RED JACKET – Mingo Central put on a scoring demonstration for Summers County as the Miners rolle past their visitors 68-28 in the opening round of the WVSSAC Class 2A playoffs.
The first half was completely dominated by Mingo Central’s offense and special teams. The Miners scored 54 points in the first half compared to Summers County’s lone touchdown. The Miners jumped out to an early lead and capitalized on ever mistake the Bobcats made. Mingo Central had four interceptions and kept the ball out of the Bobcats possession through almost the entire first half by recovering numerous onside kicks and punts.
Summers County received the first kickoff but couldn’t do much good with the opportunity, Mingo Central forced the Bobcats to punt and the Miners went to work on offense. On the second play of the Miners first drive Stephen Hammond connected with Tyler Grimmette on a pass down the left sideline and Grimmette ran 95-yards for the score with 9:45 left to play in the first quarter. Jeremy Harrison added the extra point kick for the Miners and the game was underway.
Harrison kicked off to Summers County and the receiver bobbled the ball until Mingo central’s defense swarmed him and downed the Bobcats deep in their own territory. The Miners received two big penalties on the Bobcats drive and it looked like Summers County was making some progress down the field until the Bobcats fumbled and Mingo central recovered the ball on their own 42-yard line.
Senior running back Deonte Joplin broke loose on a big 50-yard rush but the run was called back to mid field after a holding penalty on the Miners. Joplin had been nursing an ankle injury for the last few weeks but appeared in fine form as he finally crossed the goal line on a 9-yard scamper with 3:17 left to play in the first quarter to add more points to the miners score. Harrison made the extra point kick and the Miners jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the game.
To begin the second quarter Summers County was putting together an impressive offensive drive until Taylor Thornsbury intercepted a pass and gained possession back for the Miners. The Miners drove the ball down-field quickly, with 7:56 left to play before halftime Hammond punched in another score from the 1-yard line to put the Miners up by 20 points. Harrison missed the extra point and the score stayed at 20.
Summers County’s offense reached into their bag of tricks and decided to run a halfback pass to try and get some momentum, that momentum was stopped when Dalton Sheppard intercepted the pass and returned the ball down to the 2-yard line for Mingo Central. There was a flag on the play after a Mingo Central player got called for a clip. The Miners retained the ball, but were placed back on the Bobcats 26-yard line. Kaleb Lester rushed the Miners down to the 2-yard line to set up for another score. Hammond scored once more on a quarterback sneak with 5:05 left to play before halftime to put the Miners up 26-0. The two-point conversion failed but the Miners settled into to a 26 point lead.
Summers County showed signs of life when quarterback Matt Ryan scored on a 49-yard scramble through the Miners defense with 1:40 left to play before halftime. The Bobcats made the extra-point kick and the score moved to 26-7 with the Miners still controlling the lead.
Mingo central received the kick from Summers County and the offense took the field. A fumble by the miners turned the ball back over to Summers County with 1:20 left to play before halftime. Thornsbury then intercepted a pass to give the ball back to the Miners with 1:11 left to play before halftime.
The Miners offense stood on the 35-yard line and was determined to score again before halftime. Hammond connected with Sheppard on a 21-yard pass completion for another score with :40 left to play in the second quarter. Joplin rushed in the two-point conversion from the wildcat formation and the Miners jumped up to a 34-7 lead.
The Miners lined up to kick the ball off to Summers County and Harrison pooched the ball over the first line of Bobcat receivers and the Miners recovered the kick. Joplin rushed in another quick score from 12-yards out to add another score before halftime for the Miners with :22 left to play before the end of the half. Hammond connected with Thornsbury for the two-point conversion and the Miners took a 42-7 lead over the Bobcats.
With little time left to go before halftime Mingo central recovered another on-side kick and then Hammond connected with Stephen Whitt for another Mingo Touchdown to put the Miners up 48-7 after Hammond failed to convert the two-point conversion.
Mingo Central kicked off to Summers County one last time with six seconds left to go before halftime, Ryan fielded the kick for the Bobcats but fumbled; the fumble was recovered by Cole Ellis who returned the fumble to the end zone for yet another score for the Miners. Harrison added the extra point and the Miners entered halftime with a big 54-7 lead.
The second half began with another Mingo Central score. With 8:47 left to play in the third quarter Hammond found Thornsbury on a 12-yard touchdown pass to put the Miners up 61-7 after Harrison made the extra point. Hammond connected with Thornsbury one more time with 6:27 left to play in the third quarter on a 58-yard touchdown catch, Harrison made the extra point kick and the Miners finished scoring with 68 total points.
Summers County would score three more times before the end of the third quarter to bring their final score to 28.
Mingo Central finished with 456-yards of total offense on 56 plays. The Miners had 298-yards on 14 pass completions and 158-yards rushing on 36 carries. Summers County finished with 358-yards of total offense on 55 plays. Mingo Central scored five passing touchdowns.
Hammond finished the game completing 14 out of his 19 pass attempts for 298-yards and five passing touchdowns. Joplin led the Miners on the ground with 70-yards rushing on nine carries and two rushing touchdowns. Lester followed with 46-yards on six carries. Hammond rushed for 30-yards on six carries and scored two rushing touchdowns.
Thornsbury caught six passes for 148-yards and two receiving touchdowns. Grimmette had two receptions for 102-yards receiving and one score. Sheppard caught three passes for 37-yards and one score. Whitt also caught one pass for a six yard score.
Defensively the Miners held Summers County to 51 yards passing and 307 yards rushing. The Miners were led by Corey Blankenship and Isaac Fox, Blankenship had five tackles and Fox had four.
Mingo Central will travel to Bluefield on Friday night.