HUGHES: Excellent performance in crosstown showdown | News, Sports, Jobs


This year’s crosstown showdown showed exactly what high school football is all about. Facing adversity amid quarantine restrictions, Parkersburg prevailed for the win. When Parkersburg South trailed throughout the contest, he almost completed a late comeback.

This game brought out the best of the city and its student-athletes. Last year’s game was called off over COVID-19 issues, and nothing could fill the void. I grew up surrounded by rivalry and, as a PHS graduate, I remember many great moments on both sides of the big game. We finally got a chance to see these two again, and the result provided some many talking points for the Patriots and Big Reds.

PHS’s victory puts them in the top 16 in Class AAA, and it’s a decisive victory after a slow 1-2 start. David Parsons scored 8 for 14 for 112 yards and a touchdown in the win, and he did just the right thing of him. Austin Fleming counted for a pair of scores (including the dagger kick return to make the final score 28-19). Bryson Singer remained patient when South grabbed him defensively and found dirt to help the cause. All of this begs the question: where does the Parkersburg offensive go from here?

The 28 points scored are tied for a season high, and PHS also totaled 253 yards. Singer’s exploits secured a victory over Capital the week before, and that victory could serve as a springboard for the Reds and Whites to reach new heights. The upcoming games against Cabell Midland, Hurricane and South Charleston will go a long way in seeing what offense can accomplish.

South fell to 2-2 with the loss and fell outside the top 16. The emergence of second quarter QB Robert Shockey added another wrinkle to the offense, while the defense benefited from another year. These facts should give the Southsiders reason to be excited about the future, and it took some big performances from both sides of the ball to get back into the game.

Shockey was a double-threat PHS who couldn’t contain as he threw for 182 yards and ran for 128 more. Cyrus Traugh continued his big season by totaling 11 catches for 106 yards and one score. Triston Walker emerged with five catches for 41 yards in the loss as he is another weapon for Shockey to use. All of this begs the question: where does Parkersburg South go from here?

We have seen the Patriots at the top of the peaks in 2021, and we have seen them fall in a frustrating way. If the season ended today, they wouldn’t make the playoffs. Fortunately, “if” has no importance. There is still plenty of time for a rebound. The nature of the crosstown showdown is hard to predict, and even then South didn’t just lay down and suffer defeat. PSHS gained 386 yards of total attacking and came across the field with seconds left to bring the score down to under two. Two tough games against John Marshall and Bridgeport are ahead for head coach Nate Tanner’s team, but if one of his past comments is to be believed, this team won’t be intimidated.

One thing is certain. PHS and South will learn a lot about themselves over the next few weeks, but Friday’s rivalry match was all they needed in an uncertain time. I’m glad that a class AAA football staple has returned, and it’s an exciting time to be a PKB fan.

Contact Josh Hughes at [email protected]

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