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Herd unable to generate offense in 16-7 loss at Troy

— By David Walsh

Troy’s defense put the clamps on Marshall’s attack and even got into the scoring act.

Not to be outdone, the Trojans got a big game from their quarterback, two receivers and kicker and spoiled the Thundering Herd’s debut in the Sun Belt Conference with a 16-7 win Saturday night in front of 27,514 fans in Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Ala., and the viewers who watched the NFL Network’s live telecast.

Marshall coach Charles Huff knows his team has to find its offense as soon as possible. The Herd didn’t muster more than 100 yards passing or rushing and the home team had a decisive edge in total offense, 418-169. Marshall entered with the nation’s sixth-ranked rushing offense at 263.3 per game.

“We battled on defense,” said Huff, aware a third-quarter pick by Micah Abraham created the Herd’s only TD, a 14-yard run by Khalan Laborn. “On offense, we’re spinning our wheels in the mud. Partially, it’s because how Troy played. We have things we have to fix. It’s costing us opportunities.”

Troy’s first-quarter score came when Buddha Jones returned a fumble 23 yards for a touchdown. Brooks Buce would add three field goals.

Troy’s Gunnar Watson threw for 321 yards to go over 5,000 for his career. Tez Johnson and Jabre Barber both had over 100 yards receiving with each setting up fourth-quarter field goals with big gains after receptions.

Jones’ touchdown came after T.J. Jackson strip-sacked Henry Colombi for a 7-0 lead and Buce added a field goal in the first quarter which came on a drive that included a 63-yard Johnson reception, 51 yards coming after the catch.

Johnson had 39 yards after the catch for a 58-yard reception and Barber went 40 yards after a reception in the final quarter to set up Buce. Johnson had 121 yards on just two receptions and Barber 101 on four. Of Watson’s 321 yards passing, 233 came on yards after the catch.

Carlton Martial of Troy (2-2, 1-1) had 18 tackles — four solo — giving him 474 to become the Sun Belt’s all-time leader.

Colombi was 8-of-13 for 49 yards and Cam Fancher went 3-of-7 for 29 for a total of 78. Outside of Laborn, who gained 113 yards, no other Herd back managed more than 10 yards for a total of 91. No Herd receiver had more than three catches.

And Troy’s special teams got into the act with a blocked field goal just before halftime.

“We got into this together; we’ll get out together,” Huff said. “We’ve got to move the ball on offense to help the defense out. Laborn did run, but it’s like you’re one dimensional. We’ve got to complete passes.”

Marshall (2-2, 0-1 Sun Belt) hopes to iron out the shortcomings by this Saturday when Gardner-Webb visits Joan C. Edwards Stadium at 3:30 p.m. It’s the Herd’s first home game after a 1-2 road trip.

The overall series with Troy is now tied at 3-3 as the Trojans have won three in a row. Before Saturday, the last meeting was in 2004. Marshall is 30-31 all-time against current Sun Belt opponents.

Troy obviously bounced back after last week’s stunning loss at Appalachian State when the Mountaineers scored on a 53-yard Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game.

“I think we came back after the heartbreak of last week and competed,” Trojans coach Jon Sumrall said. “We would also like to thank our fans for showing up tonight.”

The scoop and score by Jones was Troy’s first fumble return for a TD since 2020 at Arkansas State.

Martial became the all-time Sun Belt tackle lead with his third stop of the game.

“I give all the credit to my coaches and my defense line,” Martial said. “Those guys are awesome, and I could go on talking about the work they put in. We’re just 11 guys playing the game with incredible detail, and those are the results.”

The crowd size was the fourth-largest at The Vet.

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Yosef’s late goal lifts No. 4 Marshall to 1-0 win over West Virginia

— By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A big save by the goaltender became a spark that led to a quick rush downfield, and a low shot from inside inside the opponent’s box went inside the left post for a goal.

So it went for Marshall on Saturday night when keeper Oliver Semmle stopped a shot by West Virginia’s Ryan Crooks at 83:17 and Kyle Lenhert’s follow missed to the right.

Milo Yosef then took a pass while making a run down the right side and entering the West Virginia box, before firing a low shot past keeper Jackson Lee for the goal that sparked a celebration among Thundering Herd fans in the soldout crowd of 2,735 at Hoops Family Field/Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex.

That goal would hold up one give the No. 4 Herd a 1-0 win over the Mountaineers in the 25th iteration of the West Virginia Derby. When the clock struck zero, Marshall fans charged the turf to congratulate the players and coach Chris Grassie.

“I saw the striker and I cheated a little bit,” Simmle said of the clutch save. “Milo — just a great effort. The crowd was amazing.”

Yosef’s goal was his fifth of the season.

“I dreamt that would happen,” Yosef said. “It did. The fans — we’re used to that. I got the ball down the line, saw the goalie cheat and said, ‘go for it.’ Needed that reward for Ollie. He saved us. It’s a big win.”

WVU (2-5-1, 0-1-1 Sun Belt Conference) got its first scoring chance late in the first half when Ryan Baer put a shot on goal. Marcus Caldeira sent a header just wide in the 79th minute. Then came Semmle diving and stopping the shot by Crooks.

“We created a lot of chances in the first half,” Grassie said. “We tried to increase the pressure. You could kind of see their heads drop after that save.

“You could see he (Yosef) was feeling it. Just shoot. When he turned, it was try to get it and rip it. We’ve had this journey since 2019. We’ve been winning and the crowd’s been with us. It helped push over the top tonight. You could see us gain energy.”

Marshall (5-1-1, 1-0-1 Sun Belt) returns to action Friday night against Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C.

With the loss, the Mountaineers are now 16-7-2 in the all-time series, including 6-5-1 in Huntington.

“It was emotional,” Mountaineers coach Dan Stratford said. “We still created some chances. We have to absorb this and move on. This was our best performance of the season against the best opponent we’ve played.”

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WVU epidemiologist wary of flu season, recommends the vaccine

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Some health experts are predicting the worst flu season five years.

Health officials are basing their concerns on how the flu hit Australia. They often monitor the flu season there and they report the worst flu season in five years.

Dr. Michael Stevens

WVU Health System Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Stevens cautions that  coronavirus protocols could set the stage for a similar outbreak on this side of the world.

“We’ve lost a little bit of that partial population immunity we had to the flu,” Stevens said. “There’s the potential we could have a bad flu season and I think that’s what is making a lot of people in public health nervous.”

CDC data predicts a coronavirus peak in December coinciding with flu season. That would be the first time both viruses have been a threat to the population at once since the pandemic.

“It’s hard to say- is it probable, versus will we see a mild season again?” Dr. Stevens asked. “I would error on the side of we’ll probably see more activity than we’ve seen in the last few years.”

The CDC has approved taking the flu and coronavirus vaccine this year at the same time. Stevens said getting the flu vaccine in advance of flu season peak will ensure maximum effectiveness.

“If people go out and get it now people they will be ready for when we might see a spike in activity as the weather gets colder and people are clustered indoors,” Stevens said.

To formulate the current year vaccine, researchers review effectiveness of the previous year’s version, what viruses are currently spreading and the extent of virus spread. Stevens believes this vaccine will be effective and encourages people to get the protection provided by the shot.

“We’ve done a pretty good job of predicting what’s going to be in this year’s vaccine and what’s going to work the best,” Stevens said. “So get vaccinated.”

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Photo gallery: Parkersburg South wins at John Marshall, 55-16

GLEN DALE, W.Va. — Photo gallery from Parkersburg South’s 55-16 win at John Marshall.

(Photo gallery courtesy of Robert Ovies Sports Photography)

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Dreams come true; new WVU Children’s Hospital ready for patients

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A new era in medical care begins in Morgantown with the opening of the WVU Children’s Hospital. The 150-bed facility will bring a new level of care and medical resources to seriously injured or ill kids.

“I don’t know that we could do anything more impactful for the state than to make sure we have comprehensive people, programs and the physical plant to take care of the children of West Virginia,” WVU Medicine President and CEO Albert Wright said at Saturday’s ribbon cutting celebration.

The $215 million facility not only increases the number of beds at the existing children’s facility, but it also advances care options and transforms the neonatal intensive care unit from an open ward to individual rooms. The private rooms will now allow a parent or guardian to stay overnight with children.

The facility also includes the Cecil E. Roberts WVU Children’s Heart Wing. Roberts, the longtime UMWA president and a sixth generation coal miner, said he was born in a company house with only his mother to care for him and this is a continuation of the UMWA commitment to health care.

“We’re just honored to be a part of this,” Roberts said. “We continue the march started by our grandfathers in the 1940s and we’re just proud of this.”

Former WVU QB Jeff Hostetler led the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XXV (Photo by USA Today)

 

 

Former WVU athletes including Jeff Hostetler, Mark Bulger, Pat McAfee, Jerry West and former WVU coach Don Nehlen all made donations for a special floor- the 10th floor Family Resource Center. The floor includes jerseys, a big screen TV and future plans for Monday Night Football and other activities to give healing children and families a diversion.

“I don’t know the last time I felt so excited,” Hostetler said Saturday. “It was probably when my kids were born, but it’s awesome to be a part of it.”

Don Nehlen

The floor walk through history of the featured athletes and includes a timeline of WVU athletic achievements. Nehlen said the floor is like no other in the country and is sure to get national attention in the future.

“I look for ESPN to come up here and shoot footage before our football games on Saturday,” he said. “When they get a glimpse of this, it’s going to be something special for them.”

Patients will begin populating the facility on Sept. 29.

“It’s really weird, it’s one of those facilities you build and you hope no one ever needs,” Wright said. “But, you’re going to be there when they do and that will be impactful for the state.”

WVU Medicine operates the only Level 1 trauma center in the state for adults, manages two hospitals and owns 17 others, including J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown that is connected to the new children’s hospital.

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Upson named West Virginia Women’s Commission executive director

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Friday the appointment of Jill Upson as executive director of the West Virginia Women’s Commission.

Jill Upson (File)

Upson, a former state lawmaker, serves as the executive director of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs. She will continue to serve in the position.

A department release cited Upson’s support of the commission as a reason for her appointment. Upson has been involved in multiple organization events, including the annual Women’s and Girls’ Day at the state Legislature.

“It is an honor to be chosen to lead WVWC and I am looking forward to beginning this work with the support of the Commission board,” she said. “West Virginia’s women and girls are leaders, change-makers, visionaries and hard workers. The Commission will continue its legacy to provide support, education and opportunities for all we serve.”

The commission’s executive director position has been open since 2016; Julie Palas has served in an interim role.

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Marshall at Troy: What to watch for

— By Bill Cornwell

Marshall’s welcoming to the Sun Belt Conference takes place Saturday when the Herd play at Troy in a 7 p.m. contest that will be carried by the NFL Network.

Marshall (2-1) is hoping to rebound from last week’s 34-31 overtime loss at Bowling Green in the matchup with the Trojans at Troy’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Troy (1-2, 0-1) suffered a heartbreaking last-second loss last week at Appalachian State 32-28 when the Mountaineers won on a 53-yard Hail Mary pass as time expired. 

The teams have met five times in the past, though four of the games were played in Huntington. Marshall has a 3-2 series advantage.

Troy is coached by Jon Sumrall, who is in his first season. Sumrall was hired off of the Kentucky coaching staff, where he worked the last two seasons as the Wildcats’ co-defensive coordinator. Sumrall previously worked as an assistant under former Trojans and current WVU head coach Neal Brown.

Here are three things to look for in Saturday’s game:

TURNOVER DISPARITY: Marshall head coach Charles Huff felt his team left at least two touchdowns on the field in last week’s overtime loss to the Falcons.

A second-quarter interception thrown by Herd quarterback Henry Colombi was sandwiched by lost fumbles in the first and third quarter from running back Khalan Laborn, and all three occurred in Bowling Green territory. 

Laborn’s fumbles were especially costly, as both occurred inside the red zone. Marshall’s five turnovers in three games aren’t especially high, but the timeliness of the miscues last week were troubling. 

This week, Marshall faces a Troy team with even worse turnover numbers — two lost fumbles and four passes intercepted. Marshall needs to hang onto the ball and use its aggressive defense to force the Trojans into more miscues. 

GET OFF THE FIELD: Bowling Green quarterback Matt McDonald’s ability to keep drives alive last week proved costly for MU.

McDonald found ways to get the Falcons into the right plays in conversion situations, be it with a clutch run or crossing routes, which the Herd defense found hard to cover throughout the day. 

BG was 2-for-2 on fourth-down conversions and 4-of-8 on third-down conversions in the second half. 

Marshall faces an even better passing game this week in Troy, which features four receivers with more than 100 yards to this point. Jabre Barber and Deshon Stoudemire each have 16 catches to go with a combined 364 yards and two touchdowns. 

Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson is only 72 yards away from 1,000 passing yards on the season as he’s averaged better than 309 yards a game. He’s thrown five touchdown passes and is completing 68 percent of his passes. 

Former WVU quarterback Jarret Doege is the backup and has 124 passing yards and a touchdown in limited playing time. 

Marshall’s defense was disappointed with its performance against Bowling Green, and hopes to be ready for the challenge at Troy.

“We had a different message from the players after the loss as leaders spoke up,” Huff said. “The culture is different and a lot of guys on the team owned the poor performance, and they know that they need to be a lot more focused.”

STAY SOUND IN COVERAGE: Balance is certainly not the word to describe Troy’s offense. The Trojans have run 86 times for a mere 175 yards, while throwing 129 times for 1,052 yards. 

Troy’s offense is going to put plenty of pressure on Marshall’s defense, and is the best pass attack the Herd has seen so far this season.

Marshall must find ways to put pressure on Watson, while limiting his ability scramble and not losing track in coverage after the Falcons had several instances with free-running wideouts a week ago. 

With Troy’s defense surrendering 415 yards a game and 5.6 yards per play, Marshall’s offense figures to have a chance to move the ball and produce points. It will be up to MU’s defense to ensure the Herd gets back on track.

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Marion County Schools recognized for support of military families

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — The Marion County School system one of nine statewide to earn the Purple Star honor.

The Purple Star is awarded to school districts that provide emotional and other support to students with family members on active duty military service or temporary deployment.Administrative Assistant of Curriculum and Instruction L.D. Skarzinski said they have quite a few military families across the district.

“A lot of our students’ parents are in the Reserves and some of them are definitely in full-time service and West Virginia has always bee st

L.D. Skarzinski

rong when it comes to military service and we’re very proud of that.”

The program offers support for students while go through the adjustment of a family member leaving or the extended absence while on military duty. Skarzinski said it’s a great learning tool for students of non-military families and helps them be part of the whole adjustment process.

“It’s also for all kids for them to understand how important it is that people are involved in military service and the sacrifice it brings to their families so it’s really it’s an all encompassing student support mechanism for all of our schools.”

In Marion County, the program is managed at the building level with familiar faces and some school leaders with military experience for students to interact with. Some of the programs include military themed celebrations on appropriate holidays so those students can honor their family members as well.

“All of our elementary, middle and high schools have a point of contact and some of those folks are actually military veterans and one is a reservist,” Skarzinski said.

Students react different ways when a family member leaves for a deployment. The program provides an outlet for students to express individual concerns in order to keep them engaged academically.

“There’s an adjustment that has to be made because that parent or sibling is not at home,” Skarzinski said. “That’s tough for some kids to understand, especially the little ones, our kidos struggle with that sometimes and go to school upset.”

The relationships built in the school through the program don’t stop when the students walks out the school door. Skarzinski said it’s a community that lifts up those who serve and their families.

“So, there are support mechanisms in place within the school, but it also branches out into the community to help the families also,” Skarzinski said.

The schools honored were Watson Elementary, Barrackville Elementary, East Park Elementary, Jayenne Elementary, Fairview Middle, Monongah Middle, and West Fairmont Middle.

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Roundup: Musselman outlasts Morgantown; Independence & Greenbrier West cruise again

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A closer look at some notable results on the fifth Friday of the high school football regular season:

Class AAA

Musselman 36, Morgantown 33 — The Applemen (4-1) erased a fourth quarter deficit to defeat Morgantown (3-1) in a contest that was close throughout. Bayden Hartman rushed for three touchdowns for Musselman and Brayden Miller had the game-winning touchdown reception for the Applemen.

Caleb Nutter surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for the Mohigans.

Cabell Midland 31, Parkersburg 10 — The Knights (3-1) won their third consecutive game by rushing for over 500 yards. Curtis Jones (19 rushes for 125 yards), Ryan Wolfe (14 rushes for 124 yards) and Zechariah Roberts (9 rushes for 117 yards) all hit the century mark for Midland. Kylan Grace rushed for two scores.

“I think we’ve got a good team. I really do. We’ve got good kids and we are still getting there,” said Cabell Midland head coach Luke Salmons. “We’ve played a lot of different kids from week one to week two to week three. Our kids weren’t happy tonight leaving. They won but they want to be better. They try to enjoy it but they felt like they should have scored more and not given up certain things. But Parkersburg is improved and they have done a good job.”

David Parsons hit Anthony Ice on a 22-yard pass for Parkersburg’s lone touchdown.

Lord Botetourt (VA) 28, Princeton 27 — The Tigers (3-1) could not hold an early lead as they suffered their first loss of the season. Princeton led 20-7 in the second half. Grant Cochran tossed three touchdown passes for the Tigers. He ended the game with 266 passing yards. Dom Collins accounted for Princeton’s other score with a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Bridgeport 42, Robert C. Byrd 0 — The Indians (4-1) posted their first shutout victory over their county rivals. Bridgeport rushed for 410 yards and Phil Reed tossed a touchdown pass for the Indians.

Woodrow Wilson 48, Lincoln County 8 — The Flying Eagles (4-1) are off to their best start since 2012. Beckley outgained Lincoln County 321-23. Tylai Kimble scored three rushing touchdowns for WWHS.

 

Class AA

North Marion 35, Lincoln 0 — Newly minted as the No. 1 team in the Class AA WVSSAC ratings, North Marion moved halfway to a perfect regular season with a win over the Cougars. Casey Minor had a rushing touchdown for the Huskies.

Roane County 51, Buffalo 16 — The Raiders improved to 5-0 with another dominating performance on the ground. Briar Begler rushed for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Skyler Deck rushed for 130 yards. He found the end zone three times. As a team, Roane rushed for 374 yards.

Independence 62, Westside 0 — The Patriots improved to 5-0 with their fifth lopsided victory of the season. Judah Price and Cyrus Goodson each had three touchdowns for IHS.

University 19, Fairmont Senior 14 — University collected an important road victory for their playoff hopes by defeating the two-time defending Class AA state champions. Both teams are now 3-2. Luke Hudson’s 61-yard touchdown pass to Noah Braham was the difference. Gavin Mitchell returned an interception for a touchdown and the University defense collected four sacks.

 

Class A

Greenbrier West 54, Meadow Bridge 0 — Greenbrier West (5-0) extended their shutout streak to five games. “We have several weapons back there,” said Greenbrier West head coach Toby Harris. “Ty (Nickell) of course, everybody hears about him. He is doing is real nice job. Tonight, we spread it around a little bit and we have some other kids back there that can run the football as well. Ty really didn’t get to run the ball very many times because we scored in so many different ways.”

Williamstown 47, Marietta (OH) 0 — The Yellowjackets improved to 4-0 with a win in the “Rumble on the River”. Maxwell Molessa rushed for a pair of touchdowns and passed for another. Rickie Allen also rushed for two touchdowns.

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Midland Trail rallies to edge Summers County 13-12 for 4th straight win

HICO, W.Va. — Although Midland Trail entered Friday’s matchup against Summers County winners of three straight games, Patriots’ head coach Jeremy Moore felt his team had a lot to prove against the Bobcats.

For one half, Moore’s team didn’t prove much as it struggled to stop the Bobcats’ ground game and couldn’t maintain consistent offensive play while falling behind 12-0.

But Midland Trail did just enough to hang around, and then made big strides on both sides of the ball in the second half to rally for a thrilling 13-12 victory on a chilly Friday evening.

“The teams we’d beaten to this point haven’t won a ton of games, so we knew if we want to make a playoff push, we had to win this game,” Moore said. “Maybe that’s my fault for putting too much pressure on them, but I’m blatantly honest with these kids. They’re going to know where they stand in the grand scheme of things.”

The Patriots’ winning score came with 8:51 remaining when quarterback Jaden Gladwell connected with Cody Harrell on a fourth-and-goal slant pass from the 1-yard line. On the previous three plays, each of which were runs, Midland Trail (4-1) mustered only 1 yard. Moore elected for his team to pass, and Gladwell wisely found his top target for the go-ahead score.

“We had success moving the ball, and I knew their linebackers were very aggressive, and we knew there’d be more windows there than trying to chuck the ball down the field,” Moore said. “We knew those underneath and intermediate routes would be there and we were trying to exploit that.”

After a failed two-point pass, Trail was left with a one-point lead and needed another defensive stop to stay in front.

On the ensuing series, Summers County (2-3) got to midfield courtesy of a Patriots’ personal foul penalty, but faced with fourth-and-12 soon after, they elected to punt with 6:33 remaining.

Harrrell’s 45-yard punt return allowed the Patriots to start at the Bobcats’ 40, and they gained a pair of first downs soon after to move into the red zone. However, the Bobcats came up with a fourth down stop to regain possession at their 13 with 1:47 remaining.

SCHS was unable to move the ball as a Landon Syner sack of Ryan Oliveros results in a 10-yard loss on the second play. Faced with fourth-and-21, Oliveros hit Kaden Nephew on a pass play, but it went for only 9 yards, sealing the outcome with 28 seconds remaining.

“We got satisfied,” Bobcats’ head coach Josh Evans said. “That’s all there is to it. We’re close, but we’re just not there yet. We have three seniors on the field right now. I know he has a bunch of young kids, but we’re trying to get over the hump. We’ll eventually get there. We have to learn how to finish. We had our foot on the gas and we have to learn how to finish.”

Trailing 12-0, MTHS put together its first scoring drive on its second series of the third quarter. The Patriots began at the Bobcats’ 37 and benefitted from an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty before Gladwell tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Syner, who made a strong individual effort to provide Trail with its first points.

Talon Shockey’s point-after kick left the Patriots trailing 12-7 with 5:44 left in the third quarter.

Soon after, Summers’ Tyson Adkins lost a fumble that Trail’s Cade Ooten recovered just past midfield, giving the Patriots the ball back at their 47 at the 2:38 mark of the third.

Trail needed 15 plays to cover the necessary 53 yards, converting a fourth-and-1 on Gladwell’s 9-yard pass to Harrell, and then getting a bounce in its favor when Gladwell’s pass hit off Harrell and fell into the hands of Zane Burford for a 28-yard gain on third-and-27.

The TD pass to Harrell came six plays later and proved to be enough for the Patriots to overcome a forgetful first half.

“He is a ridiculous athlete,” Moore said of Harrell, “and any college would be lucky to have him.”

Drake Cole’s 55-yard run on the second play from scrimmage was immediately followed by Willie Dodson’s 28-yard touchdown run that allowed the visitors to lead 6-0 52 seconds into the contest. The point-after try was no good, keeping Trail’s deficit at six.

Although Gladwell lost a fumble on the Patriots’ third play that Cruz Testerman recovered to set up Summers at the Trail 8 on its second possession, the Patriots bogged down and came up with a stop on fourth-and-goal at the 3.

“When we have opportunities, we have to score,” Evans said. “That’s the difference.”

Summers, however, made the most of its third possession when 10 consecutive running plays netted 55 yards, the last of which was Coen McClaugherty’s 1-yard plunge into the end zone with 43 seconds left in the first quarter. Summers elected to go for two, but McClaugherty was stopped short on a run, keeping the Bobcats’ lead at 12-0.

“We had nine on the offensive line and that’s hard to stop. We’ve been working on it a few weeks and we thought we could move the ball pretty well on them,” Evans said. “We did in the first half, but we didn’t make of our opportunities.”

Dodson lost a fumble inside Trail’s 30 that the Patriots’ TC Perry recovered in the second quarter. There were three additional second-quarter turnovers, though none that led to points, with Oliveros first intercepting Gladwell, before the Bobcats’ quarterback returned the favor when he was picked by Harrell.

Caden Rhodes also intercepted a Gladwell pass with 14 seconds to play in the opening half, marking the Patriots’ third turnover, compared to the Bobcats’ two, over the first two quarters.

“We didn’t have any energy or do the things we normally do. I don’t know if we were trying too hard or what,” Moore said of the opening half. “I put a lot of pressure on this game and wanted to beat Josh. He’s a good friend of mine and this is one of those games you circle just for personal reasons. That might’ve been on me, but I’m very proud of how resilient they were. Like I told them, ‘an ugly win is better than a pretty loss.’ We can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect to win, but I’m very proud of them.”

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