WDN Sports Editor
MATEWAN – There is never a guarantee that a long awaited event will live up to all the hype. The opening game of the Miners not only lived up to its hype, it surpassed it with 48-14 slaughter of Wyoming East in Central’s opening contest of the season.
The Miners’ fans were treated to the first victory in front of a sold-out crowd, marching bands, a beautiful stadium, pleasant weather, great football along with a college-like atmosphere.
The first half was an exciting and evenly matched contest. The second half…a completely different story.
The Miners took a 26-14 lead to the locker rooms. Whatever adjustments Kinder made to the defense worked. Central’s D completely shut down the Warriors offense.
Mingo Central’s historical first possession began at their 19-yard line and the Miners wasted little time in scoring as Nick Lee hauled in a 25-yard Ashton Cline pass to conclude a 6-play, 2-minute drive in which the Miners no-huddle, up-tempo offense looked flawless.
Wyoming East’s Marcus Scholfield returned the ensuing kick-off 86 yards for what appeared to be a breath taking touchdown. However, a block in the back penalty at midfield brought the ball back.
As if the penalty was a momentum killer, the Warriors mistakes continued as they fumbled on their first play from scrimmage and Mingo Central Israel Reynolds recovered at the Miners’ 40-yard line. Seven plays later, Cline connected with Joe May from 14-yards out and with less than five minutes gone in the first quarter, MCHS led 12-0.
The Warriors came right back and put together a 51-yard drive that resulted in Wyoming East’s first score of the night as QB Zack Whitten hit Ty Treadway with a 34-yard TD strike to pull WE within a touchdown. The quarter ended with the Warriors driving again and the Miners holding a slim 12-6 lead.
Wyoming seemed to get a spark from the score in the first as they began the second continuing their 10 play, 50-yard drive. Mixing the run and the pass, the Warriors seemed to have the Miners defense off balance and with 8:12 in the half, Whitten powered in from the one for the tying TD. The Warriors took a 14-12 lead with a successful 2-point conversion.
Mingo Central refused to fold in front of the thousands of fans that turned out to watch the Miners. MCHS marched 87 yards on nine plays capped off by a Joe LaRue 7-yard TD run. Cline found Lee for the 2-point conversion and the Miners retook the lead 20-14.
The highlight of the drive was a 54-yard, 3 and 12 pass play from Cline to Corey Daniels who made a sensational tip-caught pass that put the Miners inside Wyoming East’s 35-yard line.
Daniels had several great plays on the evening. He intercepted Wyoming East first play of their drive and returned it 37 yards to the Warriors’ 24-yard line. But, the Warriors D held and they took over at their 22.
After moving the chains twice, the Miners defense stiffened and forced Wyoming to punt with 33 seconds in the half.
Using every second, Cline and May went to work as the QB hit the speedster on three consecutive passes covering 37 yards, the last a 6-yard TD. MCHS took a 26-14 lead to the locker rooms.
The Miners scored their fifth touchdown of the night with 7:14 to play in the third on a May 6-yard scamper. Cline connected with Lee for two and the Miners headed into the fourth quarter with a 34-14 lead.
It was all Mingo Central in the fourth. May scored his fourth TD of the night on a one-yard plunge and with the successful 2-point conversion, the Miners increased their lead 42-14.
Both squads began to empty their benches with coaches doing their best getting everyone into the game.
The Miners found paydirt one more time as Dakota Lester raced 25 yards for the night’s final TD.
Cline was 15 of 31 for 241 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. May rushed for 39 yards and two TDs and received 7 passes for 109 yards and two TDs.
As a squad, the Miners rushed for 221 yards and 241 in the air. MCHS had three turnovers and forced the Warriors into five.
Wyoming East rushed for 138 yards and 82 in the air.
The Miners are on the road to River View next weekend. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.