PHS downs Warren

VINCENT – The Parkersburg football program joined some elite company and became one of only eight schools in the country to win 800 games.

In the season-opener for both teams Friday night at Warren High School, the Big Reds put Ohio’s newly adopted continuous clock rule into effect for more than a quarter as they defeated Warren and first-year head coach Anthony Fish, 41-22.

Don Reeves, who played quarterback for the 1978 state championship team and now coaches PHS, took a Gatorade bath as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Once the team entered the locker room, the coaching staff handed each player a red T-shirt noting the program’s achievement.

“Winning No. 800 is immensely important to me,” Reeves said. “I grew up with this program. I played in it and I’m coaching with it. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the people who played here.

“When you are the eighth team in the country to do it, we’re proud. We can put ourselves in a category that not too many other people can claim. We’re proud of our tradition and we’re hoping to get more wins.”

The PHS defense dominated the first half and rolled out to a 28-2 lead by intermission. Big Red defensive end Max Chefren led the sack exchange with three and also returned a fumble 22 yards for the Big Reds’ third touchdown of the opening half.

Warren’s ground game was suffocated to a tune of minus-26 yards on seven carries and the Warriors failed to cross midfield by the time the first half concluded.

PHS picked its moments to find the end zone. On their second offensive play of the regular season, Dan Fox connected with Jordan Colebank on a halfback pass that turned into a 51-yard touchdown reception.

A minor hiccup on their next series resulted in a safety and the Warriors trailed 7-2 at the 5:45 mark of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Big Reds erupted for 21 points. Joining Colebank as touchdown producers were Fox on a 5-yard TD run and Noah Weaver on a 6-yard TD run. All three touchdowns occurred in a five-minute span.

The PHS defense rose to the occasion on Warren’s first series of the second half. Colebank picked off Warren quarterback Andrew Henthorn and returned the pick 69 yards for the TD.

Josh Roney’s point after gave PHS a 35-2 cushion and Ohio’s newly adopted continuous clock rule came into effect. Once a team takes a lead of 30 points or more, the clock only stops for injuries, timeouts and changes in possession.

The rule stuck for a little more than than a quarter when PHS got sloppy and allowed three Warren touchdowns in the final 7-1/2 minutes.

Michael Smith returned a fumble 45 yards for the first TD, while Jared Isner scored from 1 yard and again from 24 yards to complete the scoring with 54 second remaining in the fourth quarter.

Warren finished with just 45 yards of total offense compared to 285 for PHS. Fox led the Big Reds in rushing with 82 yards on seven carries, while Isner paced the Warrior attack with 50 yards on 11 attempts.

“We came out in the first half and sat on our heels,” Fish said. “Winning the turnover battle is something we can take away from this game. If we come out and play our brand of football and attack, we will win ballgames. We just didn’t do it tonight.”

PHS is idle next week while Warren entertains Washington County rival Marietta next Friday.