Mingo Central improves to 5-0 with 24-6 win over defending state champ Independence

DELBARTON, W.Va. — A pair of second-quarter touchdowns and an impressive defensive performance allowed No. 8 Mingo Central to secure a significant victory over defending Class AA state champion Independence, 24-6 at Buck Harless Stadium.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Miners found the end zone twice in the second stanza. Chris Ross connected with Malaki Sheppard on a touch pass which Sheppard converted into a 32-yard touchdown reception. Less than two minutes later, Dylan Vance found the end zone from 13 yards out, doubling the Mingo Central lead to 16-0.

“There’s big credit going out to our big dogs up front,” said Mingo Central head coach David Jones. “They don’t get a lot of credit but they won this game for us tonight, our big dogs up front. We found our identity tonight. We shocked the whole state tonight.”

No. 4 Independence (2-2) answered just before halftime when Tyler Linkswiler scored on a 22-yard touchdown tote. The Patriots trailed 16-6 at halftime.

Defenses took over in the third quarter, leading to a scoreless frame. The Miners controlled the ball for the bulk of the fourth quarter and they put the game out of reach inside the final two minute. Ross’ 18-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1 secured the win for the Miners.

The Miners are the first team to hold the Patriots to a single-digit point total since 2019.

“We’re very athletic on the defensive side of the ball. We studied their film for a long time, tried to figure out what they want to do and what they like to do. We figured if we could make them throw the ball, we could win this game tonight.”

“It feels awesome, as you can tell. I am very excited. This is a team win right here. They won this game for our community.”

Mingo Central faces another tough test in Week 6, when they visit No. 1 Scott.

“We know that we are going into every game as an underdog. We take it one game at at a time. We’re going to celebrate tonight and get prepared starting on Sunday.”

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