By Stephen Smoot
Coming into last Thursday night, Pendleton County had a banged up starting quarterback and a tough loss close in the rearview mirror.
All that said, they brought a grade A performance in all phases of the game to humble Tygarts Valley 40-0.
Tygarts Valley dropped a 62-6 decision early in the season against mutual opponent Tucker County. Although they still had not notched a win, their last outing was a closer 20-6 loss to Richwood.
With Dillon Smith again at quarterback, the Wildcats sought to establish the run early with workhorse Chase Owens and play for field position. They went four and out on the first drive, but punted deep into Tygarts Valley territory. Four plays later, the Wildcat defense came up with its first turnover of the night, recovering a fumble on the Bulldogs’ 28.
The very next play, Owens took a sweep right, leapt a would be tackler at the 25, and pushed ahead to the 17. Three plays later on 2nd and 3 at the 10, Owens evaded a run blitz and rumbled into the endzone for the Wildcats’ first score. Gabriel Harvey’s point after was good,
Tygarts Valley’s offense played some of their best football of the night on the next drive. They marched from their own 42 to the Wildcat 17 with an effective mix of passes and runs. On first and ten, they lofted a pass into the endzone that found Clayton Kisamore, who secured an interception and the second turnover from the defense.
Coach Zac Smith after the game said, “Clayton’s interception in the endzone set momentum. That play was huge.”
After the touchback, Justus Kuykendall broke open a near 30-yard run to put the Wildcats at midfield, followed by a 21-yard run by Dillon Smith. Two plays later, Dillon Smith completed a pass to Connor Armentrout to put the Wildcats at the five yard line. He ran the next play in and with another Harvey kick, the Wildcats were up 14-0 to open the second quarter.
On their next possession, the Bulldogs moved backwards and punted on 4th down to their own 28. Once again, the offensive combination of Dillon Smith, Owens, and Kisamore brought the Wildcats to the endzone, lifting them to a 20-0 score with 7:28 left in the first half.
Coach Zac Smith heaped praise on his team shutting down the Bulldogs’ offense, saying “I’m really proud of the defense. They got after it tonight. We didn’t give them much.”
Disaster struck Tygarts Valley again as they went three and out, only to see the punt partially blocked. Set up nicely at the Bulldogs 20, the Wildcats only needed three runs, the last by Dillon Smith, to score another touchdown that put Pendleton County up 26-0.
After the kickoff, the Wildcats defense continued to roar. They forced an 11-yard sack and a fumble on the next play, recovered by Kuykendall. Although set up with first and goal inside the 10, the Wildcats tried to pass their way into another score. This time Tygarts Valley denied the Wildcats, but went into the half down.
Tygarts Valley took the opening kickoff of the second half, but key tackles by Bradey Bowers and Dillon Smith helped to force a punt. Owens picked up where he left off in the first half, breaking off a 17-yard run. Later in the drive on 3rd and 10 at the Bulldogs’ 25, a sliding Kisamore cradled a Dillon Smith pass to extend the drive. Three plays later, Bowers hauled in a Dillon Smith pass that, with the Harvey kick, put Pendleton County up 32-0 with 6:32 left in the 3rd quarter.
“Dillon was all over the field tonight, as usual.” Coach Smith said. Dillon Smith passed for 69 yards and also led the team in rushing yards, tackles, and racked up two sacks as well. He added that “the line played well, really physical. They opened holes on sweeps and counters.”
To their credit, Tygarts Valley continued to fight. As the fourth quarter commenced, they executed an 18 play drive that included a successful fake punt on 4th and 14. Five plays later, officials’ flags nullified a big effort by Owens who tapped a Bulldog pass to himself and took the ball to the endzone. The drive ended at the Wildcat 32 where Tygarts Valley turned the ball over on downs.
With five minutes left in the game, the Wildcats continued their relentless offensive pressure with reserves on offense. Kameron Redman exploded on a sweep right to gain 22 yards to the 15. From there, Nick Rhodes took the handoff, ran up the middle, then bounced left to find open field and the endzone. The Harvey kick closed scoring at 40-0.
Tonight, the Wildcats host Pocahontas County. Although they have one win to their credit, Coach Smith said, “We expect that they will put up a fight.” They defeated Richwood 52-0 and lost to mutual opponents Tucker County and Petersburg 34-12 and 47-18 respectively.
Passing: Dillon Smith 7/11 69 Yards TD
Rushing: Dillon Smith 8 rushes 87 yards 3 TD, Chase Owens 9/41 TD, Justus Kuykendall, 2/34, Kameron Redman 1/28, Nick Rhodes 2/16 TD
Receiving: Clayton Kisamore 2 receptions 25 yards, Owens 3/22, Connor Armentrout 1/12 Bradey Bowers /10 TD
PAT Gabriel Harvey 4-6
Tackles: Dillon Smith 10, Bowers 8, Terry Harvey 6, Kuykendall 5, Armentrout 4, Josiah Kimble 4, Lucas Redman 4, Owens 4, Kisamore 2, Ryland Copley 2, Blake Harris 1, Alex Reyes 1, Garrett Hartman 1.