POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Don’t ask Point Pleasant’s seniors what it’s like to lose a regular season game, they never found out.
The Point Pleasant football team capped off its fourth straight perfect regular season with a lopsided 62-13 victory over visiting Princeton, on Friday night at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field.
The Big Blacks (10-0) —who extended their state-best regular season winning streak to 43 games — scored the game’s first points at the 6:15 mark of the first period, when sophomore quarterback Cason Payne called his own number for a three-yard running touchdown. Jason Schultz added the extra-point kick and gave Point Pleasant a 7-0 lead.
After forcing Princeton (5-5) to punt, the Big Blacks were back in the endzone with 1:15 left in the opening period, as Payne connected with junior Keshawn Stover for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Schultz added the point-after kick, giving the hosts a 14-0 lead.
Just over one minute into the second period, Point Pleasant scored again, as senior Grant Safford broke an 18-yard touchdown run. Schultz made the point-after kick to increase the Big Blacks’ lead to 21-0 with 10:54 left in the first half.
An interception by PPHS junior Alec Smith cut the Tigers’ next drive short, and Point Pleasant took over at the PHS 28-yard line. On the very next play, Payne found Stover for a 28-yard scoring pass and widened the PPHS lead to 27-0, with 9:27 left in the first half.
The Tigers made it inside the Big Black 20-yard line on the ensuing drive, but Point Pleasant’s defense came up with its second turnover on downs. A methodical Point Pleasant drive was capped off with 3:40 left in the second quarter, as Safford scored on a three-yard touchdown run and Schultz added the extra point.
The Big Blacks weren’t done in the first half, however, as with 1:23 left, senior Sheb Harris scored on a 12-yard run. Schultz kicked home the extra-point, making the PPHS lead 41-0 at halftime.
After the break, PPHS picked up right where it left off, scoring on the first drive of the second half, as Payne threw a six-yard touchdown pass to senior Dakota Booth.
Ahead 48-0, the Big Blacks’ second offensive unit entered the game and had no problems filling in for the starters. PPHS freshman quarterback Jared Icenhower scored on a 12-yard run with 5:53 left in the third, and freshman running back Brady Adkins scored on a five-yard run with 1:36 left in the third. Schultz was 3-for-3 on third quarter extra-point kicks, making the hosts’ lead 62-0.
The teams elected to play an eight-minute fourth quarter and, per WVSSAC rule, there was a running clock.
Princeton scored its only two touchdowns of the night on the first and final plays of the fourth period, as Je’Ney Hearn broke a 61-yard touchdown run to start the quarter and Jared Hamm scored on a 50-yard run to end the game. Aaron McCabe was 1-of-2 on his fourth quarter extra-point tries, making the final score 62-13 in favor of PPHS.
For the game, Point Pleasant had a 20-to-10 advantage in first downs, and a 547-to-336 edge in total offense, including a 332-to-237 clip on the ground. PHS committed the game’s only two turnovers, as Alec Smith intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. Point Pleasant never punted in the win, while the Tigers were forced to punt four times. Princeton was penalized 10 times for 87 yards, while PPHS was flagged six times for 45 yards.
Payne — who ran seven times for 75 yards and one touchdown — completed 11-of-15 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns. The PPHS sophomore surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground for the season, becoming the first PPHS quarterback to throw for 1,000-yards and rush for 1,000-yards in a season. Payne has thrown 137 times this fall and has yet to throw an interception.
Safford led PPHS on the ground with 125 yards and two scores on 17 carries, to go with one 52-yard reception. Icenhower — who was 1-of-4 passing for 15 yards — ran five times for 49 yards and one score. Justin Brumfield carried the ball twice for 18 yards, Cameron Long added 14 yards on four carries, while Nick Parsons had 11 yards on three tries.
Harris and Adkins both had one carry, scoring a 12-yard touchdown and a five-yard touchdown respectively.
Stover — who had one carry for 23 yards — led all receivers with four catches for 77 yards and two scores. Booth hauled in three passes for 45 yards and one touchdown, Jason Wamsley caught two passes for 17 yards, while Tucker Mayes and Josh Wamsley each caught one pass for 23 yards and one yard respectively.
Safford also made an impact defensively, coming up with a tackle for a loss, while John Patterson recorded a sack for the PPHS defense.
Princeton quarterback Christian Shafer was 4-of-11 for 99 yards, with one interception. Hamm led PHS on the ground with 93 yards and one score on 12 carries, while catching one 12-yard pass.
Hearn rushed six times for 87 yards and one score, while hauling in a team-best two passes for 79 yards. Zach Standifur carried the ball 17 times for 64 yards, while Cole Cochran caught one seven-yard pass.
The Big Blacks have now had seven perfect regular seasons in school history, including 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 1979, and 1969. PPHS was also unbeaten in 1962, though that season did have one tie.
Prior to the game, PPHS honored seniors Jason Schultz, Jason Wamsley, Sheb Harris, Dakota Booth, Andrew Roach, John Patterson, Grant Safford, Fernando Marcos Del Rio, Gage Withrow, Seth Stewart, Zach Wamsley, Gage Gibson and Joe Clark, for playing in their final regular season home game. The PPHS class of 2017 has a 39-0 record in the regular season.
The Big Blacks will be home in the opening round of the playoffs and will either play on Friday at 7:30, Saturday at 1:30 or Saturday at 7 p.m.
Princeton, which seemed to be playoff bound after a 5-1 start to the season, lost its final four games.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.