POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Like a fine wine, the Point Pleasant football team just keeps getting better with age.
The Big Blacks celebrated Homecoming in grand fashion Friday night as the hosts claimed the program’s 30th consecutive regular season win during a 55-8 decision over visiting Oak Hill in a Week 7 gridiron contest at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
The host Big Blacks (7-0) stormed out to a 27-0 lead after one quarter and were ahead 41-0 less than 16 minutes into regulation before ultimately securing a 55-0 cushion at halftime. The Red Devils (1-5) did muster the only second half score during a pair of continuous 8-minutes quarters after the break, which wrapped up the 47-point triumph.
PPHS — which entered the game as the state’s most efficient offense — showed its explosive prowess during the first 16 minutes of regulation. The Red, Black and White churned out 271 yards in 14 offensive plays over a mere 2:37, and a Cody Mitchell 73-yard punt return gave the Point Pleasant a whopping 41-point edge with 8:15 remaining in the second canto.
The Big Blacks got five touchdowns from Cody Mitchell, which included two punt returns, two rushing scores and a TD catch. The senior and Marshall commit finished the night with 247 all-purpose yards.
After a month of games away from home, ninth year PPHS coach Dave Darst was awfully glad to have his troops back in the friendly confines of home. He also noted that between Homecoming, getting some new additions to the facility and extending the program’s current win streak to three years — it wasn’t too bad of a night at all.
“It’s been four long weeks on the road, and it does wear on you to be away from home that long,” Darst said. “The kids were obviously looking forward to coming back and playing here in this atmosphere for Homecoming. We had a lot going on around the place, and our kids showed up big time tonight.
“There’s also a lot to be said about the kids and the coaches in winning 30 consecutive regular season games. Honestly, it’s humbling, but it’s also a tribute to how hard we all work at this. It’s definitely a good night for the program and the community of Point Pleasant.”
Mitchell started the onslaught with TD runs of 40 and 56 yards in the opening six minutes of play, then junior Grant Safford put together a personal four-play, 72-yard rushing drive that ended with a seven-yard scoring run at the 2:44 mark for a 21-0 edge.
OHHS was forced to punt on its ensuing possession, which led to a 73-yard punt return by Mitchell — making it a 27-0 contest with 1:23 left in first quarter.
Cody McDaniel forced a fumble and recovered it on Oak Hill’s next possession, then Cason Payne hit Mitchell with a 17-yard scoring pass for a comfortable 34-0 edge with 10:08 remaining in the half.
Nathan Bowman increased the Point advantage to 41-0 after his 37-yard run at the 8:15 mark, then Mitchell completed his scoring on the night with a 45-yard punt return three minutes later for a 48-0 contest. Safford added a 24-yard TD scamper with 1:24 left, making it a 55-0 contest at the break.
PPHS outgained the guests by a sizable 396-122 margin in the first half, including a 257-62 edge on the ground. Point kicker Jason Schultz was also 7-of-8 on point-after tries.
Point Pleasant surrendered its first third quarter points of the season when Curtis Johnson hauled in an 18-yard pass from Deonte Scruggs with 1:09 remaining. Scruggs also had a successful run on the two-point conversion to complete the scoring.
The Big Blacks doubled Oak Hill’s output by a 365-180 margin in total offense, including a 323-90 edge in rushing yards. Both teams finished the night with two turnovers apiece, while PPHS claimed a 15-10 advantage in first downs.
Safford led the Point rushing attack with 124 yards on seven carries, followed by Mitchell with 103 yards on three attempts. Bowman also had 79 yards on three totes.
Payne was 4-of-5 passing for 42 yards and score, with Mitchell leading the wideouts with two grabs for 26 yards. The hosts were also penalized twice for 30 yards.
Scruggs led OHHS with 80 rushing yards on 22 attempts and also went 10-of-19 passing for 90 yards and a score. Ryan Muse led the Red Devil receivers with five catches for 33 yards. Oak Hill was flagged 14 times for 96 yards.
Point Pleasant will make its home finale next Friday when it hosts Ravenswood in a Week 8 non-conference contest at 7:30 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.