By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports
The message Huntington coach Stephen Dennis had for his team after Friday night’s 49-12 loss to Neville was emphatic.
“That’s a war you’ve been in the last two weeks,” he told his team. “I can tell you there aren’t a lot of 3-0 teams that want to play us.”
The last two weeks – a 46-22 loss to District 1-5A powerhouse Byrd in Week 2 followed by Friday night’s loss to the No. 5-ranked team in the LSWA Class 4A poll – may have dropped Huntington to 1-2, but the Raiders know why they have those teams on their schedule.
“If you want to be spoken in the same regard as those traditional programs – that have been good for decades — you have to beat them,” said Dennis. “We’re going to keep climbing in the ring with them until we are successful.”
Despite the lopsided loss to the Tigers at Independence Stadium Friday night, Dennis was pleased with what he saw from his players.
“You answered my call at halftime,” he told his team, which trailed 35-6 going into the third quarter. “The second half was 14-6.”
Neville (2-1) jumped out to a 14-0 lead on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Brooks Anzalone to Bradley Hanlon and a 14-yard scoring run by Jaylon Nichols. Chandler Pettis was 7-for-7 in PATs in the contest.
Huntington narrowed the gap to 14-6 with just over nine minutes to go in the second quarter when Kamron Evans found Tre Carter for a 40-yard touchdown pass. The Raiders were unsuccessful on both of their 2-point conversions on the night.
That was as close as they would get. With just over five minutes left in the second quarter the Tigers converted three scoring drives – Nichols scored his second TD on a 22-yard run and Anzalone hit Jaden Gibson on a 60-yard scoring pass and (with 36 seconds left in the half) found a wide-open Nichols for a 71-yard touchdown.
On their first possession of the second half, Huntington went on an 18-play, 91-yard touchdown drive capped by Evans’ 2-yard touchdown pass to Kenton Brossett. The Tigers came right back, taking just four plays to get into the endzone with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Anzalone to Hanlon.
Neville closed out the scoring on an 86-yard scamper by Jonovan Green with four minutes left in the game.
Anzalone was 11-for-13 for 238 yards and four touchdowns. Evans finished 8-for-26 for 131 yards with two interceptions and two touchdowns. John Solomon led the Raiders with 67 yards rushing on 13 carries while Carter finished with 7 catches for 129 yards.
The Raiders put up 206 yards on the ground. Michael Casey had 56 yards on 12 carries, Jamarion Mims added 44 yards on 12 carries, and Nyles Hullaby finished with 41 yards on 7 carries.
“I’m proud of the effort tonight,” Dennis told his players. “There’s nobody left like the last two teams you faced. The only people that can beat us from here on out is us.”
The Raiders open District 1-4A play at Northwood on Thursday.
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Neville 49, Huntington 12
Score by quarters
Neville | 14 | 21 | 7 | 7 | – 49
Huntington | 6 | 0 | 6 | 0 | – 12
Nev – Bradley Hanlon 43 pass from Brooks Anzalone (Chandler Pettis kick)
Nev – Jaylon Nichols 14 run (Pettis kick)
Hun – Tre Carter 40 pass from Kamron Evans (pass failed)
Nev – Jaden Gibson 60 pass from Anzalone (Pettis kick)
Nev – Nichols 22 run (Pettis kick)
Nev – Nichols 71 pass from Anzalone (Pettis kick)
Hun – Kenton Brossett 2 pass from Evans (pass failed)
Nev – Hanlon 26 pass from Anzalone (Pettis kick)
Nev – Jonovan Green 86 run (Pettis kick)
Rushing – Neville (25-235), Jaylon Nichols 9-98, Jonovan Green 3-87, Jacob Robinson 5-26, Kaleb Vaughn 2-19, John Sampognaro 1-9, Frank Mansfield 1-(-1), Brooks Anzalone 4-(-3). Huntington (55-206), John Solomon 13-67, Michael Casey 12-56, Jamarion Mims 12-44, Nyles Hullaby 7-41, Jamarion Washington 4-16, Darien Dean 1-1, Kamron Evans 4-(-8), Steven Ross 2-(-11).
Passing – Neville (12-14-0-248), Brooks Anzalone 11-13-0-238, John Sampognaro 1-1-0-10. Huntington (8-27-2-131), Kamron Evans 8-26-2-131, Lorenzo White 0-1-0-0.
Receiving – Neville, Kaleb Vaughn 6-26, Bradley Hanlon 2-69, Jaylon Nichols 1-71, Jaden Gibson 1-60, Tamarrion Wade 1-12, Isaac Jungina 1-10. Huntington, Tre Carter 7-129, Kenton Brossett 1-2.