POCA — Showing no signs of intimidation, the rejuvenated Poca Dots remained undefeated by pulling off a key 45-27 victory over Cardinal Conference power Mingo Central on Friday night in front of a packed homecoming crowd at O. O. White Stadium.
Both teams came into the game ranked in the top 10 in Class AA (Poca sixth, Mingo Central ninth) and unbeaten in Cardinal Conference play near the season’s midway point.
“They were giving us some big pass plays in the corner routes early in the game,” said Dots coach Seth Ramsey. “It was a perfect team effort and a total team win. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”
Both teams came out of the gate in high gear.
Poca scored on a 65-yard pass from Jay Cook to Toby Payne down the sideline, only to have Mingo reciprocate with a 68-yard scoring toss from Daylin Goad to Drew Hatfield on the ensuing drive. The Dots (5-0) put together an answering drive of their own, aided by Miners penalties, when Cook again found an open receiver in Owen McClanahan for a 17-yard score on a crossing route behind the Mingo linebackers.
“We mixed it up with play-action enough to make the big runs a little later in the game,” added Ramsey.
McClanahan came up big in receptions all night, gaining 148 yards on five clutch catches.
“They weren’t playing the safety over top of me so I just made some moves to get open,” said McClanahan.
As the first quarter was all offense, the second quarter was all defense. Ethan Payne was held to 21 yards on eight carries for Poca and Dougie Dillon was held to 24 yards on nine carries for Mingo. Both teams were heavily penalized, combining for 165 yards in infractions in the first half alone.
The offensive fireworks continued in the third quarter, as Mingo’s Goad had a pair of 5-yard touchdown runs only to be matched by two 46-yard Poca TD passes to McClanahan.
“I thought we played good run defense tonight, but our pass coverage let me down,“ said Miner coach Josh Sammons. “But you have to hand it to Poca. They have some good players and a good team.“
The Miners (3-2) stayed in the game until the fourth quarter when the Poca offensive line began to wear them down. Ethan Payne ran for larger chunks of yardage to ice the game in the final eight minutes.
For Poca, Cook finished the game with 283 passing yards while Ethan Payne added 154 rushing yards.
The Miners were led by Goad’s 273 yards passing on 25 of 41 completions.