Eagles fly over Panthers
HUNTINGTON -- The Cabell County Middle School football championship trophy now rests in Huntington's Southside.
Quarterback Jadon Hayes and receiver Isaiah Thornhill proved to be the perfect pass-catch combination as Hayes tossed three touchdown passes to Thornhill to power Huntington Middle School to a 38-6 victory over Milton in the county's middle school championship game Tuesday night at Huntington High's Bob Sang Stadium.
On defense, the Eagles utilized a 6-man front, on a suggestion by assistant coach John Dennison, and the Panthers found little room to run as Huntington often had eight to nine players in the box.
"Defense. ... the adjustments. Offense, we're fast and we wanted to get into space," Eagles head coach Mike Thomas said.
Once the game ended, Thomas got the Gatorade bath from the team. Then players, coaches and fans met at midfield where the champs got the trophy and held it high for all to see.
"It's going to be fun going to school tomorrow," Thornhill said.
On its first possession, Milton failed to convert on a 4th-and-3 at its 45. Huntington got the ball at the 46 and needed 10 plays to go the distance. Hayes, who had a 20-yard run on a 4th-and-9 at the Milton 34, scored on an 8-yard run.
Hayes took over at quarterback after Luke Zban went down with an injury late in the regular season.
"Jadon can carry the load and exploit any weakness," Thomas said. "We had packages for Jadon. We added some more, spread the field and took advantage of what he can do."
Thornhill's biggest moment came just before the half. On 1st-and-10 at the Milton 35, Hayes, operating out of the shotgun, rolled right and then heaved a pass to the streaking Thornhill. He went up between two defensive backs and made the grab for a score and 30-6 lead with 21.7 seconds left. Thornhill finished with six catches for 112 yards.
"He's an athlete," Thomas said. "Put the ball near him and he goes and gets it."
"I just went up and got it," Thornhill said.
"Put a pass near him and he gets it," Hayes said. "That play before the half was big. The key was get the ball into space."
Hayes carried 10 times for 105 yards and completed 7 of 9 passes for 138.
"My players are fast, the line blocked and we found the holes," Hayes said.
Chaston Holley led Milton with 130 yards rushing on 25 carries. One run went for 44 yards and a score in the second period.
"We had to take away No. 42 (Holley). He's a bull," Thomas said. "We clamped it down."
The Panthers had zero yards passing and that allowed the Huntington defense to crowd the line of scrimmage.
"The defensive line had its best game and tackled the best it has all season," Thomas said. "The offensive line blocked the best it has all year."
Thornhill said credit goes to the line play and Hayes.
"No. 10 (Hayes) made it happen," Thornhill said. "All the credit to the guys up front. They did the job on both sides of the ball."
MILTON 0 6 0 0 -- 6
HUNTINGTON 8 22 8 0 -- 38
H -- Hayes 8 run (Rogers run), 2:52.
H -- Thornhill 20 pass from Hayes (run failed), 5:30.
M -- Holley 44 run (run failed), 4:15.
H -- Rogers 6 run (Barber run), 3:56.
H -- Thornill 35 pass from Hayes (Rogers run), 21.7.
H -- Thornhill 14 pass from Hayes (Dawson pass from Hayes), 4:41.
First downs 8 13
Total Net Yards 160 298
Rushes-yards 38-160 24-160
Passing 0 138
Comp-Att-Int 0-3-0 8-11-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-0
Penalties-Yards 4-21 5-45
RUSHING -- Milton: Holley 25-130, Duncan 5-19, Fischer 1-0, Petitt 3-minus 1, Simpson 2-4, Beverage 2-8. Huntington: Rogers 3-11, Thornhill 4-32, Burger 3-12, Hayes 10-105, Barber 2-0, Dawson 2-0.
PASSING -- Milton: Duncan 0-1-0, Childress 0-1-0, Petitt 0-1-1. Huntington: Hayes 7-9-0, 138; Dawson 1-2-0, 0.
RECEIVING -- Milton: None. Huntington: Burger 1-16, Thornhill 6-112, Rogers 1-10.
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