POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A great start and some clutch moments down the stretch.
The Point Pleasant football team found the end zone on four of its first five possessions, and scored on twice in the fourth quarter on Friday night at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field, as the Big Blacks defeated visiting Keyser 38-28 on Homecoming.
The Golden Tornado (4-2) — who had won three in a row entering play — scored on the game’s opening drive, with quarterback Gavin Root finding paydirt at the end of a 22-yard run. Seth Earnest made his first of four point-after kicks, giving the guests a 7-0 lead 2:47 into play.
The Big Blacks (2-2) answered on their first drive, going 69 yards in 12 plays, with sophomore Evan Roach scoring on a one-yard run. Elicia Wood made her first of five extra-point kicks, tying the game at seven with 4:05 left in the first.
After forcing a three-and-out, PPHS got the ball back on its own 47. Eight plays later, Roach gave the hosts a 14-7 lead with a six-yard touchdown run with 53 seconds remaining in the opening period.
The Golden Tornado went 64 yards in eight plays, and tied the game at 14 on a 14-yard Drae Allen touchdown run 1:26 into the second quarter.
Next, Point Pleasant put together another 12-play scoring drive, going ahead 21-14 with a nine-yard run by Roach with 7:02 remaining in the half.
The Big Blacks recovered the ensuing kickoff, but went three-and-out and Keyser took over at the PPHS 43 after a long punt return. However, the Big Blacks got the ball back two plays later with a Zander Watson interception.
Seven plays after Waton’s interception, with just 51 seconds left in the half, the hosts went up 28-14 when Joel Beattie made a one-handed grab in the end zone on an 11-yard pass from Hunter Bush.
The Big Blacks were forced to punt on their first drive of the second half, but an interception by Roach got the ball back for the hosts. However, Caden Youngblood returned the favor, intercepting a pass for KHS and returning it to the PPHS 34.
On the very next play, Samuel Bradfield carried to the ball to the end zone, cutting the PPHS lead to 28-21 with 4:57 left in the third quarter.
Point Pleasant took the game into the fourth quarter with a 12-play drive, and went up 31-21 on a 28-yard field goal by Wood with 10:45 to play.
The guests cut the deficit to 31-28 with a 12-play, 45-yard drive, with Root tossing a two-yard touchdown pass to Dameain Emerick on a fourth-and-goal.
The hosts responded with a 10-play, 48-yard drive, and a three-yard touchdown run by Beattie gave the hosts a 38-28 lead with 1:48 to go.
Keyser turned the ball over on downs 41 yards from the end zone on its final possession.
In the 38-28 win, Point Pleasant earned a 26-to-15 edge in first downs, with a 376-to-245 advantage in total offense. The hosts won the turnover battle by a 3-to-1 count, but were penalized nine times for 95 yards, while Keyser was sent back three times for a total of 20.
Bush — who ran 13 times for 23 yards — completed 28-of-33 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown. Bush’s 28 passes completed passes breaks a school record, which was 27 completions by Cason Payne against Bluefield in 2017.
Evan Roach ran 25 times for a team-best 120 yards and three touchdowns, while also catching three passes for 28 yards. Beattie had 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns, combining eight receptions with a carry.
Zane Wamsley caught eight passes for 61 yards, Trey Peck hauled in three passes for 33 yards, while Brady Cunningham and Riley Oliver had two receptions apiece, earning 17 and nine yards respectively. Cody Shultz had seven yards on one reception, while Brooks Pearson ran twice and picked up seven yards.
For Keyser, Root — who ran six times for 23 yards and touchdown — was 5-of-10 passing for 38 yards and a score. Allen led the guests on the ground with 102 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Bradfield had 65 yards and a touchdown, combining six carries and a catch, Zion Powell added 32 total yards over seven carries and two receptions, while Emerick ended with 13 yards and a touchdown on two catches.
The Big Blacks next opponent is yet to be determined.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.