LINDSIDE, W.Va. — Another nailbiter, but at least this one came with a happy ending.
The Point Pleasant football team returned to its winning ways on Friday night after some late-game heroics allowed the Big Blacks to secure a hard-fought 20-14 victory over host James Monroe in a Week 2 non-conference matchup in Monroe County.
The visiting Big Blacks (1-1) avenged last year’s season-ending playoff loss to the Mavericks (1-1) in grand style, rallying back from a 14-7 halftime deficit with 13 third quarter points en route to a 20-14 advantage.
JMHS had possession deep in Point Pleasant territory with less than three minutes remaining, but the guests came up with some key plays late that helped seal the deal on the victory.
With James Monroe facing a fourth-and-goal at the PPHS two, a Point defender managed to knock down a potential game-winning pass — which ultimately resulted in a loss of downs.
With 2:22 remaining in regulation and the ball at its own two-yard line, quarterback Cason Payne scampered 57 yards to provide some breathing room for the Point offense.
With the Mavericks out of timeouts, PPHS simply lined up in the victory formation and took a few kneel downs — which allowed the clock to tick away on the Big Blacks’ first triumph of the 2017 campaign.
Point Pleasant actually struck first blood as the guests claimed a 7-0 advantage at the 6:46 mark of the first following a 15-yard run by Justin Brumfield. Jacob Bryant added the extra-point kick to make the lead seven points.
The score remained that way until early in the second as Conner Moore’s two-yard run with 10:20 remaining made it a 7-6 contest.
Then, right before halftime, JMHS struck again as Moore found Monroe Mohler on a two-yard scoring pass with 1.2 seconds left on the first half clock. Moore converted a two-point run that allowed the hosts to take a 14-7 edge into the intermission.
Both teams traded possessions to start the third, but Point Pleasant struck paydirt on its second drive when Cason Payne scored on a six-yard run. Bryant added a successful PAT kick with 6:11 left, allowing the Big Blacks to tie the game at 14-all.
Point Pleasant took a permanent lead roughly five minutes later as Brumfield barreled in from four yards out. Point missed the extra-point kick, but the guests owned a 20-14 cushion with 1:22 remaining in the third.
Point Pleasant came away with three takeaways and finished the night plus-2 in turnover differential. The Big Blacks also claimed a slim 18-16 edge in first downs and were flagged eight times for 65 yards, compared to just two penalties for 30 yards on the hosts.
PPHS outgained the Mavericks 336-314 in total yards, which included a sizable 267-107 advantage in rushing yards.
Point Pleasant — which rushed 38 times for 267 yards — was led by Payne, who produced 131 yards on 20 carries. Brumfield was next with 129 yards on 17 attempts, while Keshawn Stover had one carry for seven yards.
Payne completed 8-of-17 passes for 69 yards, with Josh Wamsley leading the wideouts with five catches for 42 yards. Tucker Mayes was next with two grabs for 21 yards, while Ryan Oliver hauled in one pass for six yards.
Grant Mohler led the JMHS rushing attack with 57 yards on 19 carries, followed by Conner Moore with 39 yards on a dozen tries.
Moore completed 13-of-26 passes for 207 yards, throwing one touchdown and two interceptions. Cory Booth led the hosts with three receptions for 76 yards.
Point Pleasant returns to action Friday when it travels to Vincent for a Week 3 non-conference contest against Warren.