POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Point Pleasant’s Homecoming game ended up being a lot like a can of Pringles. Once the Big Blacks popped, they just couldn’t stop.
The Point Pleasant football team overcame a 6-0 first half deficit with 32 consecutive points Friday night en route to a 39-12 victory over visiting Parkersburg South in a Week 6 non-conference contest at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.
The Big Blacks (6-0) extended their state-best regular season winning streak to 39 in a row, but the hosts needed a little time to start hitting on all cylinders against a motivated Patriots squad.
PPHS was forced to punt on its first three possessions of the game, while South (2-4) mustered drives of 14 plays and nine plays on two of their first three drives — both of which ultimately resulted in a loss of downs. The other PSHS possession also led to a punt.
On the seventh drive of the game, however, the Patriots covered 75 yards in just two plays as Tyree Gibson rumbled 71 yards to paydirt while giving the guests their only lead of the night at the 3:38 mark of the second canto.
Point Pleasant, however, answered in convincing fashion on its next possession as the hosts covered 61 yards in six plays to secure a permanent lead the rest of the evening.
Senior running back Grant Safford scored from 11 yards out with 1:49 remaining in the half, then Jason Schultz tacked on the extra-point for a 7-6 edge.
Parkersburg South committed a costly turnover on its ensuing possession as Safford recovered a fumble at the PSHS 33-yard line with 1:03 remaining, then the Big Blacks used five plays to get down to the 21.
Schultz entered the game and nailed a 39-yard field goal attempt with just 2.6 seconds left, allowing Point Pleasant to take a slim 10-6 advantage into the break.
Both teams traded punts to start the second half, then Point Pleasant needed four plays to cover 16 yards down to the PSHS 20-yard line.
Schultz booted his second successful field goal of the game — this time from 38 yards out — while extending the Big Blacks’ lead out to 13-6 with 4:44 remaining in the third canto.
The defense stepped up with another three-and-out on South’s next possession, then Point Pleasant put together an eight-play, 59-yard scoring drive that went into the early part of the fourth quarter.
Jason Wamsley hauled in a 27-yard touchdown pass from Cason Payne at the 11:33 mark of the fourth, allowing the hosts to extend their lead out to 20-6.
The Big Blacks padded the lead on their next possession as Payne scrambled 44 yards to paydirt, making it a 26-6 contest with 8:54 remaining.
Safford completed the 32-point explosion with 5:26 left in regulation after scoring on a 33-yard run, allowing Point Pleasant to secure a comfortable 32-6 cushion.
Zane Hinzman ended the Patriots’ scoring woes on the ensuing kickoff after covering 73 yards on the return, making it a 32-12 affair with 5:10 left in regulation.
Safford completed the scoring with a three-yard run at the 3:03 mark of the fourth, allowing PPHS to wrap up the 27-point triumph.
The Big Blacks outgained the guests by a sizable 393-236 margin in total yards, which included a 287-182 advantage in rushing yards.
Those numbers, as impressive as they were for Point Pleasant, were somewhat hindered in the fact that senior left tackle Seth Stewart — a verbal commit to Louisiana State — did not play in a single offensive snap in this game after suffering an injury playing defense on the opening drive of the game.
The Big Blacks claimed a 16-10 edge in first downs, did not commit a turnover and finished the night plus-2 in turnover differential. Schultz also accounted for nine points through the hosts’ special teams play.
PPHS produced 287 rushing yards on 41 attempts and also had 106 passing yards. The Red and Black punted four times for an average of 40 yards and were also flagged five times for 40 yards.
Safford led the Big Blacks with 131 rushing yards on 20 carries, followed by Payne with 117 yards on 15 attempts and Keshawn Stover added 31 yards on four totes.
Payne completed 10-of-19 passes for 106 yards, throwing one touchdown and zero interceptions. Josh Wamsley led the wideouts with four catches for 10 yards.
Stover, Jason Wamsley and Dakota Booth all had two catches apiece, which respectively led to 43, 34 and 19 yards receiving for the trio.
PSHS produced 182 rushing yards on 38 carries and also mustered 54 yards through the air. The Patriots punted three times for an average of 37 yards and were also penalized twice for 14 yards.
Brandon Hall led South with 47 rushing yards on 15 carries, followed by J.T. Kemp with 45 yards on 14 rushes and Gibson added 75 yards on four totes.
Hall completed 5-of-13 passes for 54 yards and threw one pick. Kemp led the wideouts with two grabs for 17 yards, while Kyle Shreves added one catch for 29 yards.
Point Pleasant — which has now won 18 consecutive regular season contests at home — returns to action Friday when it hosts Bluefield in a Week 7 gridiron tilt at OVB Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.