Big Blacks advance


Point Pleasant slices through Applemen, 54-14

By Bryan Walters - bwalters@civitasmedia.com



Point Pleasant senior John Sommer (12) making a tackle on Musselman’s Jacob Northcraft (44) during the Big Blacks’ 54-14 win over the Applemen in a Class AAA playoff match-up on Friday in Point Pleasant, W.Va.


Donald Lambert/OVP Sports

Point Pleasant senior Cody Mitchell (14) runs for a 32 yard touchdown during the Big Blacks’ 54-14 victory over Musselman, Friday night in Mason County.


Alex Hawley/OVP Sports

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — You never can have too much history.

During a regular season in which Point Pleasant recorded numerous school-bests and a handful of state records in football, senior Cody Mitchell added another feather to the Big Blacks’ cap Friday night by scoring seven times during a 54-14 thumping of visiting Musselman in a Class AAA opening round playoff contest at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.

Mitchell — who finished the night with 203 rushing yards on 20 carries — churned out four rushing touchdowns in the first half en route to a 27-6 advantage, then added TD runs of 20, 67 and 8 yards during the third period for a sizable 47-6 PPHS cushion.

Those seven rushing scores allowed Mitchell — a verbal commit to Marshall University — to become the state’s all-time leader in TDs in a single playoff contest, surpassing the old mark of six set in 2012 by Martinsburg’s Justin Clinton. Mitchell also had scoring runs of 9, 32, 2 and 14 yards in the first half.

“I have to thank the guys up front tonight for the holes they made, much like what they’ve made during the whole season,” Mitchell said afterwards. “The lanes were there and I hit them. It was a pretty easy job for me. The record is nice, but the win means a lot more.”

The second-seeded Big Blacks (11-0) scored all eight of their touchdowns on the ground while producing 532 rushing yards on 55 attempts, an average of 9.7 yards per tote. Conversely, the 15th-seeded Applemen (6-5) mustered only 261 yards of total offense, including a mere 97 rushing yards on 29 attempts.

In all, the Big Blacks outgained MHS by a 563-261 overall margin in total offense despite finishing the night minus-2 in turnover differential. Musselman also picked up its first first down of the night with 6:59 remaining in the first half.

Point Pleasant — which is now 6-2 all-time in playoff contests at OVB Field — advances to next weekend’s Class AAA quarterfinal round against seventh-seeded Huntington (9-2), which defeated George Washington by a 25-7 count. The day and time of the game won’t be determined until Sunday, but the contest will be played in Point Pleasant.

Following the game, ninth-year PPHS coach Dave Darst was about as pleased as any coach would be following a playoff victory. And, as he noted, he’s seen quite a bit of that effort from his troops this fall.

“What can I say except this is the way our kids have played all year long,” Darst said. “Our offensive line just did an outstanding job tonight of adjusting to what Musselman was doing, and our young quarterback did some positive things for us in his first playoff game. Our defense pretty much did what it has always done since we’ve been in triple-A, and Cody, Cody just gave us another outstanding performance like he does every week.

“It’s just a testament to the hard work that these kids have put in at Point Pleasant, and they believe in our program. The kids enjoy playing the game here, which is what makes it so special for us.”

The Applemen came away with a turnover on the opening drive of the game after Robert Glover intercepted a pass by Point quarterback Cason Payne, but the Green and Red were quickly forced into a three-and-out on their ensuing drive.

PPHS followed with three consecutive scoring drives that covered 80, 68 and 38 yards, which allowed the hosts to take a 20-0 advantage 8:16 mark of the second stanza.

Musselman needed 14 offensive plays and gained a meager 17 yards before moving the chains for the first time, then Latrell Warr broke a few PPHS tackles and rumbled 58 yards to paydirt on the next play — making it a 20-6 contest with 6:39 remaining in the half.

The Applemen were never closer, as Mitchell capped a 73-yard drive with his fourth score — giving the Red, Black and White a comfortable 27-6 cushion at the break.

The hosts outgained Musselman by a 269-132 margin in total yards during the first half, including a sizable 238-91 edge on the ground. PPHS had 13 first downs in the opening 24 minutes, compared to only four by the guests.

Grant Safford gave Point its largest lead of the night at 54-6 after breaking away on a 44-yard touchdown run at the 9:31 mark of the fourth.

Glover capped the scoring with a 66-yard catch and run on a pass from Warr, which allowed the guests to close to within 40 points with 9:13 left in regulation.

Mitchell also had the Big Blacks’ lone takeaway following an interception just before halftime. Place-kicker Jason Schultz was also 6-of-8 on extra-point attempts for the hosts.

PPHS did not attempt a punt in the contest and was flagged four times for 32 yards, while MHS was penalized five times for 60 yards and also punted five times for an average of 44 yards. Point Pleasant also claimed a 26-6 overall advantage in first downs.

The Big Blacks had three back accumulate over 100 rushing yards in the triumph. Besides Mitchell, Safford finished the night with 170 yards on 23 carries and Payne had 127 yards on eight attempts. Nathan Bowman and Sheb Harris also carried the ball twice apiece for 22 and 10 yards, respectively.

Payne finished the night 2-of-5 passing for 31 yards, which included one interception. Cody McDaniel had one catch for 26 yards and Jordan Cunningham had one grab for five yards.

Warr paced Musselman with 79 rushing yards on 13 carries and also went 9-of-16 passing for 164 yards, which included one touchdown and one interception. Chance Petry had a team-high four catches for 58 yards.

The Big Blacks have now won a playoff game in each of the last three postseasons, with all of those wins coming at home. It’s also the first time in program history that PPHS has had three straight postseasons with at least one victory.

Other Class AAA winners from Friday night included Cabell Midland, Martinsburg, Huntington and Brooke. There are a trio of Class AAA opening round games on the slate for Saturday as well.

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

Point Pleasant senior John Sommer (12) making a tackle on Musselman’s Jacob Northcraft (44) during the Big Blacks’ 54-14 win over the Applemen in a Class AAA playoff match-up on Friday in Point Pleasant, W.Va.
http://mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_11.14-PP-Sommer.jpgPoint Pleasant senior John Sommer (12) making a tackle on Musselman’s Jacob Northcraft (44) during the Big Blacks’ 54-14 win over the Applemen in a Class AAA playoff match-up on Friday in Point Pleasant, W.Va. Donald Lambert/OVP Sports

Point Pleasant senior Cody Mitchell (14) runs for a 32 yard touchdown during the Big Blacks’ 54-14 victory over Musselman, Friday night in Mason County.
http://mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_11.14-PP-Mitchell.jpgPoint Pleasant senior Cody Mitchell (14) runs for a 32 yard touchdown during the Big Blacks’ 54-14 victory over Musselman, Friday night in Mason County. Alex Hawley/OVP Sports
Point Pleasant slices through Applemen, 54-14

By Bryan Walters

bwalters@civitasmedia.com

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