The Miners got their only TD of the second half on sophomore tailback Deonte Joplin's 2-yard run to increase their margin to 36-21 with 2:50 to go in the third period. Mingo Central also kept all 11 plays of the drive on the ground.
Hoover wouldn't go way as Thomas, who shouldered the rushing load after Dotson's injury, scored from 11 yards out to cap a 13-play, 66-yard drive to close within 36-28 with 7:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. Thomas picked up a 2 yards on a fourth-and-2 to kept the rally alive.
The Huskies defense, which only yielded eight points after halftime, forced the Miners to punt on their ensuing possession, holding on a fourth-and-1 when Hoover senior defensive Taylor Hager submarined Mingo Central's Joplin at the line of scrimmage for no gain.
On fourth-and-11 from the Hoover 31, Americo's pass fell incomplete but Mingo Central defensive back Chance Lester was called for pass interference, giving the Huskies a first down and new life at their own 46. Three plays later, though, it ended when Americo and Triston Hager failed to connect.
"Our kids picked it up,'' said Meyer of the Huskies' player after Dotson got injured. "They played hard. Mingo is a heck of a football team.''
Thomas finished with 78 yards on 14 attempts for Hoover while Americo rushed for 77 yards on nine totes and passed for 35 yards.
Joplin and Thomas churned out 105 and 102 yards, respectively, for Mingo Central while freshman Corey Robertson hauled in three passes for 60 yards.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.