NEWTOWN – The defending Class AA state champion Wayne High School football team blazed a trail through Mingo County and defeated the Miners 40-12 last Friday night at Buck Harless Stadium.
Wayne came into the game ranked No. 3 with a 27-game winning streak and they are the team to beat in the Cardinal Conference.
The Pioneers normally use their outstanding running game, however, in the first half they went to the passing game to take the early lead.
The Miners only trailed 13-0 at halftime and made several good defensive stands against the Pioneers.
They just could not get their offense into gear.
Wayne took the opening kickoff and two pass plays later quickly scored the first touchdown of the game as quarterback Grant Ferguson connected with Zach Rice. Drew Stamper booted the extra point to make it 7-0. The drive went 59 yards on passes of 28 and 31 yards.
After a three-and-out by Mingo Central, Wayne took over again. This time Ferguson was intercepted by Miner’s senior Alex Lee, which stopped any threat by Wayne.
Mingo’s offense showed some punch with an 11-play drive which ate up a lot of the play clock in the first quarter as they moved the ball deep into Pioneer territory. However, they were not able to hit paydirt and Wayne took over on downs.
The game continued to be hard-hitting.
In the second quarter, sophomore Deonte Joplin recovered a Wayne fumble, which excited the hometown crowd. Unfortunately, on the very first offensive play by Mingo Central, they fumbled it right back to Wayne.
The Pioneers had good field position by taking the ball over on the Miners’ 20-yard line. Two plays later Ferguson hit Cody Stiltner on a 15-yard TD pass. The conversion try was no good, but the visitors led 13-0 with 6:20 remaining in the half.
Once again Mingo showed some spark on offense as quarterback Stevie Hammond hit Nathaniel Abbott on a nice first down play to the 40-yard line. However, Wayne turned up the defensive pressure and stalled the Miner drive. Wayne took over on the 40, but the MCHS defense had another fine stand to keep the Pioneers in check.
With 9:45 to go in the third quarter, Wayne’s Zack Rice capped a five-play drive with a 12-yard touchdown run. The TD was set up on a nice run by fullback Mason Hodge. The score gave Wayne a 20-0 lead.
With 3:25 left in the third quarter, Nathan Spurlock scored on a 10-yard TD run. Stamper’s kick made it 27-0, which is how the score stood heading into the final quarter.
That’s when Mingo Central showed it still had a little fight left. Hammond threw a strike to Lee for a 25-yard touchdown. The conversion failed, but the Miners had their first score of the night.
On Wayne’s first play of its next drive the Pioneers coughed the football up and Mingo’s Justin Parker recovered. Then lighting struck twice in the same place as Hammond hit Lee again on another beautiful TD pass — this one went 28 yards and the Miners had some life. The conversion pass failed, but the score was 27-12 and Mingo showed Wayne that they were not about to quit.
However, the Pioneers took the first play from scrimmage after the ensuing kickoff to the end zone as Ferguson made a great fake and kept the ball rushing to paydirt from 60 yards out.
At that point, the game saw three touchdowns in just 25 seconds of play.
Wayne turned up the heat after that as Cody Stiltner scored a TD with 9:21 left in the game. Stamper’s kick made it 40-12 and that is what the scoreboard showed when the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Hammond ended up 13-of-23 passing for 151 yards and two interceptions. Lee caught five passes for 64 yards and a pair of TDs. Mingo Central ended up with 229 total yards of offense. The running backs were held in check. Joplin, Chase Justice, Chance Lester and Dekwon Willis had a few good runs, but could never break free of the tough Wayne defense.
Wayne finished with 346 total yards on offense. Ferguson had 75 yards on the ground, while Hodge rolled up 78. Ferguson was 5-of-8 passing for 96 yards and a pair of TDs. Stiltner caught three passes for 55 yards and two TDs.
The Pioneers did turn the ball over four times to Mingo Central — one interception and three fumbles. They had only one turnover for the season coming into the game with the Miners.
Mingo Central’s leading rusher was Chance Lester with 17 carries for 68 yards.
Mingo Central, which was ranked No. 11 in the state this past week, is now 3-2 on the season. They will travel to Poca Friday for another conference game.
Wayne is now 5-0 and will play host to conference foe Scott this weekend.
East Ridge (Ky.) 40,
Tug Valley 28
NAUGATUCK – It was not a happy homecoming game for Tug Valley High School as they lost to the visiting East Ridge (Ky.) Warriors 40-28 on Friday night at Naugatuck.
The Panthers did strike first as quarterback Tyler Conley hit Aaron Copley on a 30-yard touchdown pass. The kick failed, but TVHS led 6-0 after one quarter of play.
In the second, East Ridge took control early in the quarter. With 11:07 left in the half, Michael Fields scored on a 12-yard run. The kick failed and the game was tied at 6-6.
The Warriors scored again with 7:53 left in the second quarter as Barry Young hit Jacob Skeens on a nice 83-yard pass play. Fields kicked the extra point to give ERHS at 13-6 lead.
With 4:57 left in the half, Fields scored another TD for ERHS on a 39-yard run. The PAT was no good, but the Warriors led 19-6.
Tug Valley got another TD with 4:35 remaining in the half to get some momentum back. Once again Conley connected with Copley on a 67-yard TD pass. Conley ran for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 19-14.
East Ridge scored a short time later at the 3:29 mark of the second as Fields ran it into the end zone from 14 yards out. His kick made it 26-14.
Tug Valley scored first in the second half with 8:36 left in the third quarter as Copley intercepted a pass and ran it 93 yards for a touchdown. The kick was no good, but the Panthers had new life cutting the score to 26-20.
East Ridge hit paydirt again with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter as Jacob Skeens hit Jacob Chaney on a 75-yard pass. Young then hit Skeens on the conversion pass as ERHS led 34-20.
The Warriors struck one more time with 4:26 left in the game as Skeens broke free for a 69-yard TD run to give the visitors at 40-20 lead.
Tug Valley didn’t give up and with 47 seconds left in the game, fullback Phillip Lucas scored on a 6-yard run. Conley’s conversion run made it 40-28.
East Ridge finished with 537 yards of total offense with 38 carries for 304 yards on the ground and another 233 yards in the air.
Tug Valley had 322 total yards of offense. The Panthers were held to just 65 yards rushing on 31 carries but Conley was 12-for-25 passing for 257 yards.
Copley had seven receptions for 188 yards and two TDs.
Tug Valley, now 2-4, hosts Valley Fayette this Friday night.