PIKEVILLE – Pikeville scored a touchdown on four of its first five drives to help blow past Bluefield (Va.) 56-13 in the Mid-South Conference East Division opener for both teams on Thursday at the W.C. Hambley Athletic Complex.
The Bears are off to at least a 2-0 start for the third straight season, but the way they are winning has a different feel to it that offers optimism for the rest of the year.
Against Morehead State it was the defense that drew the headlines, and although the unit played well again, it was the 527-283 advantage in yards from the offense that was turning heads.
That total included nearly 300 yards through the air by ways of a two quarterback system featuring starter Reese Browning and newcomer A.J. Graham, seeing his first time of the season.
Browning completed his first three passes of the game before allowing running back Seth Millar to finish the drive from three yards out. Browning went 12 of 20 for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
Graham utilized an option attack with Millar and Marquis Terrell, but still looked good in limited passing attempts, going 7 of 10 for 91 yards and a score. UPIKE (2-0, 1-0 MSC East) finished without a turnover for the second straight game.
While Millar and Terrell didn’t put up dual 100-yard games again, it was still a potent attack as Millar gained 75 yards and went to the end zone twice, while Terrell amassed 81 yards on six carries with a touchdown and the longest run of the game of 52 yards. Terrell finished with an average of 13.2 yards per carry.
Not all the attention went to the offense, especially after posting a 28-0 shutout lead at the break. Jade Haddix thrived for UPIKE, tallying 10 tackles, including four for a loss and a sack.
Bluefield’s (0-2, 0-1 MSC East) Ashten Dixon completed 8 of 16 passes for 124 yards a touchdown, but also threw a pair of interceptions. Dixon also led the Rams on the ground with 73 yards on eight carries.
UPIKE had eight players make a catch in the potent offense, including Jordan Amis with a game-best six grabs for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Nu’Keese Richardson, who left the game in the first half for precautionary reasons after a hard, high hit, made one catch for 33 yards and had a punt return of 45 yards.
By the time Amis made his second touchdown reception with over nine minutes left in the second quarter, the Bears were already up 28-0 and added two more touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarters.
Pikeville will have a chance to remain in the win column on this week during a trip to Edward Waters (Fla.) on Saturday, Sept. 14 in Jacksonville, Fla.