Big Reds roll on historic Stadium Field
SHEPHERDSTOWN — There weren’t 8,500 people in the stands at Parkersburg’s fabled Stadium Field last Friday, but those in attendance were loud enough as the host Big Reds stopped Jefferson, 37-20, to ensure a playoff berth and keep the Cougars out of the post-season festivities.
One the state’s most storied football programs won for the third straight weekend and moved to 6-2 overall with only a rivalry game against Parkersburg South left in the regular season. The Cougars are now 3-5 with a possible season final pending against Martinsburg, the winner of eight Class AAA state titles in the last 10 seasons.
The Big Reds had been slated to play George Washington of Kanawha County, but that game had to be scrubbed because of the state’e color-coded county map system. Parkersburg athletic director Chris Ray hurriedly scheduled a game against Jefferson and the two schools met for the first-ever time in football.
With the temperature hovering in the upper 40’s, Parkersburg managed to move to a 17-0 lead late in first half on Casey Stanley’s 22-yard field goal, Julian Martin’s 14-yard pass-catch TD from quarterback Bryson Singer and then Martin’s 26-yard grab of another Singer pass.
Just before intermission, Jefferson scored culminating a 65-yard drive in nine plays when Sammy Roberts threw 13 yards to Spencer Powell. Roberts found Powell again on a two-point conversion and Parkersburg had to settle for a 17-8 halftime lead.
Xadrian Snodgrass opened the second-half scoring when he ran 56 yards to boost Parkersburg’s lead to 24-8, but then Jefferson’s Evan Tewell bolted 33 yards to set up his one-yard scoring run to bring Jefferson back to within 24-14.
The Big Reds called on Dame Fortune for their next points. Michael Owen replaced Singer at quarterback with Singer moving temporarily to wide receiver. From his own 15, Owen threw in Singer’s direction. Facing snug double coverage, Singer was able to grab a deflected pass and then glide the remaining 50 yards to score, giving Parkersburg a more comfortable 31-14 edge.
In the fourth quarter, Roberts found Isaiah Fritts from the Big Red 31 as Jefferson trailed only 31-20.
Parkersburg couldn’t move and the Cougars took over only to see Parkersburg’s Jayson Waybright sack Roberts on a fourth down on the Jefferson 26.
In the game’s final minute, Snodgrass literally fought his way through would-be tacklers to score on a fourth-and-seven play from the Cougar 10.
Only 19 seconds remained as the Big Red lead stood at 37-20.
Roberts was sacked three times and Jefferson lost three fumbles to the opportunistic Big Reds.
Parkersburg totaled 405 yards of total offense while Jefferson had 331 total yards.
Roberts completed 18 of his 40 throws with Powell showing eight receptions for 142 yards.
It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools. And it came as schedules continued to be shuffled and re-shuffled every week as the state’s high schools try to deal with the pervasive coronavirus.