HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Huntington's defense is staunch enough without opponents giving it help.
Capital fumbled 11 times, losing four, enabling the top-ranked team in the Class AAA playoff rankings to take a 24-10 win over the second-ranked Cougars Friday night at Bob Sang Stadium.
"Part of it is a little bit of lack of execution, but also it's two good teams playing each other," said Huntington coach Billy Seals, whose team coughed the ball up six times, losing two.
Specifically, the game was a contest of defensive prowess.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, and the only score in the first half was a Charles Crawford 1-yard run with 8:55 left in the first half. His score capped a drive that started at the Capital 38, where the Highlanders (6-0) took over after Capital (4-1) failed to convert on a fourth-and-3.
Capital struggled to get into an offensive rhythm all game.
Huntington's twin defensive ends Keilan and Arick Nicks, both 6-foot-5 and weighing approximately 240 pounds, kept Capital quarterback Tyrhee Pratt from utilizing the zone-read or hurting the Highlanders with his legs. He finished with a season-high 17 carries but a season-low minus-1 yard.
"They came off the ball and whipped us," Capital coach Jon Carpenter said. "They kept us from doing anything. You've got to give them all the credit in the world. That was a big test for us, and we failed. We're not where we want to be."