By Carl Holcomb
No. 2 East Hardy (7-0) remains undefeated after caging the Mountain Lions 55-14 for the 21st consecutive home victory in Baker last Friday.
“We came out much better this week than we did last week. Last week we definitely took the first quarter off, came out going through the motions. This week we knew what we had and took care of business from the first whistle,” East Hardy coach Chad Williams remarked.
“We played a great first half and having a 102-yard interception return is pretty cool. We have won six out of the last eight PVC championships.”
This win over Tucker County sealed the Potomac Valley Conference championship for the sixth time in the last eight seasons and fourth consecutive title.[private]
The Cougars pounced to a 48-0 lead by halftime over Tucker County which was capped off by a 102-yard interception return for a touchdown by Aden Funkhouser.
East Hardy struck fast by scoring in 42 seconds on three plays to begin the contest.
On the first play of the game from the 42-yard line, East Hardy quarterback Clay Skovron connected with Brett Tharp for a 43-yard pass to the Tucker County 15-yard line.
East Hardy running back Phillip Mullin needed only two carries to reach the end zone, hitting pay dirt on a 10-yard run at 11:18 and Nick Miller added the extra point, 7-nil.
The Cougars defense clamped down with tackles for losses by Mullin and Ryan Rogers to force a Tucker County punt, but a roughing the kicker penalty kept the series going.
After the Mountain Lions managed to reach the 40-yard line, a sack on Luke Poling by Rogers during third down led to a punt.
East Hardy converted a third down on a 14-yard catch by Tharp at the 47-yard line.
After a holding call, Skovron found Funkhouser for a 25-yard pass to the Mountain Lions 34-yard line.
Andrew Tharp caught a nine yard pass to keep the drive moving towards the end zone.
Mullin moved the chains on carries into the red zone.
Funkhouser made a 12-yard touchdown catch at the 4:42 mark and Miller made the extra point to create a 14-0 lead.
East Hardy’s Noah Miller recovered the fumble on the kickoff and it took five plays and 31 yards to score in a minute and a half.
Mullin finished the drive with a five yard touchdown run and Miller’s kick extended the lead to 21-0.
Rogers made a sack for an 11-yard loss and Funkhouser made a tackle for a loss as Tucker County punted again to close the first quarter.
The Cougars had short field position once again and in just six seconds on the first play of the second quarter, Skovron made a 14-yard touchdown pass to Funkhouser.
Skovron fielded a bad snap and dashed around to the corner for the two-point conversion, 29-0.
East Hardy’s Quinton Cook deflected a pass and Rogers recorded a sack as the Cougars forced another punt.
Skovron’s pass was intercepted at the two yard line, but East Hardy snatched possession right back on an interception by Brett Tharp.
East Hardy went up 35-0 on a five yard keeper by Skovron with 7:47 remaining in the first half and the conversion failed.
Tharp scored on a 26-yard reception with 4:34 left, 41-0 (kick failed).
The Mountain Lions were threatening to score to close the first half, but were denied as Funkhouser made a 102-yard pick six to carry a 48-0 lead into the break.
East Hardy’s first team offense remained in the game for one more touchdown coming on a 20-yard run by Mullin at the 4:15 mark of the third quarter, 55-0 (Miller kick good).
Tucker County’s Ben Cromer scored on a 46-yard touchdown pass from Poling at the 3:51 mark and Brett Reall added the conversion for a 55-8 score.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Reall added a four yard touchdown run for the Mountain Lions to create a final of 55-14.
East Hardy hosts Moorefield in the Hardy Bowl this Friday.
“I always love playing in front of a big crowd. We’ve gotten a chance to do it a couple other times this year already. It’s a football game, one of ten on the schedule. It means a lot to other people, than it does to me. I am just excited to play football on a Friday night,” Coach Williams concluded.[/private]