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History lesson helped Huntington at half

By | Gazette-Mail High School Huddle
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T.J. Lawhon
Huntington quarterback Clark Wilson throws a pass during the Class AAA No. 1 Highlanders 21-17 win against South Charleston.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Undefeated football seasons are few and far between, regardless of the competition level.

It is little surprise, then, that when Huntington Coach Billy Seals and the Highlanders faced a halftime deficit for the first time this season Friday night, a history lesson was delivered as the locker room sermon.

"It was actually really calm in there," Huntington quarterback Clark Wilson said of the mid-game pow-wow held in the locker room with Huntington trailing South Charleston 17-7. Huntington (9-0) rallied in the second half to win 21-17.

"He told us about the Miami Dolphins team that went undefeated back in the early 1970s. He said that they trailed at halftime three times that season, but they came back to win every time," Wilson said.

Wilson gave his team the lead for good when he scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak midway through the fourth quarter.

Seals knows football history. The '72 Dolphins trailed the Vikings, Bills and Jets at halftime in the regular season en route to the team's first Super Bowl championship and a 17-0 record.

The Black Eagles (7-3) took advantage of three Huntington turnovers in the first half and made the most of three Kevin Forrest receptions of 35 yards or more to surpass Huntington's average points allowed in just two quarters.

Huntington entered Friday giving up 8.8 points per game.

"A couple of years ago that would have been a completely different scene," Seals said of halftime. "We would have had guys in there pointing fingers and blaming each other for what had happened.

"Tonight, that wasn't the case. Everybody in there was supportive of each other and very business-like."

After South Charleston sophomore quarterback Kentre Grier threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, he was held to 3-of-8 passing for 11 yards after halftime.

"We had to disguise our coverages a little better and get more pressure on Grier," Seals said. "We told the kids what they needed to do, and they responded, so I'm proud of them."

Huntington has never finished a regular season with a 10-0 record. The Highlanders can accomplish that milestone with a win Friday at Winfield (4-5).

*  *  *

EVEN WITH the loss, South Charleston Coach Donnie Mays remained upbeat about the Black Eagles' impending return to the Class AAA playoffs after a two-year absence.

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