PARKERSBURG - After being scoreless at the half and 7-6 in Parkersburg Catholic's favor after three quarters, the outcome of Saturday afternoon's Class A matchup at Stadium Field featuring the host Crusaders and Doddridge County came down to the final period.
Catholic recovered a Bulldog fumble with 4:18 to play at the Crusader 48 and quarterback Payton Sturm quickly put PC in position to score, bursting through a hole and speeding 35 yards to the Doddridge 17. Two plays later from the 11, Jake Boice reached the 2, then put his hand down to steady himself and spun into the end zone for a touchdown with just 3:07 remaining.
And when the Bulldogs were assessed a penalty on the play, putting the ball at the 1 for the conversion, Catholic head coach Jeff Campbell opted for a two-point try with Sturm slamming across on a run, making it a two-possession game at 15-6.
Parkersburg Catholic’s Ryan Schriner uses a stiff arm before making a spin move as he tries to avoid Doddridge County’s Brandon Stewart on Saturday afternoon at Stadium Field. (Photo by Jay W. Bennett)
Then Doddridge, hamstrung by the fading clock, moved down the field mainly via the pass, although backup QB Christian Arbogast scrambled for 17 yards to the Crusader 13 with 30 seconds left. From the 9 with only 20 ticks to go, PC's Nick Roedersheimer tipped away a pass at the 1 before intercepting on the next play at the goal line and running it out to the 15 as time ran out on the Bulldogs.
Both teams were 4-1 and tied for the 15th position in last week's WVSSAC Class A ratings, but neither could muster up any points in the first half.
Catholic thwarted an early Doddridge threat after David Lipscomb recovered a Crusader fumble at the Bulldog 44 at 7:12 of the first quarter. Jarrod Sandy rambled 23 yards to the PC 9 to get Doddridge on the threshold, but on 4th down from the 6, he was gang-tackled for only a yard gain to put a stop to the opportunity at 1:19 of the first.
In the second stanza for PC, Sturm scrambled 34 yards to Bulldog 27 with 7.3 seconds left until halftime. But two plays later, he was tripped up at the 19 to end the half 0-0.
In the third quarter, Catholic drove 54 yards to go up 7-0 at the 7:43 mark. Boice threw an 18-yard pass to Roedersheimer to the Doddridge 41, then ran 16 yards to the 25. Sturm's 12-yard pass over the middle to Neal Schriner put the ball at the 11, from where Boice banged up the middle to paydirt and Peter Keiser booted the PAT.
Doddridge's Zach Cottrill returned the ensuing kickoff out to the 50, from where the Bulldogs began a TD march of their own. Lipscomb, on a quarterback keeper, gained 11 to the Catholic 23, then passed to Ryan Haas for eight to the 14. And when Doddridge faced a 4th-and-8 at the 12, Lipscomb found Haas again, this time on a slant pass for the six-pointer at 1:41 of the third.
On the conversion though, Lipscomb was looking to pass, but couldn't run away from Catholic's Christian Hushion, who tackled the Bulldog signal-caller to keep the Crusaders ahead 7-6.
Right at the end of the third quarter Saturday, Doddridge junior linebacker Austin Shaffer was injured on a play and suffered a concussion, according to Bulldog head coach Bobby Burnside.
Despite the loss, Burnside said his team "played to the end as they've done all year regardless. Today, it was down to the last second. We played well, but just came up short today."