CHARLESTON - Trailing 28-17 after three quarters, the North rallied for a game-tying 11 points to send the North-South Football Classic into overtime, where the South prevailed 36-28 Saturday night at Laidley Field.
The North, which held leads in the game of 7-0, 14-8 and then 17-14 at the half, cut the gap on a 24-yard field goal by Matt Carter of Wheeling Park at 10:49 of the fourth period, then drove 84 yards in 2:57 after taking possession with just 3:03 left in regulation to knot the score at 28 at the 5.4-second mark.
Parkersburg High's Jeremy Bell caught a 13-yard pass from North MVP Brandon Ashenfelter of Martinsburg in the clutch drive to paydirt, culminating on 3rd-and-15 from the South 19 when Ashenfelter had to scramble to the left, but found Magnolia's Jayson Keller in the end zone to bring the visitors within two.
''I got a fake out of the backfield and just kind of ran out and then he found me for the TD - that's when my heart really started beating,'' said Keller.
On the ensuing two-point conversion, a holding penalty at the 3 on an Ashenfelter run pushed the North back to the 13 for another try and this time, Wirt County's Dalton Brindo got behind two defenders along the left sideline of the end zone, then used his 6-3 frame to outleap them for an aerial from quarterback Eric Roberts of Point Pleasant.
But Brindo actually scored on the play before as one official on the goal line signaled touchdown. ''Brandon made a heck of a play right there, flipping that ball to me when he was getting thrown down by like five people and I caught that, but then they said there was a holding penalty,'' said Brindo. ''And then right after that, I caught that one over those two kids in the end zone to get it again.''
W.Va. North-South Football Classic
At Laidley Field, Charleston
South 36, North 28 (OT)
North 7 10 0 11 0 - 28
South 8 6 14 0 8 - 36
N: Luey Richardson (Moorefield) 47 run (Matt Carter, Wheeling Park, kick) 4:28, 1st
S: Joe Street (Logan) 6 run (Zack Whitten, Lincoln County, run) 2:54, 1st
N: Dylan Cottrell (Roane County) 3 run (M. Carter kick) 4:17, 2nd
S: Cody Carter (Cabell Midland) 65 pass from Cam Roam (Spring Valley) kick blocked, 2:19, 2nd
N: M. Carter 41 field goal, 0:21, 2nd
S: David Toney (Logan) 25 run (run failed) 8:59, 3rd
S: C. Carter 50 run (Whitten run) 3:34, 3rd
N: M. Carter 24 field goal, 10:49, 4th
N: Jayson Keller (Magnolia) 19 pass from Brandon Ashenfelter (Martinsburg), (Dalton Brindo, Wirt County, pass from Eric Roberts, Point Pleasant) 0:05.4, 4th
S: Street 7 run (Whitten run) OT
North - First downs: 23, Rushes-yards: 38-165, Passing yards: 245, Total yards: 410, Passing: 16-34-1, Fumbles-lost: 0-0, Punts-average: 4-34.8, Penalities-yards: 14-118
South - First downs: 25, Rushes-yards: 37-252, Passing yards: 291, Total yards: 543, Passing: 18-34-2, Fumbles-lost: 2-1, Punts-average: 2-32.5, Penalities-yards: 13-105
North - Rushing: Luey Richardson 6-75, TD; Brandon Ashenfelter 14-36, Tim Faulkner (Brooke) 7-35, Dylan Cottrell 7-12, TD; Passing: Ashenfelter 12-25-1, 174 yards, TD; Eric Roberts 4-9-0, 71 yards; Receiving: Boo Lathon (Wheeling Park) 4-90, Dalton Brindo 3-74, Lucas McDowell (Oak Glen) 3-36, Dylan Cotttell 3-11, Jayson Keller 1-19, TD; Jeremy Bell (Parkersburg) 1-13
South - Rushing: Joe Street 13-76, 2 TDs; Zack Whitten 13-64, Cody Carter 1-50, TD; David Toney 3-42, TD; Cam Roam 3-10; Passing: Roam 12-20-1, 215 yards, TD; Jacob Muncy (River View) 6-13-0, 76 yards; Receiving: Toquan Hayes (Huntington) 6-124, Malik Hampton (George Washington) 5-56, Travis Wong (Riverside) 3-34, Cody Carter 1-65, TD
In overtime though, the South had the ball first and scored on a 7-yard run by Logan's Joe Street, followed Lincoln County's Zack Whitten plowing in for the two-point conversion.
The North started strong on its OT possession, getting a 15-yard sweep to the left by Brooke's Tim Faulkner to the 5. But then it came down to fourth-and-goal at the 8, with the South's Austin Rosencrance (George Washington) and Nick Rice (Hurricane) teaming up to sack a scrambling Ashenfelter inside the 10 to end the game.
Roane County's Dylan Cottrell scored on a 3-yard sweep, cutting up inside and into the end zone at 4:17 of the second quarter as the North took a 14-8 lead.
But Cabell Midland's Cody Carter, the South MVP, responded by snagging a 65-yard touchdown pass just less than two minutes later, then added a 50-yard TD dash after eluding two tacklers in the backfield to cap a 14-0 third quarter for the South squad.
In fact, the only North scoring after Cottrell's TD until the fourth quarter was a 41-yard field goal by Matt Carter with 21 seconds left in the first half for its three-point lead at intermission.
''We played our hearts out, that's all we could ask for,'' said Brindo. ''It was an honor to play in this game with all these great players on both sides. It was an incredible experience.''
North head coach Tony Filberto from Oak Glen said, ''It was a tough one to lose, but it was a great game. Two teams with only five days of practice sure looked like they were veteran teams out there playing well on both sides.''
He said his North team ''showed a lot of composure, showed a lot of mental toughness, hung in there and pushed it here at the end and got us back in the football game. Unfortunately, we lost in overtime.''