RED JACKET — The Poca Dots won a thriller over Cardinal Conference foe Mingo Central on Friday night at James H. “Buck” Harless Stadium as they stuffed Miner quarterback Daylin Goad at the 2-yard line as time expired to hold on for the 21-14 win.
The Miners (3-2) nearly pulled off the miraculous comeback despite trailing by 15 points at 21-6 with only six minutes to go in the game and struggling to put the ball into the end zone.
They got a late touchdown catch from Devin Hatfield and then forced a three-and-out to get the ball back. Central was threatening to come all the way back and had a chance to score and give itself a chance to win the game, but the Dots made the key plays down the stretch, stopping the Miners three straight times near the goal line as time expired.
Poca (5-0) struck first in the contest as it got on the board on its opening drive on a 4-yard plunge by Ethan Payne with 8:20 to go in the first and the Dots took a 7-0 lead. Poca extended the drive after a conversion on fourth and 16 when QB Jay Cook found Matt Stone on a 26-yard pass to set up first and goal.
After the Dots stopped the Miners on fourth down inside of their own 20-yard line, they were looking to add to their lead when Cook fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Jacoby Thornsbury at the Poca 20-yard line.
The Miners (3-2) capitalized on the turnover just a few plays later when Goad powered it in from 1 yard out with 50 seconds left in the first. The extra point try was no good and Poca kept the slim 7-6 lead.
After Mingo Central halted the next Poca drive with a stop on fourth down at its own 8-yard line, coach Josh Sammons’ club was knocking on the door of taking the lead after Goad found wideout Devin Hatfield on a 33-yard strike.
But the Dots made their second defensive stand of the first half as they stopped the Miners on their next four plays to force a turnover on downs.
On the next Dot drive, coach Seth Ramsey relied on the legs of Payne to work them down the field and set up a third and 4 and the Mingo Central 28-yard line.
On the next play, Cook took to the air and found Toby Payne open down the middle of the field and he rumbled into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown pass with just 39 seconds to go in the half. Joseph Starcher’s PAT was good and the Dots took the 14-6 lead into the halftime locker rooms.
Mingo Central outgained Poca 422-310, but Poca displayed a bend-but-don’t-break defense all game long, stopping the Miners on fourth down multiple times.
Ethan Payne led Poca once again in rushing, carrying the ball 26 times for 167 yards and two touchdowns adding to his mind-boggling season numbers. Cook finished 9 of 13 passing for 106 yards with his top receiver being Toby Payne, who hauled in two passes for 49 yards and a score.
Goad finished 33 for 48 passing for Mingo Central and totaled 294 yards, one touchdown, and no picks while also rushing 16 times for 100 yards and a score. The Hatfield brothers combined for 235 receiving yards on the day with Devin hauling in 12 passes for 134 yards and a score while Drew grabbed 11 balls for 91 yards.