POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. -- Point Pleasant and Winfield battled to the end of the contest last season before a late Big Blacks touchdown helped them escape Putnam County with a hard-fought win.
Friday night it appeared the two teams were headed for another down-to-the-wire finish after both offenses struggled in what turned into a scoreless first half.
But thanks to Point Pleasant sophomore running back Cody Mitchell, no late-game heroics were needed this time.
Mitchell rumbled for 116 yards on 21 carries, including a pair of third-quarter touchdowns, to help the Big Blacks to a 21-7 win over the Generals.
Point Pleasant, third in the AAA playoff ratings, improved to 4-0, while No. 16 Winfield slipped to 2-2.
Mitchell also contributed 49 receiving yards on four catches, with 95 of his rushing yards coming in the second half.
"Our kids came in at halftime and nobody panicked," said Point coach David Darst. "We just got back to work and got back to what we do well, and it really paid off for us in the second half.
"Cody Mitchell is just the real deal. That's all I can say about him. For a sophomore in high school, the kid is just an unbelievable player."
Neither team could muster any offense in the first half, with the Generals limited to just 25 total yards and the Big Blacks 88.
In the second half, Point relied more on its power running game to gain an advantage, driving 67 yards on its opening possession before Mitchell rumbled in from 16 yards out to give the Big Blacks a 7-0 advantage. Mitchell crossed the goal line on the Big Blacks' next possession as well, this time from 9 yards out to stretch the lead to 14-0 after three quarters.
"We just weren't getting it done on the line and the backs weren't finding the holes," said the 6-foot-3, 211-pound Mitchell of the Big Blacks' first-half woes. "In the second half, we picked up the blocking and the backs hit the holes better and we just stuck to what worked."