POCA — Four senior starters left the team, another one was ruled ineligible and the coach was hospitalized overnight Thursday and ruled out of action for Friday night.
What else could go wrong for the Scott Skyhawks?
Well, one thing went right Friday night at O.O. White Stadium — the Skyhawks broke a nine-game losing streak by pulling away from Poca 38-14.
It was a battle of teams with long losing streaks, with Poca now suffering 32 straight setbacks. The Skyhawks last won against, you guessed it, Poca in 2015 at Madison.
Scott (1-4) pulled away Friday with a 24-point fourth quarter to break open a 14-7 game, and rode the legs of three 100-yard rushers — Garrett Roberts (153), Nathan Ramsey (137) and Carson McComas (132).
Roberts scored twice in the second quarter, McComas scored once and Ramsey scored 20 points — two touchdowns, four 2-point conversions.
In first-year coach Shann Elkins’ place, Nick Shreve earned his first victory as an acting head coach.
“I work at the hospital [Boone Memorial] and I talked to him at the ER,” Shreve said of Elkins. “And he said, ‘Hey, it’s yours tonight; they’re probably not going to let me out of here.’ Nurses were telling me, yeah, they’re probably going to keep him overnight.
“My first thought was, ‘Oh, boy,’ freak out. But the closer I got to game time, we had everything in, everything was taken care of. It was basically just getting the boys to rally up, come out here ready to go.”
It wasn’t easy against a determined bunch of Dots (0-5) on homecoming night. The Skyhawks’ first-quarter drives ended in a 3-yard punt, a lost fumble and an interception.
But the Skyhawks scored first on a Roberts 23-yard run, with Ramsey running for the 2-point conversion and an 8-0 lead. On the next possession, Roberts scored from the 32 to make it 14-0.
It was a breakout night of sorts for Roberts, younger brother of 2007 Kennedy Award winner Jordan Roberts.
“Having Garrett back helped,” Shreve said. “Even since last year, he’s been battling hamstrings and other injuries. And he’s finally feeling good — little out of shape right now, he cramped up on us.”
A 68-yard pass from Jacob McClanahan to Matthew Gibson perked the Dots up, as they advanced to the Scott 6-yard line. On fourth-and-goal at the 3, McClanahan scored on a quarterback draw to cut the lead to 14-7 at the half.
The Dots got the second-half kickoff and went with Gibson behind center in a direct-snap package. But on third-and-1 at the Scott 26, Gibson tried a pass, threw it too high and Scott’s Peyton Hassler picked it off and returned it 40 yards to get the Skyhawks out of trouble.
Later, Poca was stopped on downs at the Scott 35, and the Skyhawks’ McComas raced 63 yards to the Dots’ 1 on the next play. But on the first play of the fourth quarter, the Skyhawks lost a fumble there.
By the time the Dots got out of their end of the field, Scott enjoyed a 30-8 lead. Coach Seth Ramsey considered going for it on fourth-and-1 — if that much — at the Dots’ 10, but opted for the conventional punt. That traveled just 27 yards, and Scott followed that with McComas’ 19-yard run for a 22-7 lead.
The Dots seemed gassed as the Skyhawks scored on the next two possessions in a row for a 38-7 lead. McClanahan threw 45 yards to Bronson Skeens to set the final score.
“We had some drives going,” Seth Ramsey said. “We shot ourselves in the foot on bad snaps; couldn’t get over the hump. We had the score 14-7 in the fourth quarter, gave them a short field a couple of times and they punched it in.
“Counter plays gave us some trouble, and their big plays gave us trouble.”
Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dougsmock and read his blog at http://blogs.wvgazettemail.com/dougsmock/.