HUNTINGTON — It was the Gavin Lochow and Noah Waynick Show, but not the Lochow to Waynick Show Friday night at Bob Sang Stadium.
Huntington High’s potent passing tandem combined just four times for 27 yards and one touchdown, but both players starred with other players and in other ways to lead the top-seeded Highlanders (11-0) to a 48-21 victory over No. 16 Wheeling Park (4-5) in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.
Lochow, a junior quarterback, completed 14 of 24 passes for 183 yards and one touchdown and ran 14 times for 191 yards and three touchdowns. Waynick intercepted two passes and returned one 51 yards for a touchdown.
“On offense I wasn’t doing much, so I had to find another way to produce,” said Waynick, whose interception return for a TD gave HHS a 21-7 lead at 6:58 of the first quarter.
Lochow deflected credit for his gaudy statistics to his teammates.
“The line did a great job,” said Lochow, who ran for touchdowns of 56, 1 and 55 yards. “A lot of time I was never even touched.”
Lochow’s 56-yard run on the second play of the game, followed by Jonathan Aya-Ay’s extra point, gave Huntington High a 7-0 lead. The Patriots, though, responded with a six-play, 64-yard scoring drive capped by Hunter Nixon’s 3-yard run and Aiden Forget’s extra point to tie it.
The Highlanders regained the lead on a Curtis Jones 1-yard TD run set up by a 40-yard gain by Lochow two plays earlier. A mere 24 seconds later, Waynick returned his interception into a touchdown for a 21-7 lead.
“The receiver ran an out route, and I followed,” Waynick said. “Then I jumped the route.”
Aya-Ay kicked field goals of 30 and 32 yards to make it 27-7 by halftime. The first field goal was set up by an interception by Zha Zha Jackson.
After Nathan Shelek returned the second half kickoff 62 yards to the Highlanders’ 20, Wheeling Park needed just three plays to get back in the game on a 4-yard run by Nixon.
Lochow, though, added touchdown runs of 1 and 55 yards, then threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Waynick for a 48-14 lead. Nixon broke a 63-yard run with 38 seconds left to set the score. Nixon finished with 140 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. He caught five passes for a team-high 66 yards.
“We felt we had to get some turnovers,” Huntington High coach Billy Seals said. “In the games (Wheeling Park) struggled in, they turned the ball over a lot. Our secondary was very good disguising coverages.”
The Highlanders play host to No. 9 George Washington (8-3) at either 7:30 p.m. Friday or 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The time and date will be determined Sunday. G.W. defeated No. 8 Greenbrier East 21-7 Friday night.
Huntington High beat George Washington 30-14 on Sept. 17 in Charleston.
WHEELING PARK 7 0 7 7 — 21
HUNTINGTON HIGH 21 6 14 7 — 48
First downs 10 10
Rushes-yards 27-156 30-268
Passes 14-26-3 14-24-1
Passing yards 129 183
Total yards 285 451
Fumbles-lost 1-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 4-20 3-15
Punts 2-37.5 3-35.0
Rushing: Wheeling Park — Nixon 18-140, Mundy 4-16, Phillips 5-0; Huntington High — Lochow 14-191, Harrell 2-18, Jackson 2-33, Jones 5-13, Felder 1-(minus-2).
Passing: Wheeling Park — Phillips 14-25-3, 129 yards; Davis 0-1-0; Huntington High — Lochow 14-24-1, 183 yards.
Receiving: Wheeling Park — Nixon 5-66, James 3-31, Stephens 2-4, Shelek 1-17, Hawkins 1-5, Bennett 1-1; Huntington High — Felder 1-1, Waynick 4-27, Jones 2-63, Jackson 2-33, Harrell 2-46.