If the last play of the first half in Saturday’s marquee matchup between Poca and Sissonville is any indication of the season to come, then Poca may very well be on its way to a magical year.
After an interception by Poca’s Garrett Lynch with approximately two seconds left in the half, quarterback Jay Cook scrambled to the right and connected with Luke Spradling, who snuck behind two Sissonville defenders in the back of the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown.
“I just trusted my receivers would go up and get the ball,” said sophomore quarterback Jay Cook. “I knew that he would come down with the ball.”
That score gave Poca a 34-13 halftime lead and the Dots never looked back in defeating Sissonville 40-20 at University of Charleston Stadium, ruining Sissonville’s homecoming.
“That literally changed the second half,” Sissonville coach Marc Wilson said. “If we don’t give up two prevent touchdowns then it’s a one-score game going into the locker room. I think it’s a wide-open football game then.”
With Poca (6-0) leading 20-13 late in the second quarter, Cook launched a pass intended for Toby Payne but the ball bounced off Payne, over the Sissonville defender and right into the hands of senior receiver Bronson Skeens for a 57-yard score.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Skeens said with a grin. “I was ready for it. Thank God that it happened.”
But the Dots’ magic didn’t stop there. On the ensuing possession, Lynch intercepted a pass and then Cook connected with Spradling on the desperation heave before the half.
Cook finished the game with 169 yards passing with three touchdowns, while Skeens caught two passes for 77 yards and two scores. Sophomore running back Ethan Payne led the ground attack with 181 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns.
“We are happy with the win,” Skeens added. “But we don’t want to get complacent. We are 6-0 but we want to go 1-0 every week from here.”
The Dots (6-0), who came into the game ranked No. 4 in the WVSSAC Class AA playoff ratings, endured a 39-game losing streak from 2013-17, but those days seem far behind as they are streaking under coach Seth Ramsey.
“It’s guys putting the team ahead of themselves,” Ramsey said of the turnaround. “It’s guys caring for one another. Guys buying in.”
“I’m so proud of the seniors. They have been through the lowest of valleys. I’m so proud for the work that they have put in. They really bonded in the offseason. They got stronger and they did it together, most importantly.”
While Sissonville (4-2) has lost two out of its last three, coach Marc Wilson is not ready to hit the panic button just yet.
“We have been beat up a little and we have to get healthy,” Wilson said. “We get two weeks to get guys back in playing shape. We also get an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and get better on some situational things. Hopefully, we can make the improvements and get back into the playoffs.”
Quarterback Will Hackney led the Indians with 274 passing yards and two touchdowns along with 48 yards rushing. Mayson Miller caught 10 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, while Dylan Griffith caught seven passes for 60 yards.