Prep football: Poca, Scott meet needing a win
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The midpoint of the high school football season is on the horizon, which means some teams are already vying for playoff position.
Poca and Scott are two teams with similarities this season, and they face off tonight in a critical Cardinal Conference matchup in Madison. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
The Skyhawks and Dots are both 1-3 and in desperate need of a victory if they have much hope for postseason play. Both are coming off heartbreaking losses. Poca lost to Chapmanville 34-31 and Scott fell to Sissonville 22-20.
"It's a pretty big game," Poca Coach Bob Lemley said. "Both teams are looking for a win. I don't know if the kids are worried about records. We preach that if they do what they are coached and they work hard, the wins will take care of themselves."
Both teams have endured tough losses and feel they could easily have a much better record.
Scott has lost its three games by a combined 14 points. Besides their two-point loss to No. 2 Sissonville, the Skyhawks have also lost to Chapmanville by seven (20-13) and Herbert Hoover by five (40-35).
"We are 1-3 but we are probably two or three plays away from being 4-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state," Scott Coach Shane Griffith said. "I still think we are that kind of football team. It's a gut-check time. We have got to get things turned around. We expect better of ourselves."
Poca has lost its last two games by a combined 10 points. Besides last week's tough loss to No. 10 Chapmanville that saw the Tigers complete a long pass for the game-winning touchdown with a minute left in the game, the Dots also lost to Nicholas County, 21-14.
"We have to start learning to win," Lemley said. "Last week, we had the game. They (Chapmanville) had a fourth and 14 and we let them score. We haven't gotten over the hump and that's what these guys need.
"We have been trying to get the kids better every week. I have seen vast improvements from game to game. We are starting to get that experience, and that is what we are looking for."
The Dots have lost three of four games by seven points, which Lemley hopes has bettered his team for the rest of the season.
"Mentally, they know every game is a tough game," Lemley said.
"There aren't any weak sisters on the schedule. We know if we don't play to our capacity, we are going to get beat. But if we do, we can win. We just have got to put four quarters together."
Quarterback Justin Stewart leads the Poca offense and has given Lemley solid production in his first year at the position. The junior rushed for 143 yards on 31 carries last week against Chapmanville, and has 278 yards on the season.
"Justin has been in a tough situation, having not played in a couple years," Lemley said. "He's been more of a running back than quarterback. We worked him in that situation and he has responded.
"He wants to be a quarterback and a good quarterback. There are a lot of things he has needed to learn, and that comes with game experience. He has the talent.
"He has been durable running the football. We need him to pull the trigger a little more passing. It's a matter of maturing."
Scott is led by running back Cameron Loftus, who is coming off a solid week of rushing for 141 yards and three touchdowns against Sissonville. The senior has 456 yards on the ground for the season.