Highlanders win for Homecoming
HUNTINGTON - Huntington High got everything it wanted out of Friday night's Homecoming victory over Riverside.
Quarterback Mark Shaver threw for 126 yards and three touchdowns, all three running backs finished with more than 100 all-purpose yards and the defense pitched a shutout in a 34-0 win for the Class AAA No. 3 Highlanders (8-1).
"The second half, we did really well, but as a team, we look at this game and know that it wasn't to our full potential," Shaver said. "That's a good thing because it was 34-0, but we can still play a lot better."
Shaver finished 5 of 10 passing for 126 yards while connecting on three of his four attempts in the second half. He completed a pair of touchdown passes to Jacob Fraley in the first half before connecting with Jarod Martin on a 21-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Charles Crawford rushed for 113 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown in the second half and fullback Paden Christian also ended up with 100 yards on 13 carries. Running back Nick Tubbs added 66 yards on the ground while also hauling in a one-handed reception out of the backfield for a 40-yard gain.
On the opposite side of the football, the Highlander defense allowed just 93 total yards to Riverside with Jarod Martin and Nigale Cabell each notching two sacks.
"With Homecoming, it's crazy all week long," Huntington High coach Billy Seals said. "I give our kids some credit. We were focused and ready to play."
Leading by two scores, Huntington High forced a three-and-out to open the second half before going on a six-play, 60-yard drive capped by Crawford's 23-yard scoring run to make it 20-0.
The Highlanders put the game away in the fourth with a 15-yard touchdown run by Tubbs down the left sideline and Shaver's 21-yard scoring pass on a post corner to Martin, who got in behind the safety.
It capped a much stronger second-half performance for the Highlanders, who finished with 455 yards of total offense -- 329 in the rushing department.
Just before Sydney Pay was named as Homecoming Queen 2012, Huntington High took a 13-0 lead into the locker room after avoiding a late rally by the Warriors.
Riverside (1-8) got a stop in the final minute when the defense stopped Clark Wilson inches short on a fake field goal attempt, then drove 75 yards to the Highlanders' 10-yard line before a 27-yard field goal attempt by Derik Chestnut went wide left as time expired in the first half.
It was a big momentum swing for the Warriors, who would've gotten on the board and received possession to start the second half.
"When we missed the field goal down 13-0, even though it's just a field goal, I thought that would give us a bit of a boost if we'd have made it," Riverside coach Ralph Hensley said. "We didn't make it and (Chestnut) usually doesn't miss. It's just another one of those things where it feels like everything we've done this year has been wrong."
The 75 yards represented much of the Riverside offense in the first half as the Warriors were only able to gain 110 in the opening 16 minutes against the Huntington High defense.
The going did not get any better in the second half as Huntington High's defense limited Riverside to minus-17 yards while sacking quarterback Trevor Rumberg on six different occasions.
"At halftime, I challenged our guys a little bit and they responded," Seals said. "We played a much better second half. We felt like we needed to pressure him because he's got weapons on the outside if he gets time to throw the ball."
Rumberg came in as the Mountain State Athletic Conference passing leader, but missed on five of his first six throws as he stayed under pressure. He finished the game 5 of 13 for 89 yards.
Prior to the late drive by Riverside, the Highlanders ran at will on the Warriors, but it was the pair of touchdown passes from Shaver to Fraley -- his only two completions of the half -- that got them in the end zone.
Fraley's first touchdown catch came as he split two defenders and Shaver hit him on a 12-yard strike to give the Highlanders a 7-0 lead on the opening drive of the game.
On the second scoring toss, Fraley caught the stop route at the 5-yard line before carrying a defender into the end zone.
"Jacob Fraley is not going to outrun anybody, but he's going to run every route crisp and he's going to secure the football," Seals said. "He's been a pleasant surprise for us this year."
Huntington High returns home for the final game of the regular season next week against Capital in the Battle for the Bell. Both teams have solidified playoff spots, but the game will have huge playoff implications.
RIVERSIDE 0 0 0 0 -- 0
HUNTINGTON HIGH 7 6 7 14 -- 34
HH -- Fraley 12 pass from Shaver (Stevens kick)
HH -- Fraley 16 pass from Shaver (kick blocked)
HH -- Crawford 23 run (Stevens kick)
HH -- Tubbs 15 run (Stevens kick)
HH -- Martin 21 pass from Shaver (Ruley kick)
Total yards 43-93 58-455
First downs 6 17
Rushes-yards 28-(-1) 48-329
Comp-Att-Int 6-15-0 5-10-0
Passing yards 94 126
Penalties-Yds 3-25 9-74
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
RUSHING -- Riverside: Lain 4-19; Halstead 4-13; Simmons 1-2; Th. Rumberg 1-0; Hudnall 1-(-2); Burke 1-(-4); Tr. Rumberg 12-(-14); Jackson 4-(-15). HHS: Crawford 9-113, Christian 13-100; Tubbs 14-66, Hendricks 2-14; Shaver 5-14; Thompson 3-11; Morrison 1-6; Wilson 1-5.
PASSING -- Riverside: Rumberg 5-13, 89 yards; Sigman 1-1, 5 yards; Lain 0-1. HHS: Shaver 5-10, 126 yards.
RECEIVING -- Riverside: Reed 2-40; Lain 2-32; Jackson 2-17; Hudnall 1-5. HHS: Tubbs 1-40; Hendricks 1-37; Fraley 2-28, Martin 1-21.