POCA -The Poca Dots played old-school grind-it-out football and came away with a 20-7 victory over Buffalo in a hard-fought clash of Putnam County neighbors at jam-packed O.O White Stadium Friday night.
The teams played to a 7-7 halftime tie.
"The momentum shifted in the second half,'' said Poca coach Bob Lemley. "They had it the first half, but with their turnovers it went back our way. When [Buffalo quarterback Levi] Jordan cramped up there, it gave us a little boost and might have been the key in the game. Our quarterback Jake Payne threw a few bad passes in the first half that kind of hurt us, but we count on him and we stuck with him. Once the front line started blocking, we opened holes and we could go from there."
The first half saw a defensive struggle as Poca held Jordan to 15 yards on two receptions by junior Laythen Good. The Poca passing game likewise was held in check as Payne threw for only 31 yards with two interceptions.
Buffalo took its first possession of the game to the Poca 32 yard-line where the Bison faced a fourth-and-3 but converted on a run by Jordan around left end.
From there, the Bison drove for the TD with Jordan scrambling in the backfield long enough to find Good in the corner of the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
Poca's T.T Loudin returned a punt 42 yards to set up a Dots drive that culminated with Payne sneaking 1 yard for the score and tying the game at 7-7 in the second quarter.
Poca came out grinding it out on the ground in the second half, wearing down the Bison defense. The Dots' Loudin finished the night with 121 yards on 27 carries, and Hayden Bailey and Levi Clendenin contributed with 27 yards and 24 yards, respectively.
Loudin gave Poca the lead with a 2-yard TD run in the third quarter, and Payne added a 1-run score in the fourth.
"They just ran the ball up and down the field all night,'' said Buffalo coach Mike Sawyer. "We didn't come to play. That pretty much sums it all. We just weren't ready to play and that's my fault."
For Buffalo, Jordan had an off night throwing the ball but managed to scramble to 75 yards on 10 carries. Good was held in check as he ran the ball 12 times for 20 yards.
Before the kickoff, a ceremony was held for fallen State Trooper Marshall Bailey, who played basketball at Poca.