HHS wins to go 10-0
WINFIELD — Huntington High ended the 2013 football regular season the same way it started — with a hard-fought battle against a Putnam County foe.
And in the end, the Highlanders did exactly what they did all season long. They found a way to get it done under tough circumstances.
On a muddy field Friday night at Generals Stadium, Huntington High (10-0) secured the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Class AAA playoffs with a 14-6 win over Winfield.
It gives the Highlanders the first perfect regular season in the consolidated school’s history and the first for either of its feeder schools since Huntington East went 10-0 in 1980.
“That’s one of those gutty wins that you churn out in conditions that don’t necessarily play to our advantage,” Huntington High coach Billy Seals said. “I’m happy we’re on turf from here on out. It was a good, gutty win for our kids here, though.”
With the win and the No. 1 overall seed in the Class AAA postseason, the Highlanders are guaranteed to host throughout the playoffs, meaning the team will be on its FieldTurf surface until the championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Leading by just one possession late, the Highlanders relied on what had gotten them to an unblemished mark throughout the year — a playmaking defense that made stops when needed.
Winfield had momentum and possession coming down the stretch and drove as close as the Huntington High 32-yard line, but the Highlanders’ Kilan and Arick Nicks combined on a sack of Winfield’s Toby Show to force a fourth-and-15, which fell complete.
“At key times, we were able to get pressure on him,” Seals said. “We couldn’t really use our speed to an advantage tonight on the wet surface. Tonight was tough treading, but we played well enough to win and we made stops when we most needed them. We’re excited to be 10-0.”
The Highlanders then were able to churn out a first down — courtesy of a hard-driving 4-yard run by Paden Christian — to ice the clock and cap the team’s first-ever unblemished regular season and set off the celebration.
Huntington High’s power running game had been subdued throughout the early stages of the contest, but the second half brought about a change to provide the Highlanders with the needed points to earn the close victory.
After the scoreless first half, Huntington High took the opening possession of the second half 67 yards in eight plays, capped by Charles Crawford’s 8-yard dive into the end zone.
Crawford is often known for his speed, but displayed a much more powerful approach in this game, using his quickness to get to the outside before turning the ball up the field for chunks of yardage. He finished with 91 yards on 12 carries.
“Our backs were running hard all night,” Seals said. “We were just having trouble finding places to run. They just couldn’t stay on their feet. ”
After the Highlanders were able to force a punt on the next possession, they put the Generals in what seemed like a big hole as they drove 72 yards in 14 plays and took 6:19 off the clock before Nick Tubbs caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Clark Wilson to make it 14-0 with 10:10 left.
However, the Generals answered with Colton Griffith’s 90-yard kickoff return to bring the score back within 14-6 and set up the exciting finish.
With Huntington High’s defense not allowing a touchdown to Winfield’s offense, it makes six consecutive quarters that the Highlander defense has not been scored on heading into the postseason.
Show finished the game 12-of-21 for 147 yards while leading Winfield (4-6) in rushing with 36 yards.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 0 0 7 7 — 14
WINFIELD 0 0 0 6 — 6
HH — Crawford 8 run (Stevens kick)
HH — Tubbs 11 pass from Wilson (Stevens kick)
W — Griffith 90 kickoff return (kick failed)
First downs 17 10
Total yards 51-243 44-197
Rushes-Yds 45-218 23-50
Comp-Att-Int 3-6-0 12-21-0
Passing yards 25 147
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-0
Penalties-Yds 8-54 7-68
RUSHING — Huntington High: Crawford 12-91; Christian 14-49; Tubbs 11-45; Wilson 6-26; Wheeler 1-5; Gibbs 1-2. Winfield: Show 10-36; Withrow 2-12; Copeland 6-11; Turner 2-4; Team 1-(-1); Lewis 1-(-3); Amick 1-(-9).
PASSING — Huntington High: Clark Wilson 3-6-0, 25 yards. Winfield: Show 12-21-0, 147 yards.
RECEIVING — Huntington High: Johnson 1-17; Tubbs 1-11; Christian 1-(-3). Winfield: Hathaway 2-67; Hill 3-29; Lewis 3-19; Amick 1-15; Turner 3-14.
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