MADISON, W.Va. — Class AA No. 4 Scott possesses an offense capable of scoring in a variety of ways and breaking out at anytime.
In Friday’s showdown of unbeaten teams against No. 5 Mingo Central, the Skyhawks largely did what they aspired to offensively and scored four touchdown on their first four possessions. A fifth first-half TD came on Matt Frye’s 66-yard pass to Brayden Clark, who made a one-handed reception just before halftime to help Scott have its way in a 50-20 victory over the Miners.
“We started seeing matchups that we liked,” Skyhawks’ head coach Jeremy Dolin said. “Brayden Clark was getting isolated 1-on-1 with a corner and I felt like we could take advantage of it. We’d already got it once. Matt dropped a dime in there and Brayden pulled it in and did the rest. That was a huge score for us. It put us up three scores going into half and makes you feel a little bit more comfortable, especially when you have to kick off to them. We knew, athletically, they matched up probably as well if not better than any team we’ve faced this season.”
The Skyhawks (6-0) entered the matchup with the most points (243) of any Class AA team and showed early and often they had no sign of slowing down.
“They are who we thought they were. We think that they’re the top team in Double-A with the high-powered offense they have,” Miners’ head coach David Jones said. “Our defense isn’t a slouch and they put 50 on us. That’s a great learning lesson for what we need to do and figure out about ourselves and it’s a great tool to get ready for Point Pleasant.”
Facing a Mingo Central (5-1) defense that had recorded three shutouts and surrendered only 12 points in five games, Scott jumped in front on its third play from scrimmage when Frye scored on a 3-yard run. The first touchdown followed a 46-yard Preston Cooper run and Frye’s 27-yard pass to Carson Brinegar and left the Miners trailing 7-0 just 57 seconds in.
The Skyhawks needed 10 plays to score on their second series, which covered 66 yards and ended with Cooper’s 6-yard touchdown run. After Mingo Central was flagged for being offside, SHS elected to go for two and it worked out when Brinegar got across the goal line on a run to make it 15-0.
The Miners moved the ball well on their second series, but it ended on downs before they could enter the end zone.
Eight plays later, Scott held a 22-0 lead courtesy of Frye’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Haikal.
The Skyhawks scored on the first play of their ensuing series when Frye and Clark connected on a 70-yard strike that put MCHS in a 29-0 hole 5:10 before halftime.
Between Scott’s third and fourth touchdowns, Mingo Central nearly scored on a well-designed pass play, but Tyler Mitchem was unable to bring in a pass behind the Skyhawks’ secondary.
However, that was no such issue when the Miners got the ball back trailing by 29 as quarterback Chris Ross found Malaki Sheppard for a 76-yard touchdown through the air. Ross completed his two-point pass to Aidan Burke, allowing the Miners to trail 29-8 with 4:25 left in the first half.
“You could see their will to win. Even though they went down early, they played hard the whole game and never made it easy for us,” Dolin said.
Frye completed his first nine passes, but was intercepted by Mitchem on Scott’s fifth series. The Miners forced a turnover on downs on the Skyhawks’ sixth possession, and it led to a 10-yard touchdown run from Dylan Vance 38 seconds before halftime. Although the two-point pass play was unsuccessful, the Miners had momentum and a 15-point deficit and were to start the second half with the ball.
However, Scott countered immediately and Frye found Clark, who was well-covered but wouldn’t be denied and made the one-handed catch before racing into the end zone to leave the visitors with a 36-14 halftime deficit.
“That takes a lot out of the kids,” Jones said. “We got in there at halftime and told them to keep grinding. We wanted to keep fighting and that was the main thing. We haven’t been through this adversity before and we didn’t quit when we came back out.”
Through two quarters, Frye was 13-for-17 with 260 yards and three touchdowns. The Skyhawks didn’t lack balance, evidenced by Cooper rushing for 98 of of his team’s 119 yards to that point.
“We looked at what they were giving us and took advantage of it. We came out and established the run early,” Dolin said. “We felt like they were going to be trying to cover the deep ball. Once we saw a few guys sneaking up into the box, we knew then it was time to take a few shots.”
The Miners got a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ross to Burke on the opening series of the second half to cut their deficit to 36-20.
Mingo Central got the ball back trailing by 16, but an incomplete pass on fourth down gave it back to the Skyhawks as the 4-minute mark neared in the third quarter.
The Skyhawks then traveled 50 yards in nine plays and scored their first points of the second half on Brinegar’s 7-yard run, which gave Scott a 43-20 lead with 1:26 left in the frame.
Frye’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Kevin McCarty with 10:51 remaining capped the scoring and allowed the Skyhawks to reach 50 points for the fourth time this season.
“We kept Vance in check most of the night. Ross is really athletic, so when he gets outside the pocket, the biggest thing is you want to keep him pressed to the sideline and keep him from getting upfield,” Dolin said. “They have a couple nice receivers as well. We’re glad to win the way we did, because I know that’s a quality team.”