Unbeaten Big Blacks moving on


By Bryan Walters - bwalters@civitasmedia.com



Point Pleasant running back Grant Safford (37) scores a touchdown behind the blocking of Seth Stewart (50), Alec Stanley (54) and Tannor Hill (88) during the first quarter of a Week 7 football contest against Oak Hill at OVB Field in Point Pleasant, W.Va.


Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The road to Wheeling always starts in a variety of locations. This year, however, Point Pleasant’s path goes no farther than its own backyard.

The Big Blacks are headed to the football playoffs for the eighth consecutive season after earning the two seed throughout the Class AAA playoffs, and Point Pleasant’s journey into the 2015 postseason begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.

Point Pleasant (10-0) was one of only two unbeaten Class AAA programs in the state this fall, with unbeaten Cabell Midland coming away with the top overall seed in the big-school division. PPHS will host 15th-seeded Musselman (6-4) on Friday night at Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field in Mason County.

The Big Blacks will be appearing in their school’s 13th gridiron postseason, as well as the program’s eighth straight year in the playoffs — a program best. Point just completed the school’s first-ever back-to-back-back unbeaten seasons and takes a state-best 33-game regular season win streak into the postseason.

PPHS — fresh off its only shutout of the season, a 66-0 trouncing of Princeton — has been thoroughly dominant during the regular season, as the Big Blacks are outscoring opponents by a sizable 613-104 overall margin. In fact, Point Pleasant has already scored more points this season than it did all of last fall during the program’s best-ever offensive campaign.

Point Pleasant’s efficiency has come in all three phases of the game as the Red, White and Black have outgained opponents by a whopping 4,600-2,007 advantage in total yards of offense. Point has also received a combined 109 of its 613 points from its kicking game and its defense — which includes a plus-11 in turnover differential this fall.

The Big Blacks have rushed 325 times for 3,950 yards and 65 touchdowns, an average of 12.2 yards per carry. PPHS has also allowed just 751 rushing yards and three TDs on 353 attempts, an average of 2.1 yards per tote.

Point Pleasant’s top six rushers this season are averaging at least 6.9 yards per carry, with senior Cody Mitchell leading the charge with 1,737 yards and 30 scores on 112 carries. Junior Grant Safford is currently the second-leading rusher out of the backfield with 105 attempts for 1,301 yards and 18 scores.

Freshman quarterback Cason Payne is 30-of-43 passing this season for 430 yards, including 12 TDs and zero interceptions. Mitchell is also 14-of-38 passing for 150 yards, throwing three picks and one TD.

Mitchell leads the receiving corps with 12 grabs for 185 yards and four scores. Safford and senior Garrett Litchfield both have 76 receiving yards apiece on four and five catches, respectively, while junior Jason Wamsley has snagged six passes for 45 yards.

The Big Blacks have also outscored opponents by a sizable 405-62 margin in the first half, including a 203-18 overall edge in the first quarter of games. PPHS also own a 177-99 advantage in total first downs this season, and nine of its 22 takeaways are on interceptions.

Other opening round playoff games in Class AAA include: Princeton at Cabell Midland, Greenbrier East at Martinsburg, George Washington at Huntington, Brooke at Morgantown, Spring Mills at Capital, South Charleston at Jefferson, and Spring Valley at Wheeling Park.

Wahama will be missing from the Class A playoffs for the first time in seven postseasons after finishing the year rated 25th overall with a 4-6 mark. Hannan (0-8) was the only Class A program out of 36 teams to not win a gridiron contest this fall.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the opening round contests for the 2015 WVSSAC football playoffs. Friday night games will start at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday games begin at 1:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

CLASS AAA

Friday

No. 16 Princeton (5-5) at No. 1 Cabell Midland (10-0)

No. 15 Musselman (6-4) at No. 2 Point Pleasant (10-0)

No. 12 Greenbrier East (7-3) at No. 5 Martinsburg (7-2)

No. 10 George Washington (7-3) at No. 7 Huntington (8-2)

No. 9 Brooke (7-3) at No. 8 Morgantown (8-2)

Saturday

No. 13 Spring Mills (7-3) vs. No. 4 Capital (7-2), at Laidley Field, Charleston.

No. 11 South Charleston (7-3) at No. 6 Jefferson (8-2)

No. 14 Spring Valley (6-4) at No. 3 Wheeling Park (8-1-1), 7:30 p.m.

CLASS AA

Friday

No. 16 Independence (7-3) at No. 1 Bridgeport (9-0-1)

No. 14 Liberty Raleigh (7-3) at No. 3 Tolsia (9-1)

No. 13 Lincoln (7-3) at No. 4 Fairmont Senior (8-2)

No. 11 Herbert Hoover (7-3) at No. 6 James Monroe (8-2)

Saturday

No. 15 Weir (7-3) vs. No. 2 Bluefield (8-1), at Princeton

No. 12 Westside (7-3) at No. 5 Keyser (8-2)

No. 10 Summers County (7-3) at No. 7 Mingo Central (8-2)

No. 9 Robert C. Byrd (7-3) at No. 8 Chapmanville (7-3)

CLASS A

Friday

No. 14 Valley Wetzel (7-3) at No. 3 South Harrison (9-1)

No. 13 Meadow Bridge (7-3) at No. 4 Moorefield (9-1)

No. 12 Tug Valley (7-3) at No. 5 Man (8-2)

No. 11 St. Marys (8-2) at No. 6 Buffalo (10-0)

Saturday

No. 15 Bishop Donahue (7-3) at No. 2 East Hardy (9-1)

No. 16 Van (7-3) at No. 1 Magnolia (10-0), 7:30 p.m.

No. 10 Pendleton County (7-3) at No. 7 Wheeling Central (9-1), 7:30 p.m.

No. 9 Pocahontas County (8-2) at No. 8 Williamstown (8-2), 7:30 p.m.

Point Pleasant running back Grant Safford (37) scores a touchdown behind the blocking of Seth Stewart (50), Alec Stanley (54) and Tannor Hill (88) during the first quarter of a Week 7 football contest against Oak Hill at OVB Field in Point Pleasant, W.Va.
http://mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/web1_11.10-PP-Safford.jpgPoint Pleasant running back Grant Safford (37) scores a touchdown behind the blocking of Seth Stewart (50), Alec Stanley (54) and Tannor Hill (88) during the first quarter of a Week 7 football contest against Oak Hill at OVB Field in Point Pleasant, W.Va. Bryan Walters/OVP Sports

By Bryan Walters

bwalters@civitasmedia.com

comments powered by Disqus