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Point ready for big test from Wheeling Park

By | Gazette-Mail High School Huddle
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Point Pleasant coach David Darst said he and his Big Blacks are tired of hearing about their regular-season schedule.

After all, the Big Blacks did everything they could do, going 10-0 while allowing just 12.1 points per game and grabbing the Class AAA No. 4 seed, giving them a pair of home playoff games.

Now, after a 41-14 dismantling of No. 13 Logan in last week's first-round game, Point will have its biggest chance this season to prove once and for all that it belongs in Class AAA's upper echelon.

No. 5 Wheeling Park, which is coming off of a 55-34 pasting of No. 12 South Charleston, comes calling for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff today.

The Patriots (10-1) were a three-point overtime loss at Morgantown away from a perfect season of their own and perhaps a higher seed and have impressive wins over the likes of No. 6 University and Class AA No. 2 Bridgeport.

And while Park will no doubt provide a huge test for Point, no one is more ready to welcome in the Patriots than Darst.

"I'm excited to play the game," Darst said. "It's a chance to gauge ourselves a little bit. This is our second year in Class AAA, so we'll see where we're at. We worked awfully hard in the offseason, in the weight room, and on the practice field and we're trying to raise to the level of play that we know we have to, to stay competitive in AAA and this is a test."

Park's sophomore running back Savion Johnson will be a challenge for the stout Big Blacks defense after he rumbled for 195 yards and four touchdowns on 34 carries against SC last week. The son of former Kennedy Award winner Daryl "Boogie" Johnson, he's rushed for 1,294 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season.

Add in quarterback Zack Phillips, who set a school record with his 20th touchdown pass of the season last week, and Darst knows the Patriots are more than formidable.

"They are a very good-looking football team on film," Darst said. "We're going to have to play good, solid defense and make them earn everything. We can't be letting them get cheap scores, we have to make them earn scores and then do what we do on offense."

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