Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Morgantown beats John Marshall in Preston Fox’s return from injury

Morgantown head coach Matt Lacy received a gift at his house Friday afternoon in the form of a freshly painted Mohigan statue, courtesy of Dr. Steve Toth.

The statue was broken for about 20 years but was given a makeover in recent weeks, and Lacy, in an attempt to have anything positive turn in his team’s favor, made the statue a good luck charm — hopefully.

Before Friday’s game against John Marshall, a critical game for Mohigans’ playoff chances, every member of the team touched it.

Whether or not you believe in superstition, there was something clicking for the Mohigans from the start.

In the first quarter alone, MHS scored three touchdowns — more than it did the previous three games combined on route to a 49-13 blowout win.

And while the Mohigan statue may be more symbolism than anything, there was no doubt the return of receiver Preston Fox was the spark Morgantown (4-5) needed.

Fox missed the last three games after breaking his collarbone against Linsly on Sept. 21 and it was no coincidence that that’s when the offense went into a tailspin.

Against the Monarchs (5-3), he proved how valuable he is with six catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. But his presence alone is enough to change the way the Mohigans run their offense.

“That’s obviously been a missing element to our offense — someone that can stretch the field and run under some balls,” Lacy said. “Just to be able to stretch the field vertically  and get defenses out of the box because teams were just loading the box against us. We didn’t have the threat, so now we have somebody we can stretch the field with.”

It wasn’t the thunderous return Fox hoped for early, muffing a punt that led to John Marshall’s first score, but that was quickly erased when his ability to make plays from the slot emerged.

Sitting back and watching the offense sputter time and time again for the last four weeks was difficult for Fox, knowing there was nothing he could do about it.

“It was horrible having to sit around and watch knowing you should be doing stuff to help the team,” he said. “It feels good to be back to help the team win and I’m ready to go get them next week.”

And next week for MHS is the Mohawk Bowl against University, but senior Jestohn Moore wants to step back and enjoy this win because it was a crucial step in trying to get into the top 16 in the playoff ratings. They are currently 18th.

The seniors challenged the team this week during practice and it showed, especially defensively. The Mohigans starters held the Monarchs to five yards rushing and 139 passing — 80 of those coming on one play.

“My dad used to always say with the military, ‘The worst thing you can do is push someone into a corner when they have nothing to lose because they’re going to give it their all,’ ” Moore said. “One thing we really did today was come together as a team  and as a family, and we fought really well.”

Tanner Davis scored two touchdowns on the ground for MHS, while Ty Konchesky also found the end zone and finished with a team-high 92 yards.

Jace Whetsell hit the “O” button on his PlayStation controller — spinning around would-be tacklers before cutting back the opposite way for a 30-yard touchdown.

Quarterback Cam Rice finished with 195 yards passing and two scores.

John Marshall 6 7 0 0 – 13
Morgantown 21 14 7 7 – 49
MHS — Ty Konchesky 7 run (John McConnell kick)
MHS — Tanner Davis 12 run (McConnell kick)
JM — Charles McCool 26 run (kick no good)
MHS — Davis 6 run (McConnell kick)
MHS — Jace Whetsell 30 run (McConnell kick)
JM — Reid Wiley 80 pass from Jordan Wood (Ethan Gray kick)
MHS — Preston Fox 46 pass from Cam Rice (McConnell kick)
MHS — Fox 39 pass from C. Rice (McConnell kick)
MHS — Luke Milne 4 run (McConnell kick)
JM — John Davis 8-0; McCool 8-9 TD; Wood 7-(-4); Alex Burton 8-55. Totals: 31-60 TD. MHS — Konchesky 15-92 TD; Davis 10-49 2TD; C. Rice 9-45; Whetsell 4-68 TD; Fox 1-2; Milne 8-19 TD. Totals: 47-275 4TD.
JM — Wood 8-20 139 TD; Jakob Gardill 1-1 1. MHS — Cam Rice 10-15 195 2TD; Kaden Rice 0-1-1.
JM — McCool 2-30; Wiley 1-80 TD; Davis 2-2; Zach Bishop 1-6; Gray 1-20; Roy Rayl 1-1; Jacob Armstrong 1-1. Totals: 9-140 TD. MHS — Fox 6-151 2TD; K. Rice 2-20; Nick Malone 1-13; Konchesky 1-11. Totals: 10-195 2TD.
Twitter @SeanManning_DP