ST. MARYS -Knowing what's coming and stopping it are two entirely different things.
Just ask the St. Marys Blue Devils.
Last week, the Wirt County Tigers used a late-game slant pass to score with less than two minutes to play to win. Fast forward to Friday and the Tigers did it again.
Photo by Jody Murphy
Wirt County’s Dalton Brindo tries to find running room in the first half of the Tigers game at St. Marys Friday. The Tigers won, 14-13.
Quarterback Taylor Campbell connected with Dalton Brindo on a 33-yard touchdown pass with :24 seconds left for a game-tying touchdown.
Alex Trembly's extra point provided the difference as Wirt County pulled out a thrilling 14-13 win at St. Marys.
Brindo ran for 53 yards, threw for 107 yards and had another 50 yards receiving to lead the Tigers to a 2-0 start. Brindo moved to quarterback to start the second half, replacing Campbell. Wirt coach Jason Hickman said the move was no reflection on Campbell.
"We were trying to change things up," he said.
After playing to a scoreless tie, the Tigers went to their version of the wildcat using Brindo at quarterback. The move worked as the Tigers were able to answer a St. Marys touchdown with one of their own - a 3-yard run by Brindo. The score was set up by Brindo's 70-yard pass to a wide open Dylan Wager, who made it to the Blue Devil 5.
St. Marys answered on the ensuing possession, grinding out a 73-yard scoring drive. Wirt's defense appeared to have things in hand, before Dylan Brizendine hauled in an over-the-shoulder catch from quarterback K.D. Arnett to give St. Marys a 35-yard gain and re-ignite the Blue Devils. C.D. Cox carried St. Marys the remaining 35 yards to the end zone - on nine straight plays - eventually finding paydirt on a 3-yard plunge with 1:37 to play. The score gave St. Marys a late lead and sent a wave of relief - albeit short-lived - through the Blue Devils fans.
Poor special teams play that plagued the Blue Devils last week, struck again as the PAT failed, giving Wirt hope for a win.
"The missed kick gave us some momentum," Hickman said.
Forced out of the wildcat, Campbell went back in under center to run the spread.
After three incomplete passes, he hit Brindo for 17 yards and a first down to keep Wirt's hopes alive.
Four plays later, Campbell and Brindo hooked up on slant pass play to knot the game.
Campbell completed just three passes on the night - all on the Tigers' game-winning drive.
Cox led St. Marys with a game-high 90 yards rushing, 65 yards in the second half.
The victory was Wirt's first over St. Marys since 1988.
The Tigers' celebration was marred by a post-game injury to junior lineman Lane Boyce, who suffered what coaches described as "stinger-type injury." Boyce lay on the ground as his teammates celebrated the win.
He complained of numbness in his extremities. He was placed on a backboard, placed into an ambulance and taken to a hospital.
Hickman said the measure was precautionary.
St. Marys coach Jodi Mote was not at the game. St. Marys athletics director Denny Venderlic, a long time assistant coach, served as head coach.
St. Marys High School principal Mike Wells said he could not comment as to why Mote and assistant coach Jeff Sole were not on the sidelines.
Sources within the football program said the two coaches were serving a suspension as a result of a recent internet video that showed Mote and the team burning a Ritchie County High School T-shirt in the team's lockerroom.