MASON, W.Va. — There is nothing sweeter than to win at home on Homecoming Night.
That is what the Wahama White Falcons did while securing their first win of the season Friday night with a 28-8 decision over the visiting Federal Hocking Lancers in a critical Week 5 TVC Hocking contest at Butchel Stadium.
Federal Hocking (0-5, 0-4 TVC Hocking) received the opening kickoff and had a short field advantage in their opening drive starting on Wahama’s own 43-yard line.
With 7:45 remaining in the first quarter, Hunter Smith rushed for a one-yard touchdown — and a successful two-point conversion pass from Smith to Braden Gould gave the Lancers an 8-0 lead.
Wahama (1-4, 1-3 TVC Hocking) used its running attack and marched the ball down the field. With 4:10 left in the first quarter, Colton Arrington ran for a three-yard touchdown. Following an unsuccessful PAT, Wahama trailed Federal Hocking 8-6 by the end of the first quarter.
FHHS had a change of downs at the start of the second quarter, then WHS took that opportunity and changed the status quo.
With 9:13 remaining, Bryton Grate rushed for a one-yard touchdown run — and a successful two-point conversion run by Johnnie Board gave the White Falcons a 14-8 lead.
With 1:11 left in the first half, Grate found Christian Thomas with a 16-yard TD pass — and another successful two-point conversion run by Johnnie Board allowed Wahama to claim a 22-8 lead headed into halftime.
On the opening kickoff in the second half, Federal Hocking recovered an on-side kick. However, the Lancers were stopped on a three-and-out by the White Falcons defense.
Wahama started with the ball on its own 18-yard line and marched the ball down the field. With a fourth down-and-12 on the Lancers’ 21-yard line, Bryton Grate threw an interception to Fed Hock’s Trevor Bell at the Lancer one-yard line.
Again, the White Falcons defense stepped up and forced Federal Hocking to punt the ball once again. After the end of the third quarter, the scored remained 22-8 in favor of Wahama.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Wahama had possession of the ball at the Lancers’ one-yard line. Christian Thomas rushed for a one-yard touchdown — and an unsuccessful PAT gave Wahama a solid 28-8 win on Homecoming Night.
After the game, WHS coach Dave Barr was thrilled to get the proverbial monkey off his program’s back — but he was even more thrilled that his troops could finally leave the field in a positive manner.
“I’m just really proud and happy for our seniors and our football team, more than anything else,” Barr said. “We’ve played well in spots this season, but we’ve also had a little bit of misfortune in playing against some pretty good teams in the first four weeks. I’m just really happy that these guys could get a win on the board … and it makes it a little extra special to do that on Homecoming too.
“It’s a good first step for us and hopefully we can get some momentum going into the final half of the year, but we do have a big test waiting for us next week with Trimble.”
Bryton Grate was 2-of-6 passing for 28 yards for the White Falcons, throwing one touchdown and one interception.
Christian Thomas led Wahama in rushing with 17 carries for 144 yards and one touchdown. Brady Bumgarner had 14 carries for 85 yards. Colton Arrington had 13 carries for 77 yards and one touchdown.
Christian Thomas led WHS in receiving with two receptions for 28 yards and one touchdown. WHS had 25 first downs, 316 yards of rushing and 28 yards of passing for a team total of 344 yards of offense. The hosts also had eight penalties for 80 yards.
Hunter Smith led the Lancers in passing with 5-for-16 for 72 yards. Smith led FHHS in rushing with 18 carries for 55 yards and one touchdown, while Adam Douglas had five carries for 12 yards.
Branden Gould led Federal Hocking in receiving with three receptions for 46 yards, and Trevor Bell had two receptions for 26 yards.
The Lancers had 11 first downs, 77 yards of rushing and 72 yards of passing for a final team total of 149 yards of offense. The guests also had four penalties for 25 yards.
Wahama returns home next Friday and hosts the Trimble Tomcats in a Week 6 TVC Hocking at 7:30 p.m.
J.P. Davis is a Sports Correspondent for Ohio Valley Publishing