MORGANTOWN — Andrew Phares and the end zone got along quite nicely Friday night.
Morgantown High needed every bit of it, too, as the Mohigans held off Musselman 10-6 at Pony Lewis Field.
Phares, a senior receiver who also doubles as a defensive back, made plays from both positions, as MHS (3-0) remained perfect on the season.
The first play came on the Mohigans’ first possession, and Phares pulled off a double move that slipped him past the Musselman defender that left him wide open for a 40-yard TD pass.
“I got the cornerback to bite and it was just wide open,” Phares said. “Maddox (Bowers) just threw a great pass. I really didn’t have to do much but make sure I caught it.”
The second play came on defense, which is hardly a surprise anymore with this MHS bunch.
Through three games, the Mohigans have allowed just 20 points, and Musselman (2-1) was held to just 175 yards of offense.
The Applemen’s lone score late in the second quarter was a gift, coming after an interception return set up Musselman at the MHS 12-yard line.
Musselman running back Blake Sanders scored on a 3-yard run with nine seconds left in the half to cut the Mohigans’ lead 7-6.
MHS took a 10-6 lead in the third quarter on Aiden Stire’s 22-yard field goal, which is where the game stood in the fourth quarter when Phares came up big again.
Musselman had driven to the MHS 11, but was facing a fourth-and-19 from the MHS 20 following a penalty.
Phares stood one-on-one against Musselman receiver Troy Woolaston, who is listed at 6-foot-4, while Phares stands 5-9.
“I might be 5-foot-8, somewhere around there,” Phares said. “I’ve got a 37-inch vertical. I can get up there.”
He needed to, as he leaped into the air to knock away the fourth-down attempt.
Woolaston ran his route to the end zone and Eli Fleming’s pass was on target.
“As soon as I saw I was matched up with him, I knew they were going to come at me,” Phares said. “Our coaches tell us all the time to be ready and be strong. I had to get up there, but I got a hand on it, and it was just another play made by our defense tonight.”
The rest of the game was put into the hands of MHS fullback Caleb Nutter, who finished with 130 yards on 23 carries. In the fourth quarter, Nutter had nine consecutive carries that went for at least four yards, as the Mohigans wore down on Musselman’s defense.
“He’s our old reliable,” is how Phares described Nutter. “He’s the strongest guy on our team.”
“He gets stronger as the game goes on,” MHS head coach Sean Biser said. “He’s a bloody-knuckles kind of kid. He never complains. If he gets tired, he’d never let you know it.”
Bobby Powell added 85 yards rushing and Bowers threw for 120 for MHS. The Mohigans finished with 318 yards, but Biser said the offense has to get going in the weeks to come.
“We probably left 14 points out on the field tonight,” Biser said. “We didn’t play as well on that side of the ball. We did play well in spurts, but not consistently good enough.”
Good thing the Mohigans have had a stellar defensive unit so far.
“I think our defense is good enough to help us win a state championship,” Phares said. “Defense wins championships, and we’ve worked so hard on that side of the ball. Everybody is on the same page and it’s been a lot of fun to see how we’ve come together on defense. We just keep pushing and we keep getting stronger on that side of the ball.”
Musselman 0 6 0 0—6
Morgantown 7 0 3 0—10
MHS—Andrew Phares 40 pass from Maddox Bowers (Aiden Stire kick)
MUS—Blake Sanders 3 run (kick blocked)
MHS—Stire 22 field goal
RUSHING: Musselman—Sanders 18-59 TD, Colton Shelton 1-56, Eli Fleming 4-(-4). Morgantown—Caleb Nutter 23-130, Bobby Powell 13-85, Bowers 6-6, AJ Thomas 5-3, Marcos Ullom 4-0, Jake Anderson 1-0, Team 5-(-26).
PASSING: Musselman—Fleming 5-15 64, Zachary Miller 0-1 0. Morgantown—Bowers 7-8-1 120 TD.
RECEIVING: Musselman—Isaah Beard 1-34, Troy Woolaston 1-16, Miller 2-8, Sanders 1-6. Morgantown—Phares 1-40 TD, Jacob Keir 2-44, Thomas 2-18, Ullom 1-12, Powell 1-6