Commodore leads Morgantown past Huntington
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Shane Commodore has kept Morgantown's playoff ship afloat.
The 6-foot-2, 193-pound senior tailback turned in 243 yards on 20 carries with four touchdowns to lead the No. 5 Mohigans past No. 4 Huntington 35-14 Friday night in the Class AAA quarterfinals.
A crowd of about 800 at Bob Sang Stadium watched Morgantown win its first game on the road in the postseason since 1996.
Morgantown (10-2) will take on another Cabell County school in next week's semifinals, playing at No. 1 Cabell Midland (12-0) with the date and time to be determined Sunday. The Knights edged No. 8 Spring Valley 28-26 Friday night.
Commodore has carried more of the rushing load since top back Chazzy Thomas was injured in the next-to-last game of the regular season. Commodore, who played wide receiver and only had a handful of carries on the season, was the leading ground gainer in last week's 49-28 opening-round win over Point Pleasant with 153 yards and three scores.
Commodore had 190 yards on nine carries with four TDs at halftime of Friday's win over Huntington. (9-3). He also came up with an interception in the second half from his safety position.
"I honestly didn't think it would be this great,'' said Commodore, "but I give all the credit to the offensive line. They are unbelievable. Their holes were just unbelievable. The first touchdown I had I was untouched and right up the middle. You put anybody behind them and they'll get 100 yards.''
After Huntington took the opening kickoff and moved right down the field to take a 7-0 lead on senior quarterback Mark Shaver's 4-yard run, Commodore scored on the first play from scrimmage for Morgantown, a 78-yard jaunt up the middle, to knot the game at 7-all.
"It just shifted momentum back in our favor,'' Commodore said. "We came back and responded so well. That's why we won that game.''
After the defense forced a fumble, Commodore capped off a 12-play drive with a 4-yard TD as the Mohigans took the lead for good at 14-7. Morgantown's defense then forced the Highlanders to punt on the ensuing possession and Commodore ripped off a 64-yard scoring scamper on the first play from scrimmage for a 21-7 advantage with 7:15 left in the opening half.
Huntington junior running back Charles Crawford's 3-yard TD cut the deficit to 21-14, set up by Shaver's 46-yard run.
Commodore added a score from 3 yards out just before halftime to conclude a 10-play, 70-yard drive as the Mohigans went up 28-14 and carried the momentum with them into the locker room.
Morgantown caught a break in the third quarter, a 15-yard personal foul on Huntington for roughing the kicker on fourth down that set up its only TD of the second half.
The Mohigans chewed up a lot of clock on the 13-play, 85-yard drive that culminated in senior quarterback Mark Johnson's 18-yard pass to freshman Jarret Hockenberry and a 35-14 lead with 10:25 to go in the fourth period.
"I thought it was a huge call,'' said Huntington coach Billy Seals of the penalty that gave Morgantown a first down. "We had gotten two straight stops. We just never got back on track after that call.''
The Mohigans finished with 388 yards on 49 carries, piling up 21 first downs.
"He does a nice job,'' said Morgantown coach John Bowers of Commodore. "When Jazzy got hurt, that cut into our depth because Shane and Alex [Weidman] were our depth. So they've now become two-way starters. They're both very gifted runners. The constant has been the big O-line.''
Johnson finished 6 of 11 passing for 58 yards with a TD and no interceptions. He also added 49 yards with his scrambling. Weidman tacked on 58 yards on nine totes for Morgantown.
Huntington's Shaver completed 9 of 17 passes for 48 yards, but had two picks. He also was the leading rusher with 73 yards on 13 attempts. Highlanders starting sophomore offensive lineman Shamar Ingram was suspended for Friday's game after getting ejected in last week's opening victory over Elkins.
"We hadn't faced a better football team up front all year long,'' said Seals. "We thought they were very physical and early on we didn't match that intensity. We knew coming in they were going to make us beat them inside.''
Seals said he was pleased that his nine-member senior class, which endured an 0-10 season, went out in the postseason.
"I'm proud of my kids and I'm proud of the program,'' Seals said. "We just didn't get it done. You know what? Our kids played their guts out. I love my seniors. My seniors have been the heart and soul of this program.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4811.