SISSONVILLE, W.Va. -- Scott High football Coach Shane Griffith has headed the Skyhawks' football program for 13 seasons.
That doesn't mean he isn't open to suggestions from his assistant coaches or even his players.
On Friday night Griffith's willingness to listen helped turn a halftime deficit into a hard-fought 27-18 road win over Sissonville in a battle of the top two-rated teams in Class AA.
An overflow crowd packed into Joe Sawyer Field to see the Skyhawks - ranked No. 1 in the first SSAC playoff ratings released this week - improve to 4-0, while second-rated Sissonville dropped to 2-1.
The Skyhawks trailed 12-7 at the half and tallied just 97 first half rushing yards while struggling to run around a smaller, but quick Sissonville defense.
The final two quarters played out much different for the Skyhawks' offense thanks to a few halftime suggestions from senior offensive linemen Dakota Ball and Caleb Linville.
"Our offensive line has a lot of maturity," said Griffith. "They came to me and said 'here's the wrinkles we make in the blocking scheme and we think once we make these changes we'll be successful.'
"We talked about it, we drew it and we put it in. Dakota Ball and Caleb Linville looked at me and said 'here's where they're at and here's what they're doing, so let's do this.' "We just came out and executed in the second half."
The adjustments made weren't complex, but they paid great dividends for the Skyhawks who parlayed the changes into 237 second half rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
"We realized that they were soft up the middle and that we could run there all day and that's what we did in the second half," said Ball. "It won the game for us. We realized our line was bigger than their line and with our running backs hitting the holes as quick as they did, it made a big difference."
Junior back Cameron Loftus paced Scott with 179 yards on 20 carries, including second half touchdown runs of 21 and 59 yards. Senior Robert Bias added 145 yards on 23 totes, with a scoring run of 27 yards early in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Triston Crone scored the Skyhawks' only first half points on a 1-yard TD plunge with 1:57 remaining in the first quarter.
Loftus gained 140 of his yard in the second half, while Bias contributed 90 in the final two quarters.
"In the first half we were a little slow and we didn't hit the holes very well," said Loftus. "We came in at halftime, talked some things over and worked some kinks out and just ran behind our dominant offensive line.
"We have an experienced senior offensive line and we just wanted to come out and beat them down and run over top of them."
The halftime adjustments paid off early in the second half as the Skyhawks took the opening possession and drove 75 yards in nine plays in less than three minutes to take the lead for good at 14-12 on Loftus' 21 yard score.
Scott stretched the lead to 20-12 when Bias darted in from 27-yards out with 8:39 left in the game.
Sissonville answered Bias' score less than a minute later when Sissonville quarterback Austin Crawford darted 68 yard to cut the lead to 20-18 with 7:48 to play.
Crawford finished with 66 yards on six carries, including a 16 yard TD run to start the second quarter, while passing for 102 yards on 6-of-12 passing, with a nice 65-yard TD connection to Nathan Miller to give the Indians a 6-0 lead with 5:49 left in the first quarter.
After trading possessions, the Skyhawks closed out the scoring on Loftus' 59 yard TD scamper with just 3:25 remaining.
The Indians were led by tailback Trent Stowers' 98 yards on 13 carries, while fullback Jarrett Mowrer added 41 yards on four rushes.
For second-year Sissonville Coach Eddie Smolder, the challenge now is to get his team to forget the emotional loss and ready it for next week's home game against defending Class AA state champion Wayne (3-0).
"To be honest with you we're very disappointed," said Smolder. "A loss is tough and we expect to win them all. We just came up short tonight. It was a big ballgame. Give Scott credit, they played hard and we just came up short.
"I'll take full responsibility for this. We'll bounce back from it. Our kids have a lot of guts and heart and our coaches have a lot of pride.
"We'll bounce back, we'll learn from our mistakes, get them corrected and play hard next week."
SCOTT 27,SISSONVILLE 18