POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. -- Point Pleasant's magical football season finally came to an end Friday evening.
After riding a suffocating defense to 11 straight wins, the Big Blacks finally met their match against a talented Wheeling Park team at the Point Pleasant High School Athletic Complex.
Park played solid defense for four quarters and benefited from two big offensive plays en route to a 28-7 win over the Big Blacks in the Class AAA quarterfinals.
The No. 5 Patriots (11-1) won their sixth straight contest and will advance to next weekend's semifinals against No. 1 Huntington (12-0). Point's season came to a close at 11-1.
"It wasn't our best game, but we got a win, we're happy with it and we're moving on," said Park coach Chris Daugherty. "We've got things to fix and we'll work on them next week. It will be fun practicing on Thanksgiving, I know that."
A pair of big plays in the opening half helped Park gain a 14-7 advantage at the break. It was the first time Point had trailed at the half all season.
The first came on the Patriots' second possession, when senior quarterback Zach Phillips connected with sophomore receiver Elijah Bell for 58-yard scoring strike to give Park a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Point rebounded quickly on its next possession with a 65-yard scoring drive, capped by a 27-yard TD pass from junior Aden Yates to Gage Buskirk to make it 7-7 after one quarter.
Park's Eric Banks muffed the ensuing kickoff, setting up Point Pleasant at the Park 25-yard line, but the Big Blacks were stopped on downs at Park's 13-yard line.
"Point was averaging 40, 50 points a game, so to hold them to just seven ... are you kidding me?" Daugherty said. "They got us on a hitch-and-go, and if not for that hitch-and-go we probably hold them to zero.
"To hold them to just seven is a big deal. Our defense can play and they showed that tonight."
Park's second big offensive play came just three plays later when sophomore Savion Johnson busted up the middle and ran untouched for a 79-yard score to give the Patriots a 14-7 halftime advantage.
Johnson led all rushers with 144 yards on 14 carries. Phillips finished 9 of 16 for 121 yards and no turnovers for the Patriots.
Wheeling Park limited the Big Blacks to just 243 total yards (142 rushing) while forcing a pair of fumbles and icing the game late in the third quarter when Bell intercepted a Yates screen pass and rumbled 31 yards to give the Patriots a 21-7 lead.
"Elijah's one of those kids that he's going to try to make a play," Daugherty said. "He did make a play, but they also burned him for a touchdown too, so you give and take there a little bit.
"You know that if he gives up one, he might go get you one and he did."
Park added the game's final score when Geremy Paige bulled in from 8 yards out with 8:50 to play.
While disappointed with the outcome, Point coach David Darst was proud of his team's effort in just its second season at the Class AAA level.
"We've got our whole offense coming back next year, so that's encouraging," Darst said. "Even though we scored a lot of points this year, it was a young group and we can build on that.
"I'm proud of the way the kids played, but Wheeling Park's got a really nice football team. Defensively, I was proud because we hung in there with team that's put up a lot of points, but they came on the road and passed the test and now they're onto the next game."
Point was led by sophomore running back Cody Mitchell, who rushed 15 times for 58 yards, while senior Chase Walton finished with 45 yards on 10 tries.
Yates finished 11 of 14 for 101 yards for the Big Blacks.