POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A night for the record books.
The Point Pleasant football team celebrated senior night in style on Friday at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field, setting a stadium record for points by a single team, as the Big Blacks rolled to a 75-14 victory over visiting Westside.
The stadium mark wasn’t the only record to fall in the game, as Point Pleasant (8-2) juniors Cason Payne and Josh Wamsley both etched their names in the single season record book.
Payne, the Big Blacks’ dual-threat quarterback, surpassed the record of 2,512 all-purpose yards in a regular season, set by 2015 Kennedy Award winner Cody Mitchell. With 236 yards on 13-of-20 passing and 38 yards on 11 carries in the game, Payne finished the year with 2,578 all-purpose yards.
With just under two minutes remaining in the first half, Payne threw his third and final touchdown of the night, an 18-yard pass to Wamsley, who surpassed Dirk Jackson for receiving yards in a regular season with the grab. Jackson had 669 yards in 1968, while Wamsley finished with 732 yards after hauling in a team-best seven passes for 114 yards on Friday.
On the same scoring pass, Payne set a new high-water mark for career touchdown passes at PPHS. The junior signal caller now has 51 career passing touchdowns, surpassing 2015 graduate Aden Yates, who finished with 50.
“I’m happy for the kids,” PPHS head coach Dave Darst said. “I don’t pay attention to the records that much, but these kids, they do. That’s why we have those records, for them to try do that. When you’re playing this game and a record comes up and you get it, that’s great.”
After the Big Black defense forced a three-and-out to start the game, the Point Pleasant offense — which scored on all-7 possessions in the first half — began its first drive at the WHS 49. With 6:33 left in the first quarter, Payne scored on a four-yard run that, with Jacob Bryant’s first of nine straight successful extra-point kicks, gave the hosts a 7-0 lead.
The ensuing kickoff was untouched by Westside (5-4) and Wamsley made a heads-up play to grab the ball for Point Pleasant at the WHS 20-yard line.
On the very next play, Payne connected with Tucker Mayes for a touchdown pass and stretched the lead to 14-0. For the game, Mayes finished with 57 yards on four receptions.
The Big Black defense came up with another takeaway on the third play of the Renegades’ next drive, as senior Aaron Turner picked off a pass and returned it to the WHS 49.
On the second play of the PPHS drive, senior Justin Brumfield broke a 42-yard scoring run, giving the hosts a 21-0 lead with 4:49 left in the opening stanza. Brumfield led the Big Black rushing attack with 139 yards on 13 carries in the win, while also catching a pass for 32 yards.
Westside went three-and-out again on the its next drive, and the Big Blacks took over at thier own 39-yard line. Point Pleasant needed just nine plays to cover the 61 yards, with Brumfield extending the lead to 28-0 with a three-yard run.
On the opening drive of the second quarter, Westside earned its first first down of the game, but ultimately missed a field goal and surrendered the ball to PPHS at its own 20.
After 10 plays, the Big Blacks were faced with a fourth-and-11 from the WHS 21. On the fourth down play, Payne found Mayes for the duo’s second scoring connection, pushing the lead to 35-0 with 6:27 left in the half.
The Renegades earned a pair of first downs before failing on a fourth down try and giving the ball back to the hosts at their own 39.
On the ninth play of the Big Blacks’ possession, Payne found Wamsley for the historic 18-yard touchdown pass, which gave the hosts a 42-point lead with 1:48 until halftime.
PPHS wasn’t done in the first half, however, as Westside fumbled the ball on its first play from scrimmage and Mayes recovered for the hosts.
On Point Pleasant’s second play of the 23-yard drive, Payne ran for his second touchdown, an 11-yard scamper that gave the hosts a 49-0 halftime lead.
The Big Blacks scored on the opening drive of the second half, as Wyatt Wilson — subbed in for Payne at quarterback — capped off a 64-yard drive with a five-yard scoring run. Wilson finished with 32 yards on 3-of-3 passing with 41 yards on seven carries.
After a loss of downs by each team, Turner came up with his second interception for the PPHS defense and the Big Black offense took over the at WHS 48.
On the fourth play of the drive, Logan Southall scored on an eight-yard run, pushing the lead to a game-high 63 points with 1:58 left in the third. Southall earned 44 yards on six carries in the win.
Westside ended the shut out on its first play of the fourth quarter, as Travis Cook tossed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Matt Blankenship. Cook was 20-of-32 passing for 281 yards, while Blankenship hauled in a team-best seven passes for 63 yards.
Wamsley returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for the touchdown, but the point-after kick attempt failed.
PPHS pinned the Renegades back to their own nine-yard line on the next kickoff, but on the very next play, Cook connected with Dwight Justus for a 91-yard scoring pass. Justus had a game-high 117 receiving yards on four grabs. Colby Vargas was 2-for-2 on point-after kicks for the guests and hauled in three passes for 68 yards.
Point Pleasant’s final offensive drive covered 70 yards and ran more than seven minutes off the clock. Wilson scored on a 18-yard run with 1:03 to play, capping off the 75-14 victory.
“We were stroking on all cylinders tonight,” Darst said. “The defense played lights out tonight, offensively we threw the ball well and we ran the ball well, and our special teams held them inside the 25-yard line on just about every kickoff.”
PPHS held a 530-to-to-278 advantage in total offense, including 344-to-106 in the first half. The Big Blacks had 24 first downs, while allowing just five. Point Pleasant won the turnover battle by a 4-0 count and didn’t punt in the game. PPHS rushed for 262 yards and held the guests to minus-3 yards on the ground.
Also for the PPHS offense, Nick Parsons hauled in two passes for 32 yards, while Alec Smith caught a 33-yard pass.
Prior to the game, Point Pleasant honored its 16 seniors, Ryan Oliver, Aaron Turner, Justin Brumfield, Jacob Bryant, Keshawn Stover, Alec Smith, Tucker Mayes, Cameron Nott, Andrew Flowers, Wyatt Pearson, Jason Chapman, Jesse Gleason, Tre Craddock, Alex Gibbs, Brian Gillespie and Clayton Hill.
“We drew it up great for these seniors on senior night,” Darst said. “They’ve been outstanding, these guys are four-year playoff guys. They’re a hard-working bunch of kids, there’s not a superstar in the group and I think that’s what makes it nice. They’ve all had to work up through the program, they’re a product of our program and every one of these kids in this senior class contributes to the football team.”
With the win, Point Pleasant secured its spot in the Class AA playoffs and the Big Blacks may host an opening round game.
“We’re probably going to have a chance at a home game in a couple of weeks,” Darst said. “We are a better football team right now than we were the first week against Mingo Central. Does that mean we’re going to go beat them? I don’t know. All I’m saying is, we’re a better football team right now and I’m excited to go to the playoffs.”
The Big Blacks entered Week 10 as the eighth ranked team in the Class AA playoff ratings. PPHS has an extra week to rest before beginning its 10th consecutive postseason, as Week 11 is a bye week for the Big Blacks.
NOTES: The previous OVB Stadium record for points by a single team was 73, set by Wahama in the second round of the 2010 Class A playoffs against East Hardy. Point Pleasant’s previous record for points in a home game was 70, which came against Lincoln County in the 2013 opener.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.