Thomas leads Knights to rout
BELLE, W.Va. -- Senior Kasey Thomas was never truly healthy in the 2012 season as the Cabell Midland running back battled through injuries to take the field for his football team which advanced to the Class AAA state championship game.
On Thursday, Thomas showed exactly what he can do when he is 100 percent healthy.
Thomas finished with 149 yards on just 11 carries with four going for first-half touchdowns as the Knights dismantled Riverside, 70-0, to open the 2013 season.
"I've been saying since last year, he was performing better than any of the running backs before he got hurt," Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons said. "He's a good kid and he's done a great job. He's certainly a weapon for us."
Cabell Midland unveiled lots of weapons, rushing for 618 yards and finishing with 672 total yards.
The Knights had seven running backs finish with 50 yards or more on the ground en route to averaging 13.4 yards per carry.
"It's a good feeling that any of them can take it to the house," Salmons said. "With our system, you better have a lot of backs and they all bring something different to the table."
Running backs Teran Barnitz and Donte Hendricks were both impressive in their first action in a Cabell Midland uniform. Barnitz, who transferred from Point Pleasant, finished with 62 yards on eight carries while also serving as the lead blocker for much of the offensive success. Hendricks, the Huntington High transfer, showed his explosiveness with 68 yards on just four carries and a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that opened the second half.
The Knights' lopsided win put a damper on the opening night for Riverside head coach Steven Freeman, who is a Cabell Midland graduate and was also an assistant for the Knights and Huntington High in recent years.
Freeman inherited a team that was extremely light on experience and it showed as the Warriors finished with just 26 total yards.
Will Jackson of the Warriors was impressive in breaking tackles, finishing with 46 yards on 15 carries, but sophomore quarterback Cole Sigmon could not avoid the pressure from the Knights.
Sigmon was sacked four times and finished just 1-of-6 passing for 3 yards with two interceptions.
Cabell Midland quarterback Coy Pettit showed a much stronger arm than in 2012, and the added body strength also aided him in the running game.
Pettit broke a tackle in the backfield and raced 53 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to make it 56-0. After starting slow in the passing game, he also completed his final five throws to finish 6-of-9 for 54 yards with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brooks Gillispie.
Other notable efforts included Alex Childers, whose two rushes landed him 70 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown, and Daniel Jarrell, who came in late, but finished with four carries for 83 yards and a score.
One aspect that Salmons will not like was the amount of penalties assessed to the Knights. Cabell Midland was called for 140 yards of penalties on 16 infractions.
With 6:02 left in the fourth quarter, there was a scary moment for the Knights when Devin Stapleton went down just short of the goal line with what appeared to be a head or neck injury. Stapleton was immobilized on the field and, once an ambulance got on site, he was taken to a local hospital for observation. The game was delayed 32 minutes while Stapleton was tended to.
"We hope and pray that he's okay," Salmons said. "He seemed to have good movement."
Cabell Midland returns to action on the road next week when the Knights travel to Winfield for a Friday night contest.
CABELL MIDLAND 15 21 20 14 -- 70
RIVERSIDE 0 0 0 0 -- 0
CM -- Thomas 3 run (Riddle run)
CM -- Thomas 71 run (Adkins kick)
CM -- Thomas 11 run (Adkins kick)
CM -- Childers 41 run (Adkins kick)
CM -- Thomas 1 run (Adkins kick)
CM -- Hendricks 95 KO return (kick failed)
CM -- Gillispie 4 pass from (Adkins kick)
CM -- Pettit 53 run (Adkins kick)
CM -- Ellis 1 run (Adkins kick)
CM -- Jarrell 2 run (Molina kick)
First downs 22 3
Total yards 672 26
Rushes-Yards 46-618 40-26
Comp-Att-Int 6-9-0 1-6-2
Passing Yards 54 3
Penalties-Yds 16-140 3-25
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-2
RUSHING -- Cabell Midland: Thomas 11-149, Jarrell 4-88, Childers 2-70, Hendricks 4-68, Ellis 9-65, Barnitz 8-62, Pettit 1-53, Jeffrey 4-33, D. Stapleton 2-21, Chapman 1-4. Riverside: Jackson 15-46, Wilkinson 7-12, Correll 3-3, Mullins 1-1, Rumberg 1-(-6), Sigmon 5-(-39).
PASSING -- Cabell Midland: Pettit 6-9-0, 54 yards. Riverside: Sigmon 1-6-2, 3 yards.
RECEIVING -- Cabell Midland: Chapman 2-21, Barnitz 1-13, Hendricks 1-9, Childers 1-7, Gillispie 1-4. Riverside: Ramsey 1-3.