CLENDENIN – The Mingo Central Miners held on to defeat the Herbert Hoover Huskies 36-28 Friday at Crowley Field, located at Falling Rock near Clendenin, to improve to 7-2 on the season.
“This was a wild one,’” said head coach Yogi Kinder. “A tough game - our kids played hard. We’ve got all these young guys. These guys have made a big turnaround. It’s the first time we’ve won seven games.’”
The Miners have now gone 6-0 on the road. They lost their home opener by one point, 27-26, to Wyoming East. Then they lost to perennial Class 2A power and 2-time defending state champion Wayne 40-12, but that game was much closer than the final score indicates.
Coach Yogi Kinder’s squad continues to find ways to win and in only their third season as a school, this is the most wins they have had in one season.
Mingo Central will wind up the regular season at home against Mount View. It will be homecoming for the school.
The Miners are now assured of their second straight playoff appearance. However where, when and who they will play will not be known until next weekend once the regular season is over with.
If the Miners win and finish 8-2, they need a little help from other teams to finish in the top eight in Class 2A. This would enable Mingo Central to host its first-ever playoff game at Harless Stadium up at the mountaintop location of the school.
The Miners fell behind early as the Huskies took a 7-0 lead to start the game. However, the Miners fought back to lead 28-14 at the half.
They held off the hard-driving Huskies in the second half as the defense stepped up and they pulled out the tough Cardinal Conference road win.
The Huskies struck first as Shaun Dotson scored on a 50 yard TD run. Strickland’s kick gave the home team a 7-0 lead.
Mingo Central got its first TD as sophomore Deonte Joplin scored from 16 yards out. The kick failed and the Hoover lead was 7-6.
Chance Lester hit pay-dirt from two yards out to give the Miners the lead. Joplin’s 2-point conversion made it 14-7.
Mingo Central sophomore quarterback Stevie Hammond then threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Corey Robertson for another Miner’s TD. The run failed, but the visitors increased their lead to 20-7.
Herbert Hoover quarterback Tyler Americo then broke free to score on a 47 yard run. Strickland’s kick made it 20-14.
Hammond fired another TD pass to Nathaniel Abbott from 19 yards out. The conversion pass to Alex Lee was good to make it 28-14 at the half.
The Huskies scored two more times in the second half to make the game close as Americo hit pay-dirt on a 1-yard run and Colton Thomas scored in the final quarter on an 11-yard run. Strickland booted both extra points.
Mingo got a third quarter touchdown from Joplin on a 2-yard run. He also ran it in for the conversion and that score proved to be important.
Hoover would not go away as Thomas, who shouldered the rushing load after Dotson’s ankle injury, scored from 11 yards out to cap a 13-play, 66-yard drive to pull his team within 36-28 with 7:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Huskies defense, which only yielded eight points after halftime, forced the Miners to punt on their ensuing possession.
Then on 4th-and-11 from the Hoover 31, Americo’s pass fell incomplete but Mingo Central defensive back Chance Lester was called for pass interference. This gave the Huskies a first down and new life at their own 46. Three plays later it ended when Americo and Triston Hager failed to connect.
Mingo picked up 19 first downs, while HHHS had 17.
Mingo Central rushed 45 times for 261 yards, while Hoover ran it 38 times for 290 yards. Hammond finished 3-9 passing for 60 yards and two TDs and no interceptions.
Herbert Hoover fumbled the ball once and Mingo Central picked off a pass. Lee picked off the pass for MCHS. Both times the Miners were able to take advantage of the turnovers and score.
Joplin finished with 105 yards on 21 carries, while Lester had 102 yards on 14 tries. Dotson led the Huskies with 142 yards on 14 carries.
Score by quarters:
Mingo (7-2) … 6 22 8 0 - 36
HHHS (x-x) … 7 7 7 7 - 28
(Editor’s Note: The Charleston Gazette provided statistics and information for this story.)