CLEAR FORK, W.Va. — They say that first impressions are the ones last, which is unfortunate for Westside, as the Renegades will probably want to forget their first-ever meeting with the Big Blacks.
The Point Pleasant football team — which has now won a state-best 42 consecutive regular season games — rolled to 483 yards of total offense on Friday night in Wyoming County, as the Big Blacks defeated host Westside by a 52-14 final, in the first-ever game between the two schools.
The Big Blacks (9-0) found paydirt for the first time just over four minutes into play, when senior Grant Safford caught a screen pass from sophomore Cason Payne, and ran 36 yards for the touchdown. Jason Schultz made the point-after kick, giving the guests a 7-0 lead with 7:51 left in the opening period.
The PPHS offense was shut down for over 14 minutes, but got back on the board with 5:43 left in the first half, when Payne scored on a two-yard run. Schultz again added the point-after, giving the Red, Black and White a 14-0 lead.
The Big Blacks didn’t have to wait nearly as long for their next score, as Payne found junior Keshawn Stover for a 47-yard touchdown pass at the 2:16 mark of the second period. Schultz made the point-after kick and the Big Blacks led 21-0.
Point Pleasant wasn’t done in the first half, however, as Payne scored on a seven-yard run with 1:27 left in the half. Schultz again kicked home the PAT, giving the guests a 28-0 lead.
After the halftime break, PPHS picked up right where it left off, as Safford scored on a 16 yard run, just over two minutes into the third quarter. Schultz added the point-after, extending the PPHS advantage to 35-0 with 9:54 remaining in the third.
With 5:22 left in the third, Schultz split the uprights with a 36-yard kick, increasing the Big Blacks’ lead to 38-0.
Westside (3-6) scored for the first time with 2:55 left in the third, as senior Josh Morgan found the endzone on a two-yard run. The Big Blacks stuffed the two-point conversion try, however, and the margin remained 38-6 in favor of the guests.
Point Pleasant answered Westside’s first score with 1:01 left in the third period, as Payne called his own number for a six-yard touchdown run. Schultz made the extra-point kick, making the Big Blacks’ advantage 45-6 with one quarter to play.
In the final quarter — which featured a running clock per WVSSAC rule — Point Pleasant scored first, as Justin Brumfield found paydirt on a five-yard run. Schultz’ extra-point made it a 52-6 PPHS lead with 6:48 remaining.
The final score of the game came with 2:09 left, as WHS sophomore Brady Vance found junior Isaiah Lester for a six-yard TD pass. Brock Smith ran in the two-point conversion, putting the final touches on Point Pleasant’s 52-14 victory.
For the game, Point Pleasant held a 483-to-225 advantage in total offense, including a 285-to-87 edge on the ground. PPHS also posted a 19-to-11 advantage in first downs. The Big Blacks punted twice, three fewer times than the Renegades, but Point Pleasant was penalized eight times for 65 yards, while WHS was flagged three times for 35 yards.
Point Pleasant — which had just one turnover in the win — had four takeaways on defense, led by Cameron Nott with three and Andrew Roach with one.
Safford led the guests in rushing and receiving, carrying the ball 18 times for 102 yards and one touchdown, while hauling in three passes for 63 yards and one score.
Payne — who completed 11-of-20 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns — ran 11 times for 93 yards and three scores.
Brumfield posted 77 yards and one score on seven totes for the Big Blacks, while Jared Icenhower — who completed his only pass attempt for eight yards — gained 13 yards on a pair of rushing tries and caught one 11-yard pass.
Stover ran once for no gain, but caught two passes for 56 yards and a touchdown, while Jason Wamsley caught two passes for 17 yards. Josh Wamsley gained nine yards on two receptions, Alec Smith hauled in one 29-yard pass, while Tucker Mayes added one 13-yard reception.
For Westside, Vance completed 9-of-22 passes for 102 yards and one score, but threw three interceptions. Morgan — who completed 1-of-2 pass attempts for 32 yards — led the guests on the ground with 43 yards and one touchdown on 13 tries, to go with one one-yard reception.
Smith had 41 yards on five rushing tries for the hosts, while Dwight Justus led the Westside receiving corp with four grabs for 79 yards.
The Big Blacks will try to cap off their fourth straight perfect regular season on Friday, when 5-4 Princeton visits Mason County. Point Pleasant has had perfect campaigns in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 1979 and 1969 to go with an unbeaten season in 1962, which did have one tie.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.