ELIZABETH - Hunter McCoy's fumble recovery at the end of the game here Friday night at Wilson-Eismon Field capped off host Wirt County's 55-12 victory against Calhoun County in a battle of Little Kanawha Conference Class A rivals.
Calhoun County second-year head coach Michael Fitzwater's squad picked off orange and black signal-caller Josh Trembly thrice in the first half and Red Devil Cameron Jones had a fumble recovery, but the boys from Mt. Zion still trailed 28-6 at intermission.
Despite getting a pair of big gains from Mason Sheldon of 42 and 43 yards on the first series of the second half, which led to Logan Moore's second 1-yard rushing TD, the Red Devils never got any closer than 28-12 at 9:25 of the third.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Wirt County's Jake Linville struggles for yardage against Calhoun County's Luke Wilson, Trent Phillips and Andrew Satterfield Friday. The Tigers won, 55-12.
However, the story of the night turned out to be the defense for the No. 10 Tigers, who improved to 6-2 and now plays host to Roane County next Friday night.
Trembly's 1-yard TD run that capped the opening series of the game gave the hosts an early 7-0 cushion following Chad Moore's extra point. Wirt County appeared to be clicking on all cylinders after Trembly hit Jon Cain on a 63-yard pass and Gavin Goodnight later dashed in the final 10 yards for a 14-0 lead at 6:21 of the first.
The Red Devils, now 2-7 with a road game at Clay County next Friday to end the year, had the ball in the red zone three times in the first half and failed to come away with any points. Just before intermission with the Tigers up 28-6, Trembly was picked off for the second time in the half by Cole Ritchie when the hosts started a drive with 1:58 showing on the clock and the ball at their own 20.
Calhoun County failed to get into the end zone that time or on the first Ritchie interception. Jones' fumble recovery led to the first Moore 1-yard TD at 11:01 of the second, which made it 14-6. David Overbay's interception of Trembly was wasted when Moore was picked off on a drive that started in the red zone on the ensuing play by Cain, who had four catches for 79 yards.
Goodnight's 20-yard scoring jaunt midway through the second made it 21-6 and JT Stephens hauled in a 17-yard scoring pass from Trembly, which gave the Tigers a 22-point cushion at the break.
After it was 28-12, the Tigers answered with a Damian Rhodes 2-yard TD run. Austin McVey and Stephens, who had three catches for 83 yards, had key receptions on the drive of 23 and 31 stripes, respectively.
Stephens' 35-yard TD reception from Trembly put Calhoun County in a 42-12 hole and it only got worse as Moore was picked off on the next Red Devil play by Trent Hardbarger, which led to a 6-yard Cain TD run. Trembly, who had a key 16-yard first down scamper on fourth-and-15 from the Red Devil 31 to keep the Tigers' game-opening drive alive, scored from the 4 just seven ticks into the fourth to account for the final six-pointer.
Jake Linville (8-71), Trembly (9-61) and Cody Ferguson (6-51) paced the ground game. Trembly hit 11 of 20 passes for 206 yards.
The Tigers, who lost linebacker Justin Joy to injury, watched Sheldon go for 86 ground yards on four attempts. Moore rushed 18 times for 27 yards and completed six passes for 94 yards. Sheldon and Andrew Satterfield combined for four catches, covering 87 yards.