55-0 dismantling of visiting Beallsville in a Week 10 non-conference contest at the Craigo Athletic Complex in Mason County.
The Wildcats (2-7) honored seniors D.C. Janicker, Johnny Graley, Isaiah White and Nick Hughes before the contest, then the hosts spent the rest of the evening ripping apart a 14-man Blue Devils squad that simply couldn’t keep up as the night progressed.
HHS scored the most points it has in a game since posting a 56-0 shutout at Hundred during a Week 2 contest in 2013. The Wildcats also picked up its first shutout at home since notching a 46-0 decision over Hundred later that same season.
In fact, Hannan scored more points on Friday night than the total number of yards that the Blue Devils (0-10) produced. HHS outgained the guests by a sizable 447-48 overall margin in total yards of offense.
As lop-sided as the final outcome ended up being, the first 16 minutes of regulation proved to be quite a dog fight as the hosts were clinging to a slim one-possession lead.
Quarterback Logan Nibert broke a handful of tackles and rumbled 37 yards to paydirt at the 5:13 mark of the first quarter, giving the Wildcats a 6-0 advantage.
After coming up with a big stop on fourth-and-6, the Cats took over possession at the BHS 36. Three plays later, the hosts more than doubled their lead as Nibert broke off a 38-yard scamper for a 14-0 edge with 7:25 left until halftime.
Hannan forced another fourth down stop on Beallsville’s next possession, then marched 46 yards in six plays to increase its lead after Junior Morehart scored on a 37-yard run with 3:06 remaining — making it a 20-0 contest.
Nathan McQueen recovered an onside kick on the following play, then HHS needed six plays to cover 30 yards for another score as Michael Lowe hauled in a 11-yard pass from Nibert for a 27-0 cushion with 31.3 seconds left before halftime.
Both teams traded possessions to start the second half, then McQueen picked off a pass on Beallsville’s next possession — giving the hosts the ball at the BHS 19.
Matt Qualls followed with a 19-yard touchdown run on the next play, which led to a 33-0 advantage with 7:25 remaining in the third quarter.
The Hannan defense forced two more consecutive stops in the third period, both of which led to scoring drives. Lowe capped a five-play, 44-yard drive with a 20-yard TD run at the 3:19 mark, then Janicker ended a two-play, 29-yard drive with a 29-yard TD run with 45.4 seconds left for a 49-0 advantage.
Both teams traded fumbles and Beallsville failed on a fourth down conversion try, giving HHS the ball at the BHS 49.
The Wildcats needed just three plays to cover 49 yards as Jordan Fitzwater plunged in from a yard out with 6:31 left in regulation, wrapping up the scoring at 55-0.
Hannan — which finished plus-1 in turnover differential — also had three touchdown runs called back in the contest, including a pair of those in the first half.
After entering the year having lost 17 consecutive contests, second-year HHS coach Brian Scott was very pleased with the way things went in the Wildcats’ season finale. He also believes it will be real motivator headed into the 2017 campaign.
“It was a great way for us to go out this season and a great way to send off those four seniors,” Scott said. “It’s a huge boost for our underclassmen headed into the offseason and we all get to enjoy this one for a little while. I am truly proud of the way that these guys put it all together tonight.”
The hosts claimed a 17-4 advantage in first downs and were also penalized six times for 55 yards, compared to five flags for 50 yards for the Blue Devils.
Hannan — with almost 400 more yards of total offense — did a majority of its damage on the ground after rushing for 427 yards on 41 attempts, an average of 10.4 yards per carry.
Nibert led HHS with 156 rushing yards on nine carries, followed by Janicker with 96 yards on 13 attempts. Morehart also had 77 yards on five totes.
Nibert finished the night 2-of-7 passing for 20 yards to go along with a touchdown. Lowe had a TD grab of 11 yards and Chris Exline also hauled in a pass for nine yards.
Juniors James Edmonds and Riley Griffith recorded two sacks apiece and accounted for four of the seven Wildcat sacks in the triumph. Classmate Mike See also recovered a fumble a fumble in the third quarter.
The Blue Devils accumulated 74 yards through the passing game, but finished the night with minus 26 yards of rushing on 34 attempts.
Dakkota Milosavljevic had 17 carries for zero yards and was the only BHS rusher to not finish the game with negative yardage.
Dakkota Phillips was 4-of-13 passing for 69 yards and threw one pick. Phillips was also ejected from the game for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with just over six minutes left on a running fourth quarter clock.
Wyatt Brewer led the Beallsville wideouts with three grabs for 29 yards. Both Milosavljevic and James Schnegg had a catch apiece for 27 and 18 yards, respectively.
Brewer also recovered a fumble for the Blue Devils in the fourth quarter.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.