Mohigans upset No. 7 Parkersburg 45-35 in season opener

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown seniors Ty Konchesky and Nick Malone go way back. In fact, they go so far back that Konchesky can barely  remember how they met.

“We’ve been best friends before I can even get into my head,” Konchesky said. “I can’t even think back that far.”

Now, their bond extends between the white lines at Pony Lewis Field, and they’re well on their way to forging a legacy on the gridiron — and it kicked off with a bang Thursday night.

Konchesky paced his squad with 120 rushing yards and two touchdowns behind Malone and a bruising Mohigans offensive line as MHS topped No. 7 Parkersburg at home in a 45-35 thriller. 

“A couple of times, they got excited with each other, and this coaching staff got excited, but everyone kept their composure,” MHS coach Matt Lacy said. “These kids just kept battling and scored 45 points in the season opener against a great football team. I’ll take that.”

It was a roller coaster ride of a night for MHS, going up 17-0 in the first quarter only to give up 28 unanswered to open the second quarter. A Jace Whetsell 91-yard kick return brought the score to 28-24 before halftime, but the Mohigans still trailed heading into the break.

“We just got tired. You look at the kids’ demeanor — they were just standing out there. We rushed for 137 yards in the first, and then had eight carries for seven yards in the second,” Lacy said. “We wore down a little bit, but we’ll get better. The team will play themselves into game shape.”

The Mohigans bullied Parkersburg in the trenches from whistle to whistle, out-blocking and out-hustling their opponents. The disparity in intensity was most noticeable in the run game, where MHS out-rushed the Big Reds, 251 yards to 197. Four of the five offensive touchdowns for the Mohigans came on the ground.

“They’re incredible, they’re huge — I couldn’t ask for anything else,” Konchesky said. “Nick Malone is an animal; I’d run behind him every play if I could. I have so much faith in my line.”

The run game is more than just a strategy for Konchesky and the Mohigans — it’s a way of life. It’s what the unit carves their offense around, and they spend a good majority of their time each day perfecting it.

“That’s what we’re all about. That’s our mentality. We’ll line up in practice on offensive days and just run power — to the right, then to the left, for 20 minutes,” Konchesky said. “It’s just a mentality — it doesn’t matter who’s on the other side, you’re going to get into the end zone. You have to be getting at least four yards on power.”

The come-from-behind win over a top-ranked team helped establish MHS as a potential powerhouse for the 2018 campaign, and, according to Lacy, was a big step in building confidence for his unit.

“The resolve that they had — they were up, then down, then up again — but they stayed with it,” Lacy said. “That shows the leadership from these 19 seniors have on this football team, helping rally them back together.”

MHS tallied 340 yards in the win, with Parkersburg accumulating 310. Cam Rice led the Mohigans through the air with 89 yards and one touchdown, and added 61 yards and one touchdown on the ground. John McConnell added a field goal for the hosts.

Jacob Johnson led Parkersburg through the air with 113 yards and three touchdowns, while Tyler Moler added 123 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Division 1 recruit and starting tight end Brenton Strange missed the game with an injury sustained during last week’s scrimmage.

MHS returns to action Aug. 31 as it begins a three-game road stretch with a trip to Steubenville (Ohio). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Parkersburg is also back in action on Aug. 31, as it hosts Cabell Midland at 7:30 p.m.

Morgantown High receiver Preston Fox (21) stiff-arms Parkersburg linebacker Jordan Batten on Thursday. The Mohigans came away with a 45-35 victory at Pony Lewis Field.
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