ONA - In about one minute's time here Friday night, Parkersburg High School's Charlie Taylor went from goat to hero.With PHS trailing Cabell Midland 12-7 midway through the fourth quarter, Taylor fumbled away the ball at the Knight 47 with just 7:14 to play.
Just two plays later, Taylor made up for his mistake, pouncing on a poor Cabell Midland pitchout at the Knight 32.
Ten running plays after that, the Big Reds scored the winning touchdown when quarterback Kyle Sutphin dove into the end zone from a yard out and Taylor added the two-point conversion. It was 15-12 Parkersburg with just 2:08 to play on a muddy field. Cabell Midland got the ball back for one last-ditch attempt, but went nowhere as PHS recorded its sixth win of the year, 15-12, clinching a Class AAA playoff berth.
It didn't take the Big Reds long to light up the visitors side of the sccoreboard.
After Andy Thomas returned the opening kickoff to the 34, Cabell Midland jumped offsides, giving PHS a first down and 5. On Parkersburg's first scrimmage play, Tony Morrison broke to the outside and rambled 52 yards to the Cabell Midland 9. On the next play, Morrison polished off those 9 yards and PHS led 6-0 just 55 seconds into the game. That lead soon became 7-0 as Bobby Hopkins successfully booted the extra point.
But any thoughts of a one-sided blowout quickly were erased as Cabell Midland's Josh Turley scored a Knight touchdown in a 65-yard run with 6:38 left in the first quarter. But the Knights missed the extra point kick, keeping PHS on top, 7-6.
Little did anybody know then there would be no more scoring in the first half.
Although both teams managed one long, sustained drive, neither could could light up the scoreboard.
PHS drove all the way to a fourth and 1 at the Cabell Midland 7, but the Knights held and took over on downs as the first quarter came to an end.
The longest drive of the second quarter came when the Knights drove from their own 11 to the PHS 23. Faced with a fourth down and seven, Cabell Midland elected to attempt a 40-yard field goal, but it fell short of its mark.
It looked like the game might well end 7-6 until Cabell Midland's Wade Midkiff fielded a PHS punt at the Knight 18 and returned it 82 yards for a 12-7 Cabell Midland lead with just 8:01 to play.
But thanks to Taylor's fumble recovery, PHS managed to drive for a game-winning and season-saving touchdown.
Parkersburg (6-3) got 115 rushing yards from Morrison, who carried most of the mail with Joey Lindamood sidelined for most of the second half. Taylor added 67 yards on 14 carries and Lindamood had 77 yards in 15 carries, all but one in the first half.
Cabell Midland (5-4) didn't complete any of its five pass attempts. The Knights rushed for 162 yards.
Sutphin completed four of six passes, including a 12-yard aerial to Jeremy Rhodes.
Parkersburg will close out the season next Friday night when St. Albans visits Stadium Field.