CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When the Poca players went to sleep Friday night, Nitro's Brayden Underwood was doubtlessly still be running through their dreams.
Underwood rushed for a game-high 226 yards on 27 carries and four touchdowns as Nitro overpowered visiting Poca in its season opener 41-22 Friday night.
"Our goal was to win this game for coach [Derek] Midkiff," Underwood said. "This win against Poca sets the tone for the season. Hopefully, we will have more to follow."
Midkiff, the Wildcats head coach, was ejected the final game of the 2012 season against Riverside and is suspended for the first two games of this season. Bryce Casto has taken over the play-calling duties in his absence.
"We challenged our young men in pre-game about effort and accountability," Casto said. "Not only to themselves and teammates, but also to Coach Midkiff. He put in a great game plan for this game. These kids executed it and we got the result we wanted.
"It's been awhile since we have beaten the Poca Dots. It feels really good. It has also been the first time Nitro has been 1-0 in a while."
When asked about Underwood's performance, Casto gushed about the sophomore tailback.
"He's special," Casto said. "Keep in mind that he is a sophomore so he is only going to get better. He is learning the game. He's a vision runner that sees the field really well."
Underwood and the play of the offensive line set the tone -- and the nightmares for Poca defenders -- early.