Prep football: Poca possessed ball, owned Buffalo
POCA -- Time of possession can be a misleading statistic.
When one team has the football more than its opponent by a margin of almost 12 minutes in a 48-minute high school game, however, what most often results is something more akin to Poca's 20-7 victory Friday night over visiting Buffalo.
The Dots (2-1) had possession for 29:58 to 18:02 for the Class A No. 7 Bison (1-1). Buffalo had the ball for just 6:43 in the second half.
"I thought we played pretty good defense in the second half, all the way around," Poca Coach Bob Lemley said. "Things went right for us. We got a break or two, got momentum on our side and took advantage."
Buffalo was held to one first down after halftime and just three after the first quarter. Bison senior quarterback Levi Jordan, a Class A All-State selection as a junior, fought leg cramps in the second half and finished the game with 16 passing yards while completing just two of 16 attempts.
Nearly half of Jordan's incompletions were drops, but he was also intercepted twice. He ran for 73 yards on 11 carries, but had minus-5 yards rushing in the second half, during which he left the lineup for three plays to deal with cramping in his left leg.
"When you're standing on the sidelines you see all the mistakes and all the things that are going wrong," Lemley said. "But then you stand back and look at it, you see that it wasn't that bad."
Poca linebacker T.T. Loudin - who led all players with 140 rushing yards and scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter to give the Dots the lead - said Poca worked all week to get ready for Jordan.
"We prepared all week on the way they pass the ball," Loudin said. "We know Levi's a good passer, so that's what we were looking for, was passing plays.
"They came out and started to run on us, so we had to mix it up a little bit. Our secondary and linebackers did a real good job of limiting them after their first drive."
Buffalo finished with 128 total yards, but gained 82 during its opening drive, which ended in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jordan to Laythen Good.
Both of Jordan's interceptions turned into Poca touchdowns. Senior linebacker Jacob Grant stepped in front of a bullet of a pass at the Buffalo 45 and returned it to the 26 with 3:38 left in the third quarter.
Loudin scored four plays later.
On Buffalo's next drive, junior defensive back Tyler Gibson picked off Jordan, and gave Poca the ball at the Dot 48. Junior quarterback Jake Payne scored the game's final points on a 1-yard run to cap the eight-play drive that resulted.
Poca travels to Chapmanville (1-2) on Friday night, while Buffalo makes a road trip to face Class A No. 4 Greenbrier West (3-0).
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FRIDAY SHAPES up to be the first big night for marquee match-ups this season.
Top-ranked and two-time defending Class AAA state champion Martinsburg (3-0) makes a trip to Pony Lewis Field to face No. 2 Morgantown (2-0) in the headlining act of a schedule that features five games pitting ranked opponents.
Buffalo's aforementioned game against Greenbrier West is the only such game in Class A, although there are three in Class AA.
Top-ranked and defending state champion Wayne (2-0) visits No. 6 Ravenswood (2-0), No. 9 Scott (3-0) is at No. 7 Sissonville (2-0) and No. 2 Robert C. Byrd (3-0) plays at arch rival Bridgeport (2-1).
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SCOTT MADE its debut in the Daily Mail Class AA poll this week, making the Skyhawks the 16th team to be ranked within the Top 10 in that class this season.
Scott rolled up 545 total yards Friday night in a 40-21 win over visiting Chapmanville (1-2). Skyhawk running backs Robert Bias (161 yards) and Cameron Loftus (131 yards and three touchdowns) each went over the 100-yard rushing mark.
Scott had been a preseason favorite in Class AA but questions arose about the team after junior running back Draven Riffe transferred to nearby Class A Van prior to the season.
Riffe ran for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore at Scott, but has been hampered by an ankle injury this season, and has yet to play for the Bulldogs (1-2).
The Skyhawks' visit to Sissonville this week will be the first playoff-style meeting for the Indians since they fell to Scott 40-27 in the first round of the 2007 playoffs.
Sissonville, which is 2-0 under second-year Coach Eddie Smolder, has not reached the playoffs since, and was 11-29 from 2008-11.