Prep football: Darst knows Oak Hill isn't all about Jalen Jones
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Point Pleasant's football team cruised through the 2012 football season with an 8-2 regular season record en route to a Class AAA playoff appearance.
The Big Blacks avenged one of those losses last weekend when they traveled to Brooke County and rolled to a 35-7 win over the Bruins.
Tonight, Point Pleasant will have another shot to make a 2013 statement when it hosts Oak Hill at the Point Pleasant High Athletic Complex.
Point Pleasant (5-0), ranked fourth in the latest Secondary School Activities Commission playoff ratings, will look to return the favor to the fifth-rated Red Devils (5-0), who earned a 34-14 win in Fayette County last season.
"I think the kids are pretty excited because they know this is a very important ballgame on our schedule," Point Coach David Darst said. "We played them last year on the road and we didn't play very well. Our kids remember that because a lot of those kids are back this season."
The biggest key to success for the Big Blacks will be controlling Oak Hill's rushing attack, spearheaded by senior back Jalen Jones.
Jones, who gashed the Big Blacks' defense for 325 rushing yards last season, enters this contest as the fifth-leading rusher in West Virginia.
Jones has amassed 970 yards on 96 carries (10.1 avg.) and 11 touchdowns this season.
"We've got a big test this week dealing with Jalen Jones," Darst said. "The biggest thing about him is that it's hard for one guy to tackle him. He's fast, but he can run over you, too. He cuts really well and when he comes through you, he does a good job of finishing his runs.
"Our kids struggled with tackling him last year, so we're going to have to tackle better this time around."
Tackling hasn't been an issue for the Big Blacks this year, having allowed just 225 rushing yards all season, while limiting opponents to just 56 total points in five games.
Oak Hill Coach Eddie Souk has been around the game enough to know that something will have to change when the two teams square off.
"We're not going to change and I doubt they're going to change anything," Souk said. "You do what got you to this point. We run the football and they seem to be doing an awfully good job of stopping the run, so something's got to give somewhere.
"They're just really aggressive up front defensively. They get to the ball real well. When you watch them on film, there are four or five guys standing over the ball carrier when they make a tackle and they play hard-nosed football."
Darst is also aware of the Red Devils' other offensive weapons.
Senior back Jarrell Green has 394 rushing yards and four scores, while senior fullback K.K. Goodman has added 272 yards and eight TDs.
Sophomore Deonte Scruggs has added 273 passing yards, with three more scores.
"The thing that scares me about them is that they're not just the Jalen Jones show," Darst said.
"They have a couple of kids that run the ball well and their quarterback seems to be throwing the ball better this year when they need to throw it.
"They have a lot of weapons and that makes them even tougher than last year. We have to prepare for everything they do offensively. If we go out and try to key on Jalen, they'll hurt us with their other players."
The Big Blacks' offense isn't too shabby with bruising sophomore Cody Mitchell leading the way.
Mitchell is the seventh-leading rusher in Class AAA with 655 yards on 76 tries (8.6 avg.) and eight touchdowns.
Senior Chase Walton is also a threat in the backfield with 298 yards and five scores on 42 totes. Walton also leads the team with 219 receiving yards and four scores on nine catches.
Junior quarterback Aden Yates (30-of-42, 593 yards, six TDs) is also a threat that the Red Devils must account for.
"They run the ball well and then they get you sucked in on the run and then they throw it over you," Souk said. "Those are the type of things we have to prepare for. When you're playing a team of their caliber, you have to expect anything and we're preparing for that.
"Hopefully we can be successful in what we're trying to do. As long as the kids execute and do what they're supposed to do, and react to things they way they're supposed to react, we can live with the consequences of what happens in the game, whether it is a win or a loss."
Contact Michael Dailey at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelDaileyWV.