POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — It wasn’t perfect, but it was more than enough to remain that way.
The Point Pleasant football team picked up its state-best 37th consecutive regular season victory while winning a battle of state-ranked unbeatens Friday night during a resounding 41-12 decision over visiting Logan in a Week 4 non-conference contest at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
The Big Blacks (4-0) never trailed as the hosts stormed out to a 14-0 advantage through nine minutes of play, but a costly fumble late in the opening quarter gave the Wildcats (3-1) good field position at the PPHS 29-yard line.
Ninth-ranked Logan needed just four plays to cover the distance as Michael Hall scored on a 16-yard run with 10:39 remaining, making it a 14-6 contest.
After a defensive stand of three-and-out, LHS closed the deficit down to two as Hall hauled in a 70-yard TD pass from David Early for a 14-12 deficit with 6:49 left in the first half.
The Wildcats, however, were never closer — and pretty much held in check the rest of the way.
Fourth-ranked PPHS responded with a four-play, 79-yard drive on its enduing possession as Jason Wamsley hauled in a pass from Cason Payne while shaking a defender. Wamsley’s catch went 70 yards to the house with 4:49 remaining, giving the hosts a 21-12 cushion.
Logan was forced to punt on its next possession, then Point went 71 yards in seven plays to get into range for a successful 27-yard field goal by Jason Schultz as time expired — giving PPHS a 24-12 edge at the break.
The Big Blacks simply dominated the second half, producing 205 of the team’s 347 total rushing yards after the break. Logan, meanwhile, mustered only 55 total yards of offense following the intermission.
Payne capped the opening second half drive — which covered 80 yards in seven plays — following a 6-yard scoring run at the 8:28 mark for a 31-12 contest.
Both teams traded fumbles to start the fourth quarter, then Schultz added his second field goal of the night — this time from 26 yards — for a 34-12 contest with 10:23 left in regulation.
Grant Safford completed a 10-play, 67-yard drive with a two-yard run at the 3:11 mark of the fourth, which finished a run of 27 unanswered points en route to the 29-point triumph.
Both teams lost two fumbles apiece in the game, but Point Pleasant also came away with an early first quarter pick by Payne. That plus-1 in turnover differential also led to 17-7 advantage in points scored on those takeaways.
Following a Josh Wamsley fumble recovery on the opening drive, the Big Blacks marched 65 yards in six plays to take a 7-0 advantage as Safford scored on a 3-yard run with 7:40 remaining.
Payne’s interception came on the ensuing drive, then Payne capped a nine-play, 59-yard drive with a 6-yard TD scamper for a 14-0 advantage with three minutes left in the opening frame.
Point Pleasant finished the evening with a 470-203 overall lead in total offensive yards, including a sizable 347-56 edge on the ground. The hosts also doubled up Logan in first downs with a 26-13 advantage.
Following the game, 10th year Point Pleasant coach Dave Darst spoke about the significance of Friday night’s win — which resulted in Point’s 17th straight regular season victory at home. PPHS has also knocked off Logan in its last five outings.
“I’m just proud of the kids. You know, with it being Hall of Fame night, there were distractions and there was a lot to play for, especially in trying to keep this winning streak alive,” Darst said. “Sometimes that streak can be a bear in itself just because we take everyone’s best shot. We made some adjustments at halftime and our lines started dominating there in the second half. We did a lot of positive things in all three phases, but I was most proud of the way our defense stepped up tonight. It was just a good all-around win.”
Darst was also quick to show praise for his senior running back, who finished the night with 193 rushing yards and two TDs on 28 carries.
“What a night that Grant Safford had running that football. He was simply a man possessed,” Darst said. “He simply refused to go down and it inspired our football team. I don’t know or care how many yards he had, but this is the greatest football game that he has ever played here at Point Pleasant.”
Payne also had two rushing scores to go along with 136 yards on 21 attempts. Besides the interception, Payne was also 5-of-8 passing for 123 yards — throwing one touchdown and zero picks.
Josh Wamsley led the Point wideouts with two grabs for 22 yards and Jason Wamsley had the one TD grab that covered 70 yards.
Alec Smith and Dakota Booth also had a catch apiece for 27 and four yards, respectively. Smith’s grab came with only four-tenths of a second left before halftime, which set up the first of Schultz’s two successful field goals.
Smith also recovered a fumble for the hosts, who also recorded four sacks in the victory. Tucker Mayes had consecutive sacks in the third canto, while Andrew Roach and Zach Wamsley also had a sack apiece.
Point Pleasant was penalized 11 times for 90 yards, while the Wildcats were flagged seven times for 80 yards.
Hall led the Wildcats with 37 rushing yards on five carries, followed by Tyler Browning with 21 yards on two attempts.
Early finished the night 14 of 20 passing for 173 yards, which included one touchdown and one interception. The freshman quarterback also had just 17 rushes on seven attempts, mainly due to the four sacks.
Browning led the LHS wideouts with five grabs for 43 yards, followed by Jamal Minter with four catches for 27 yards. Hall also hauled in three passes for 85 yards and a score.
Logan senior Braxton Goff recovered both Point Pleasant fumbles, one in each half.
Devin Hensley added two catches for 18 yards and one rush for three yards. Goff had two rushes for five yards and no catches.
On defense, Minter led Logan with 10 tackles. Shawntez Matthews had eight and Daniel Browning seven. Goff had six, while Hensley had five stops. Cody Maynard and Tyler Browning had four tackles apiece. Musco Adams, Chucky Felder and Trey Jude had three tackles each. Cezar Cruz had two tackles and Hall and Elijah Adkins had one tackle each.
Jude, Daniel Browning and Hall each had a special teams tackle.
Goff had a sack and Minter had a caused fumble. Goff also recovered two fumbles.
“I thought that Michael Hall had his best game of the year and Musco Adams and Tyler Mileto really played hard and flew to the ball,” Logan coach Gary Mullins said.
Both teams return to action Friday as Point Pleasant travels to Mount View, while Logan will host Chapmanville. Both Week 5 contests are slated to kickoff at 7:30 p.m.
* Logan QB David Early was the Cardinal Conference’s leading passer heading into Friday night’s game at Point Pleasant.
Early was 37 of 61 passing for 727 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Sissonville’s Chance Brown was second with 566 passing yards, nine TDs and one pick. He had connected on 33 of 58 passes.
* Braxton Goff was second in the Cardinal Conference in receiving with 11 catches for 245 yards and three TDs. Jamal Minter was fourth with 11 grabs for 212 yards and three scores. Michael Hall was eighth in the league with seven catches for 165 yards and three TDs.
Goff was also the leading scorer in the conference with eight total touchdowns.
— Logan Banner Sports Editor Paul Adkins contributed to this report.
2016 Logan High School
Football Schedule (3-1):
Aug. 25: Man (Coalfield Kickoff Classic), W 48-13
Sept. 2: *Poca (Hall of Fame Game), W 61-11
Sept. 9: Lincoln County, W 40-13
Sept. 16: at Point Pleasant, L 12-41
Sept. 23: *Chapmanville (Homecoming), 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30: Open Date
Oct. 7: at John Marshall, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14: at Greenbrier East, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21: *Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 28: at Oak Hill, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 4: *at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
*Cardinal Conference game