NEW RICHMOND – The first play from scrimmage told the story in Mingo Central’s season-opening win at Wyoming East on Friday night.
Quarterback Jeremy Dillon found Drew Hatfield open for a long scoring pass, Class AA No. 5 Mingo Central went on to thump the Warriors, 58-13 in the season opener for both teams.
“They’re big and fast,” said East coach Donald Jewell. “They’re ranked for a reason.”
The Miners were effective through the air and on the ground as they controlled the contest from the start.
It looked like Central would score its second TD of the night on its second play from scrimmage when Dillon connected on a 58-yard toss to Tyler Grimmett. But it was waived off by a penalty, one of three Miners scores erased by flags.
The Warriors made a game of it for a while, driving 50 yards for a score in the first quarter using a short passing game the running of senior quarterback Hunter Hall.
Hall had an 11-yard run and a 13-yard pass to Zach Raye to move the sticks to the MC 26.
After Hall was sacked, he ran the ball to the Miners 16.
East picked up a first down at the 5 on Hall’s pass to Jake Cannady.
Two plays later, Hall ran it in from two yards to give East its only lead of the night. James Snuffer kicked the extra point to make it 7-6.
Central put together a five-play, 65-yard drive in the second period, capped by Dillon’s 44-yard touchdown run. Corey Miller’s extra point kick gave MC a 13-7 lead.
On the Miners next possession, it was second and long when Lee Chafin broke to the outside and went 74 yards for six.
“I thought we did a pretty good job on the run up the middle, but when they went to the ends, they were too fast,” Jewell remarked.
East botched a punt attempt a short time later, snapping the ball over the kicker’s head, to give Central the ball on the Warriors six. Senior fullback Joe Hunt powered his way in from the two to push the lead to 27-7 with 5:41 showing.
The Warriors blitzed when Central was stuck deep in its own territory and forced a fumble recovered by Raye.’
That gave East the ball at the three, and Hall carried it in from there.
Central started the next drive 82 yards from the goal line with 62 ticks left.
Turns out they didn’t need any more time than that.
The Miners picked up a crucial first down on fourth and eight.
Later, Hatfield stayed in bounds for a touchdown catch on the sideline as time expired.
David Buchanan had the two-point conversion as MCHS took a 35-13 lead into the dressing room.
East’s Hall suffered what was probably a season-ending arm injury on the play, Jewell reported.
“I liked the effort,” Hall said. “We came out in the third quarter and drove about a quarter of the length of the field with a freshman quarterback.”
The Warriors eventually had to punt, and another bad snap went over the punter’s head. Snuffer threw the ball to the end zone for a safety. It was 37-13.
Central got the ball on the East 41 on the free kick.
Dillon ran left 10 yards for a TD as the lead ballooned to 45-13.
The Miners recovered a Warrior fumble at the East 6-yard line to set up the next score.
Dillon threw a short pass to Hatfield with 3:06 left on the clock.
With Central leading by 39 heading into the final quarter, the SSAC’s new mercy rule went into effect.
If a team leads by 35 or more when the fourth period begins, the clock runs continuously unless there is a score, an injury or a time out.
East’s top running back, Uriah Adkins, suffered a concussion in the second half.
On offense, Hatfield had three receptions for 132 yards and three TDs. (He also had 80 yard kickoff return and a 45 yard TD catch called back because of pentalties.)
Dillon was 6-of-12 passing for 180 yards and four TD passes. He also rushed for 67 yards and a pair of TDs.
Joey Hunt had nine rushes for 47 tards and a TD. Freshman Dougie Dillon had two rushes for 71 yards and one TD, while
Dalton Sheppard had two catches for yards and a score.
On defense senior Caleb Lester had six tackles and one QB sack. Trey Lester had six stops, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Issac Fox had five tackles for Central. Dillon had a forced fumble and one interception.Several other players had four tackles to the strong Miner’s defense.
Central will host Tolsia this week in a rematch of a last year’s Class AA state semifinal. The Rebels defeated the Miners in the regular season and in the playoffs last season. Tolsia has dropped down to Single A this year after the reclassification. They defeated county rival Wayne last week.
East travels to Westside for the annual Battle for the Coal Shovel.
(John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.)
(Editor Kyle Lovern contributed to this article. He can be contacted at [email protected])
Score by quarters:
Mingo Central: 6 29 17 6-58
Wyoming East: 7 6 0 0-13