BIG STONE GAP — Once Powell Valley stopped playing the Blame Game, it had what it took to win the Big Game.
The Vikings (5-3) racked up 404 yards of total offense on their way to a 38-14 non-district victory over archrival Gate City (5-3) at Bullitt Park on Friday night.
“That’s the best we’ve played all year long,” said Powell Valley coach Phil Robbins.
“We didn’t do any finger pointing, no griping or complaining. That’s what’s been wrong with us. We’ve just been blaming and blaming instead just going out and doing our job and patting some people on the back when they make a good play,” he said.
Running back Myron Pinkston rushed for 138 yards, including his 14-yard touchdown run that capped Powell Valley’s opening possession of the second half. That was surely good for a back-pat or two.
So was twin brother Malcom Pinkston’s spectacular 49-yard catch-and-run for a score as the first half clock expired.
“Some plays you just dream of making. That’s the play I made,” he said.
Lining up to run a slant pattern with 10.5 seconds on the clock and half a football field to go, Malcom Pinkston seemed the least likely of quarterback Cedric Mitchell’s multiple targets.
“Coach said to try to catch it out of bounds so we could stop the clock. But Malcom was open the whole time because the guy blitzed from outside linebacker,” Mitchell explained.
After the completion, Andrew Meador and the other wideouts laid down the blocks while Pinkston shed at least three other would-be tacklers en route to the end zone.
Mitchell hit Meador for the 2-point conversion to tie the score 14-14 at intermission.
It was an improbable momentum shifter for a trailing team that had seized possession on a Delmas Lawson interception with 38 seconds left in the half. Myron Pinkston’s 24-yard scramble and a 19-yard run by Mitchell primed the pump for that drive.
Mitchell passed for 152 yards on the night. He rushed for 98 yards, including his 8-yard TD run that initiated scoring with 3:01 left in the first quarter and a 12-yard scoring scramble that put on the final margin with 2:27 left to play.
“Cedric was good. People don’t realize that he’s much calmer. He’s not wanting to bolt all the time this year except on the plays that are designed to do that. We just got the ball and spread it out to different people,” Robbins said.
The scoring drive that opened the third quarter put Powell Valley up 21-14, but Gate City kept clawing and scratching. After trading a couple of scoreless possessions, the Blue Devils got a big break when Joseph Vaughn picked off a Mitchell pass attempt to give Gate City the ball near midfield.
That drive lasted only two snaps, however, ending when quarterback Tihlee Anderson’s option pitch attempted in a crowd was recovered by Myron Pinkston.
Gate City gave ground grudgingly, but 13 plays later John Michael Allen — who finished 3-for-4 on PAT kick attempts — hit a 23-yard field goal to put the Vikings up 24-14 with 8:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The kick was Powell Valley’s first field goal of the year.
Gate City — which had led 14-6 in the second quarter after a 3-yard scoring run by Anderson and a 23-yard touchdown run by running back Tyler Parks — got only one snap on its next possession.
Anderson hit Eric Hutchins for an 8-yard completion, but the Gate City receiver fumbled the football. Vikings defensive back Jordan Martin scooped it up and returned it 41 yards to score.
Energized, the Viking defense shut down Gate City’s next possession with a pass deflection on fourth-and-4. Mitchell then led Powell Valley on an eight-play scoring drive that erased all doubts.
“That’s football. That’s the way it goes,” said Gate City coach Nick Colobro, who got 148 yards rushing out of Parks. “What are you going to do? Nobody wants to fumble it. Nobody wants to throw interceptions.
“I think our effort was good. Our kids laid everything on the line. But tonight just wasn’t our night.”