MADISON - Herbert Hoover scored two second-half touchdowns and used an opportunistic defense to down Scott on the road, 28-14, in the season opener for both football teams.
The battle of one-win squads from a year ago, which saw the Huskies get their only win in a Cardinal Conference tilt in 2018 over the Skyhawks in Kanawha County.
The Huskies win spoiled the return of Scott's all-time gridiron coaching wins leader Shane Griffith as he returned to the program after a three-year absence, which saw him coach a year at Van High School.
Huskies coach Tim Meyer was pleased to get a conference win out of the gate.
"It is a good win for us," he said. "We struggled early tonight and Coach Griffith had his team ready to play and they are very much improved and well coached."
Hoover struck first in the opening quarter as junior Zach Paxton punched the ball in on a dive from three yards out after a sustained drive by the Huskies and they led 7-0.
Scott (0-1) responded in grand fashion on a second down play from their own three, Caleb Hughes went 97 yards down the sideline with one man to beat in the secondary. Hughes hit pay dirt to knot the score at 7.
The Huskies (1-0) went up 14-7 thanks to a crafty 43-yard jaunt on a counter play from Nathan Harper to the weak side.
On what might have been the most exciting play of the game, the Skyhawks tied the game at 14 before the half when Caleb Hughes hit Caleb Dingess with a pass that was tipped into the receivers hands. Dingess took the ball 59 yards for the score.
The second half was all Huskies as Hoover controlled the line of scrimmage and Paxton wore down the Skyhawks by keeping drives alive with tough runs into the heart of Scott's defense.
Hoover's junior signal caller Nick Grayam got in on the scoring action with a 4-yard keeper in the third to put his squad up by a touchdown.
Scott showed signs of life in the fourth when they shut down a fake field goal attempt but after a three-and-out, Hoover shut the door for good when Paxton fell into the end zone on a 3-yard dive to seal a 28-14 win.
"Zach took over the game for us and he did a real nice job sustaining drives," Meyer said. "We've got to improve on assignments in the secondary. We played pretty well defensively but gave up big plays and offensively we've got to finish off drives. We got down inside and couldn't punch it in. We kicked the ball around a little bit and missed wide open receivers. We played hard and finished the game, so I'm pleased with that."
Griffith said that while he was disappointed in the outcome, he was proud of the effort of his team.
"I told these guys that before they could learn how to win that they had to learn how to lose and they were shocked by that," Griffith said. "I told them that they laid down and quit last year and that didn't happen tonight. We played hard down to the very last play and that is important to me, We made some mental mistakes and crossed up some assignments. We were able to move the ball and at times, our defense played well. I don't like to lose and I don't believe in moral victories, but we made progress tonight. We'll go back to work this week and get ready for St. Marys."
HOOVER: Zach Paxton had 26 carries for 145 yards with 2 TDs, Nick Grayum had 33 yards rushing ( 3-for-10 passing with a TD and 77 yards)
SCOTT: Caleb Hughes had 108 yards on 7 carries and went 1-for-3 passing for 59 yards and a TD. Caleb Dingess caught a 59-yard TD
Herbert Hoover travels to Winfield next week.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at email@example.com or at 304-307-2402.