POCA — Poca delivered the pain in the form of brothers Ethan Payne and Toby Payne in a dominating homecoming victory at O.O. White Stadium on Friday night.
Running back Ethan Payne and wide receiver Toby Payne combined for eight touchdowns, with scores on the ground, through the air and on defense to propel the undefeated Dots to a 69-24 win against visiting Sissonville (4-2).
“They’re both very good football players,” Poca coach Seth Ramsey said of the Payne brothers. “They have different skill sets and do different things really well. Toby, he’s just been waiting for a night like that to go off. Teams have stacked the box and tried to take away the run, they’re going to leave him in a lot of one-on-ones, and he can win those. He showed tonight he’s a heckuva ball player.”
Ethan Payne, a junior standout running back, entered the contest with 1,268 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns through five games as the focus of the Poca offense. However, younger brother Toby Payne, a sophomore, pushed his way into the limelight, too, Friday with three receiving touchdowns, a fumble recovery and two interceptions, including a 36-yard return for a touchdown to make for a family affair.
“It felt great — it’s been awhile since that happened,” Toby Payne said of his offensive output. “We just knew they were focusing on Ethan in the box, and we spread it out to get one-on-one with me and the corner. That was basically it.”
Ethan Payne scored the first Payne family touchdown with a 3-yard run in the second quarter to give the Class AA fourth-ranked Dots (6-0) a 14-3 lead.
On the ensuing Sissonville drive, Toby Payne jumped a pass route, intercepted the ball and ran 36 yards for the score. Toby Payne added his second interception on the next Indians drive. Four plays following the interception, Toby Payne scored on a fourth-down pass for 34 yards, a jump ball at the goal line.
The Payne brothers continued to punish the Sissonville defense in the second quarter, as Toby Payne added a 15-yard touchdown reception and Ethan Payne scored on a 10-yard run following a blocked punt.
At halftime, Sissonville limited Ethan Payne to 14 carries and 60 yards, but Toby Payne helped the offense with his receiving prowess.
“They were definitely keying on me, which opens up [my brother] in the passing game,” Ethan Payne said. “I’m good with that.”
In addition to the Paynes, turnovers proved an obstacle for 10th-ranked Sissonville, as the Indians committed three turnovers and had a punt blocked in the second quarter.
“Those guys are good football players,” Indians coach Marc Wilson said of the Paynes. “When we had some momentum, we were making some good plays against them. I think we let a couple cheap ones go, and that got in our heads this evening.”
Poca led 41-3 at halftime, and the Dots, with the Payne brothers leading the way, continued to pour on the offense in the second half. Toby Payne added his third touchdown reception of the game, while Ethan Payne found more running room and two rushing touchdowns.
In total, Toby Payne finished with six catches for 135 yards, while Ethan Payne carried 22 times for 166 yards, with each Payne brother scoring four touchdowns.
Poca next hosts Putnam County rival Winfield at 7 p.m. Friday, while Sissonville next plays at Winfield at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 18.