KEYSER, W.Va. — Horseshoes, hand grenades and nuclear warfare.
Notice football isn’t mentioned anywhere when talking about coming close.
The Point Pleasant football team nearly let a 15-point fourth quarter get away, but host Keyser ultimately missed a potential game-tying 2-point conversion with 2:34 left in regulation and allowed the Big Blacks to pick up a closely-contested 35-33 victory Friday night in Mineral County.
The Big Blacks (5-1) notched their fifth consecutive victory, but the guests did so in a nailbiting fashion that nearly cost them what might be their biggest victory of the season thus far.
PPHS took a 35-20 advantage with 9:41 remaining in regulation following a Gavin Jeffers 9-yard scamper, and things seemed to be looking good.
Things seemed to be even better after the ensuing KHS drive resulted in a loss of downs after Point Pleasant made a 4-play defensive stand on first-and-goal at the five.
The Tornadoes (3-2), however, caught their big break moments later when Caden Youngblood recovered a fumble in the end zone for a 35-27 contest.
Keyser then converted a successful onside kick and took over possession at the PPHS 28 with 3:52 remaining. Sammy Bradfield plunged in from eight yards out with 2:34 left in the contest for a 35-33 deficit, with the extra-point attempt coming.
KHS elected to hand the ball off to Benny Oates for a 2-point conversion try, but the Red and Black stuffed Oates short of the line — allowing the guests to maintain their slim 2-point advantage.
The Big Blacks stormed out to a 28-13 halftime lead thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns by Evan Roach. Roach’s first score came at the 10:11 mark of the first for a 7-0 edge and the other came with 3:35 left in the half.
Jeffers also added a first quarter touchdown run at the 3:30 mark, and Cody Schultz hauled in a TD pass from Roach with 5:57 remaining in the half.
Keyser had a chance to close the game back to within a possession late in the third, but a Bradfield fumble was recovered by PPHS at its only 1-yard line. The guests marched 99 yards on the ensuing drive, which was capped by the Jeffers 9-yard run that made 35-20 early in the fourth.
Point Pleasant churned out 434 yards of total offense, which included 239 yards on the ground with 37 attempts. Elicia Wood also successfully converted all five of her PAT kicking attempts.
Jeffers paced PPHS with 191 rushing yards on 18 carries, while Roach added 44 yards on 14 attempts. Roach also completed 8-of-12 passes for 195 yards, with Schultz leading the wideouts with five catches for 81 yards. Jeffers also caught two passes for 104 yards.
Roach made a team-high 12 tackles for the Big Blacks, while Trey Peck made 10 stops. Tyler Hinzman recovered a fumble, while Peck and Caleb Hatfield each recorded an interception in the triumph.
Bradfield led the hosts with 244 rushing yards on 30 carries. Keyser entered the contest as the No. 6 Class AA team in the state. PPHs was fifth in double-A coming in as well.
Point Pleasant returns to action Friday when it travels to Wyoming East for a non-conference matchup at 7:30 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.