Big Blacks to host Miners in AA rematch of season opener
POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Point Pleasant and Mingo Central met to begin the 2018 high school football season, and Saturday one will end the other’s quest for a Class AA state championship.
The eighth-seeded Big Blacks (8-1) entertain the ninth-seeded Miners (8-2) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field. It is a rematch of the season-opening contest won by Point Pleasant 42-35 at Mingo Central.
The Miners are one of the few teams to have won at Point Pleasant in recent seasons. The Big Blacks are 55-8 at home since 2009, with one of those losses being 36-34 to Mingo Central in the 2017 season opener. The Miners scored on the last play of the game to win, one of just four teams to do so in the last 31 games at OVB Track and Field.
Point Pleasant is 11-15 overall in the playoffs, but 9-4 at home and earned its 11th consecutive postseason berth.
The 2016 Class AA state champion, Mingo Central is in the playoffs for the seventh year in a row. The Miners won their lone state title with Jeremy Dillon, who now plays basketball at Marshall University, at quarterback.
The programs own an interesting, intertwining history. Point Pleasant snapped Mingo Central’s 22-game home winning streak earlier this season, while the Miners broke the Big Blacks’ 43-game regular-season victory string a season earlier.
The meeting this season was an up-and-back affair during which Point Pleasant led the entire first half, fell behind by seven in the third quarter, tied it, then gave up the lead again before rallying to tie 35-35. Big Blacks quarterback Cason Payne scored the winning touchdown on a 39-yard scramble with 2:39 left.
Payne figures to be a key factor again. The senior turned in a tremendous performance the last time the teams met, rushing 17 times for 228 yards and completing 15 of 20 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns.
For the season, Payne has rushed for 916 yards and 13 touchdowns on 100 carries. He has completed 87 of 132 passes (65.9 percent) for 1,169 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Last week, in a 47-6 victory over James Monroe, Payne completed 14 of 17 passes for a school single-game record 262 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran 14 times for 61 yards and two touchdowns.
Josh Wamsley, Point Pleasant’s leading receiver, caught seven passes for a school single-game record 143 yards last week.
Mingo Central features a dynamic passing duo of its own. In the early-season loss to the Big Blacks, Daylin Goad completed 21 of 29 passes for 359 yards and two TDs and also ran 12 times for 46 yards. Devin Hatfield caught eight passes for 183 yards and Drew Hatfield snared nine passes for 127 yards.
Goad and the Hatfields lead an attack that averages 45.4 points per contest and that has scored fewer than 35 points just twice this season. The Miners’ defense has been vulnerable, however, giving up 25.5 points per contest and surrendering 36 points or more four times.
Point Pleasant averages 48.8 points per game and allows 19.3.
The winner of Saturday’s showdown takes on the victor from another Saturday game featuring No. 1 Fairmont Senior (10-0) and No. 16 Lewis County (6-4).
W.VA. FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Class AA, first round
No. 9 MINGO CENTRAL (8-2) at No. 8 POINT PLEASANT (8-1)
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday