Clay Archer, Contributor
CHILLICOTHE — The Doug Pryor Jr. coaching era at Chillicothe officially began last week in a 14-0 loss to Teays Valley.
But the era started to take flight in Week 2.
Pryor Jr. and the Cavaliers handed Mifflin a 27-14 loss at Herrnstein Field, Friday night — killing two birds with one stone in securing the program’s first win this season and its first under Pryor Jr.
“It was exciting. The crowd was really into it. I told the kids to just enjoy it, playing in front of a home crowd, their friends and their family,” Pryor Jr. said. “They made the most of it and they fought until the end. It feels good to get a lot of players in the game and, of course, to come out with the victory.”
After Mifflin (0-2) opened the game with a lengthy kickoff return, the Punchers immediately ripped off a 15-yard run just before completing a 10-yard pass. However, Chillicothe stood its ground and halted the drive, forcing a missed field goal from close range.
After the defense did its job, the Cavaliers’ got the night’s first points when Christian Benson took an eight-yard run into the end zone.
With a 7-0 lead, Chillicothe (1-1) forced a three-and-out on the Punchers’ next possession. The Cavaliers’ offense then drove again, taking a 10-0 lead with 9:16 left in the first quarter thanks to Jacob Coffland’s right foot.
With 7:39 left in the fist half, Chillicothe got its first interception of the night thanks to Joel Barnes. But the offense failed to do anything with the opportunity given, fumbling the ball away just before halftime.
In the third quarter, Barnes booted a 65-yard punt that pinned Mifflin’s offense at its own two-yard line. The Punchers had to punt, giving the Cavaliers the football at Mifflin’s 20. Six plays later, Tyce Netter scored on a nine-yard plunge, extending the lead to 18-0 after a successful two-point try.
With 1:07 left in the third, the Cavaliers picked off another pass, this time with Cade Williams as the culprit, and quickly turned the turnover in points. Benson reached pay dirt with 9:05 left in the fourth, producing the team’s last touchdown of the night.
Up 25-0, Chillicothe’s defense then forced a safety with 7:44 left, making it 27-0. Mifflin scored at the 2:46 and 18-second marks to produce the night’s final.
While the Punchers gained 238 yards through the air, they managed to put up just 20 yards on the ground in 26 tries.
“We’ve got some guys that go both ways,” Pryor Jr. said. “They put some pressure on the quarterback. They really laid some wood tonight.”
Hunter Thomas led Chillicothe’s offense, rushing for 165 yards on 29 carries. Benson picked up 24 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while completing 7-of-14 pass attempts for 51 yards.
The Cavaliers travel to Watkins Memorial next Friday, a team that currently stands at 1-1 after Friday’s 24-13 loss to Walnut Ridge.
“We’ve still got some things to clean up. Watkins Memorial is going to be well-coached,” Pryor Jr. said. “I think they’re going to be similar to Teays Valley. They’re physical up front and they’re going to try to establish the run. And they’ve got some size. They’re a team with no quit in them. So we know it’s going to be a tough win to get.”