RED JACKET — The Poca Dots won a thriller over Cardinal Conference foe Mingo Central on Friday night at James H. “Buck” Harless Stadium as they stuffed Miner quarterback Daylin Goad at the two-yard line as time expired to hold on for the 21-14 win.
The Miners (3-2) nearly pulled off the miraculous comeback despite trailing by 15 points at 21-6 with only six minutes to go in the game and struggling to put the ball into the endzone.
They got a late touchdown catch from Devin Hatfield and then forced a three and out to get the ball back. Central was threatening to come all the way back and had a chance to score and give themselves a chance to win the game, but the Dots made the key plays down the stretch stopping the Miners three straight times near the goal line as the time on the clock expired.
Poca (5-0) struck first in the contest as they got on the board on their opening drive on a 4-yard plunge by Ethan Payne with 8:20 to go in the first and the Dots took a 7-0 lead. Poca extended their drive after a conversion on 4th and 16 when quarterback Jay Cook found Matt Stone on a 26-yard pass to set up first and goal.
After the Dots stopped the Miners on fourth down inside of their own 20-yard line, they were looking to add to their lead when Cook fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Jacoby Thornsbury at the Poca 20-yard line.
The Miners (3-2) capitalized on the turnover just a few plays later when quarterback Daylin Goad powered it in from one yard out with 50 seconds left in the first. The extra point try was no good and Poca kept the slim 7-6 lead.
After Mingo Central halted the next Poca drive with a stop on fourth down at their own eight-yard line, coach Josh Sammons club was knocking on the door of taking the lead after Goad found wideout Devin Hatfield on a 33-yard strike.
But the Dots made their second defensive stand of the first half as they stopped the Miners on their next four plays to force a turnover on downs.
On the next Dot drive, coach Seth Ramsey relied on the legs of Ethan Payne to work them down the field and set up a third and 4 and the Mingo Central 28-yard line.
On the next play, Cook took to the air and found Toby Payne open down the middle of the field and he rumbled into the endzone for a 28-yard touchdown pass with just 39 seconds to go in the half. Joseph Starcher’s PAT was good and the Dots took the 14-6 lead into the halftime locker rooms.
Coming out of the break the Miners got the ball first, but they were forced to punt after a costly penalty and Poca took over at their own 10-yard line.
The Dots slowly worked the ball up the field and grinded away over five minutes of game clock and had the ball on a 1st and goal at the one-yard line after Cook once again found Toby Payne streaking down the middle of the field on third and long. Ethan Payne pushed the ball across and the Dots took a two score lead at 21-6 with 4:04 left in the third.
The Poca defense remained stingy as they stopped the Miners on fourth down for the third time on their next drive to take back over with 53 seconds to go in the third.
Poca was forced to punt however on their next drive and Mingo Central took over at midfield, but junior Isa Scales fumbled the ball back to the Dots near midfield with under 10 minutes to go in the game.
After a missed 40-yard field goal by Joseph Starcher with less then six minutes to go, the Miners quickly worked their way down the field and caught a break as Scales had a pass tip off his hands but it ricocheted into the waiting hands of Devin Hatfield for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Goad ran in the two-point try and the Miners trimmed the Poca lead to 21-14 with 5:11 to play.
With the sellout crowd at “Buck” Harless Stadium coming to life, the Mingo Central defense fed off the energy of the crowd and forced the Dots into their first three and out to get the ball back at their own 40-yard line with just under three minutes to play.
The Miners worked their way down the field and Goad picked up two key fourth down conversions through the air to set up a first and goal with only 12 seconds to go in the game.
After a pair of incomplete passes, the Dots jumped offsides with only three seconds to go and the ball was moved half the distance to the goal at the two-and-a-half-yard line. Coach Sammons called Goad’s number on a keeper but the Poca defense made the play of the game and stuffed him at the line of scrimmage to win the game as the Dots celebrated on the turf at Harless Stadium.
Mingo Central outgained Poca in yardage finishing with 422 compared to only 310 yards for the Dots, but Poca displayed a bend but don’t break defense all game long stopping the Miners on 4th down multiple times.
Ethan Payne led Poca once again in rushing carrying the ball 26 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns on the day adding to his mind-boggling numbers. Cook finished 9-13 passing for 106 yards with his top receiver being Toby Payne who hauled in two passes for 49 yards and a score.
Goad finished 33-48 passing for Mingo Central and totaled 294 yards, one touchdown, and no picks while also rushing 16 times for 100 yards and a score. The Hatfield brothers combined for 235 receiving yards on the day with Devin hauling in 12 passes for 134 yards and a score while Drew grabbed 11 balls for 91 yards.
Drew Hatfield played the entire game despite being deemed at far less than 100% with a shoulder sprain he suffered the week prior in the win against Sissonville.
Each team turned the ball over only one time on the night while both teams drew a large number of penalties, with Poca being flagged eight times for 65 yards and Central was penalized nine times for 120 yards.
With the loss the Miners fell to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference and as they head into the bye week.
They will return to action at home on Oct. 11 at home against Nitro.
Poca improved to 5-0 with the win and 4-0 in the conference and will be back in action next week at home against Sissonville.
Score by quarters
PHS (5-0): 7 7 7 0 — 21
MCHS (3-2): 6 0 0 8 — 14
PHS: 4-yard run Ethan Payne (EP good by Starcher) 8:20
MCHS: 1-yard run Goad (EP no good by Goad) 0:50
PHS: 28-yard pass Cook to Toby Payne (EP good by Starcher) 0:39
PHS: 1-yard run Payne (EP good by Starcher) 4:04
MCHS: 20-yard pass Goad to Devin Hatfield (Goad run good) 5:11