ST. MARYS - Facing an 0-2 start, Wirt County tallied 28 points over the final seven minutes of the game for a 35-22 come-from-behind win over St. Marys in a battle of Little Kanawha Conference rivals Friday night at Imlay Field.
"With us, it's all about pushing the tempo," explained Wirt County head coach Jason Hickman. "We kind of figured if we could keep the pressure on then we could make some things happen."
And, something happened is right at the Tigers, now 1-1 with a road game at Gilmer County next Friday night, dug themselves into a 22-7 hole on a Andrew Cosper 1-yard plunge -- his second one yard score of the night - with 14 seconds left in the third quarter.
Still trailing by three scores with only 9:15 left in the game, Wirt County finally got the tempo it wanted as senior running back Jake Linville bulled in from 2-yards out to culminate a 7-play drive and pull the visitors to within nine, 22-13, with 6:58 left in the game.
That would only prove to be the start, however, as the Tigers were back in business four plays later. This time sophomore quarterback Josh Trembly connected on 5-of-6 attempts - the final one going to Gavin Goodnight for a 17-yard touchdown to pull the guests to within three, 22-19. Chad Moore's second PAT sliced the margin to two with 2:16 left in the contest.
But with St. Marys needing only to run out the clock to preserve its second victory of the season the Tigers elected to go for the onside kick. Linville, who finished with 49 yards on 11 carries, came up with the lose ball to give the Tigers one last chance for victory.
Trembly, who completed 13-of-28 attempts for 208 yards, connected with J.T. Stephens for a 31-yard gain to the St. Marys one with 2:20 showing on the clock and then Linville pushed the Tigers into the lead for good with his third touchdown of the night on the very next play.
Now trailing for the first time since the 1:27 mark of the first half, St. Marys tried to get its offense untracked, but four straight incomplete passes returned the ball to the Tigers at the St. Marys 33 with 1:37 left in the game.
Junior Damien Rhodes then put the icing on the Tigers' comeback with a 33-yard touchdown run to close out the scoring with 1:27 left in the game.
"After last week's disappointing loss, this was huge for us," continued Hickman. "Playing teams like Moorefield and St. Marys back-to-back on the road is a tough way to start the season."
For St. Marys, which takes on Parkersburg Catholic next Saturday at Stadium Field, Spitzer was the offensive star, finishing with a game-high 127 yards on 17 carries before leaving the game in the final seconds.