PARKERSBURG - Gilmer County fought to the bitter end here Saturday night at Stadium Field, but Parkersburg Catholic held on for a wild 28-21 Little Kanawha Conference victory.
The Crusaders led 14-0 at halftime, but were totally dominated by the Titans in the third quarter as the visitors had the game even at 14 apiece following a Tristan Sparks 13-yard touchdown pass from Austin Cunningham with 10:54 left to play.
However, PCHS got a pair of big plays on senior night from 12th-grade signal-caller Payton Sturm that proved to be the difference makers.
Photo by Jim Butta
Parkersburg Catholic quarterback Payton Sturm calls a play at the line of scrimmage against Gilmer County Saturday. The Crusaders won, 28-21.
Sturm galloped 56 yards to paydirt to give the hosts the lead for good just 2:09 after the Titans had squared the affair. Peter Keiser's third extra point made it 21-14.
On the ensuing drive, Cunningham was picked off by Sturm and he returned it 53 yards to the Titan 31. On a fourth-and-14 play from the 34, Sturm zipped a pass to Nick Roedersheimer, who got behind the defense and scored for what looked like a safe 28-14 advantage with 5:30 remaining.
That didn't turn out to be the case as Cunningham, who hit 18 of 30 passes for 182 yards, engineered a 69-yard scoring march to get the Titans within a touchdown. Sparks capped it with a nifty 4-yard touchdown run.
Parkersburg Catholic 28,
Gilmer County 21
Gilmer (5-4) 0 0 7 14 - 21
Catholic (7-3) 7 7 0 14 - 28
PC: Jake Boice 1 run (Peter Keiser kick) 6:10, 1st
PC: Boice 54 run (Keiser kick) 4:38, 2nd
GC: Tristan Sparks 24 run (Nathan Allison kick) 7:46, 3rd
GC: Sparks 13 pass from Austin Cunningham (Allison kick) 10:54, 4th
PC: Sturm 58 run (Keiser kick) 8:45, 4th
PC: Nick Roedersheimer 34 pass from Sturm (Keiser kick) 5:30, 4th
GC: Sparks 4 run (Allison kick) 2:39, 4th
Gilmer County: First downs: 21; Rushes-yards: 39-249; Passing yards: 182; Total yards: 431; Passing: 18-30-1; Punts-average: 2-35.5; Fumbles-lost: 0-0; Penalties-yards: 16-124
Parkersburg Catholic: First downs: 19; Rushes-yards: 41-294; Passing yards: 91; Total yards: 385; Passing: 6-12-0; Punts-average: 2-39.0; Fumbles-lost: 6-3; Penalties-yards: 9-95
Gilmer County: Rushing: Team 1-(-8), Austin Cunningham 3-6, Tristan Sparks 21-160, Austin Ratlilff 13-89, Nathan Allison 1-2; Passing: Cunningham 18-30-1, 182 yards; Receiving: Sparks 1-13, Ty Harkleroad 3-38, Anthony Dean 1-5, Allison 1-0, Ratliff 12-126
Parkersburg Catholic: Rushing: Team 1-(-4), Payton Sturm 18-126, Jake Boice 13-136, Neal Schriner 1-11, Nick Roedersheimer 5-9, Ryan Schriner 1-13, Kyle Bronski 2-3; Passing: Boice 1-1-0, 14 yards; Sturm 5-11-0, 77 yards; Receiving: Roedersheimer 3-55, Bronski 1-25, Christian Tallman 2-11
Next games: Gilmer County at Valley (Fayette) on Friday; Parkersburg Catholic concluded regular season.
At Steubenville, Ohio
Magnolia 24, Steubenville Catholic 0
Magnolia (5-4) 6 0 12 6 - 24
Steubenville (8-2) 0 0 0 0 - 0
Mag: Drew Keller 1 run (run failed), 3:57, 1st
Mag; Jake Brill 5 run (kick failed), 5:51, 3rd
Mag: Keller 42 run (pass failed), 4:21, 3rd
Mag: Keller 2 run (run failed), 6:13, 4th
NOTE: Magnolia rushed 49 times for 247 yards and all four touchdowns, led by Drew Keller with 37 carries for 187 yards and three TDs
Next games: Oak Glen (0-9) at Magnolia Friday
West Virginia Prep Scores
Bishop Donahue 33, Wheeling Central 32
Magnolia 24, Steubenville Cath. Cent., Ohio 0
Parkersburg Catholic 28, Gilmer County 21
Point Pleasant 50, Oak Glen 0
River View 15, Lincoln County 6
Ohio Prep Scores
Akr. Buchtel 26, Cols. DeSales 16
Akr. Kenmore 12, Akr. East 7
Ashtabula Edgewood 52, Cle. Hts. Lutheran E. 0
Bedford 18, Maple Hts. 0
Chesapeake 38, Ironton Rock Hill 20
Chesterland W. Geauga 27, Beachwood 15
Cin. McNicholas 38, Hamilton Badin 24
Cin. Riverview East 12, Cin. College Prep. 6
Cin. Taft 22, Cin. Hughes 0
Cle. Cent. Cath. 28, Warren JFK 20
Cle. St. Ignatius 35, Pinehurst, Ontario 14
Cle. VASJ 56, Parma Hts. Holy Name 43
Danville 28, Howard E. Knox 0
Eminence, Ky. 30, Cin. Oyler 8
Fairfield Christian 48, Lancaster Fisher Cath. 13
Garfield Hts. Trinity 34, Hudson WRA 0
Gates Mills Gilmour 55, Youngs. Christian 8
Kettering Alter 40, Day. Chaminade Julienne 14
Magnolia, W.Va. 24, Steubenville Cath. Cent. 0
Martins Ferry 22, Bellaire 17
Massillon Washington 34, Can. McKinley 7
Norwalk St. Paul 48, Monroeville 12
Racine Southern 44, Reedsville Eastern 0
Sandusky Perkins 69, Sandusky St. Mary 13
Tol. Waite 41, Tol. Woodward 6
Wooster 56, Orrville 0
Gilmer County, which dropped to 5-4 and heads Friday to Valley (Fayette), failed to recover the onside kick, but got the ball back at its own 25 with no timeouts and 40.6 ticks to go.
Austin Ratliff, who finished with a dozen receptions for 126 yards while also adding 89 rushing yards on 13 attempts, hauled in passes of 24, 4 and 32 yards to set up the final play of the game. Gilmer County had the ball with 3.1 seconds left at the PCHS 15, but a pass in the back corner of the end zone went incomplete.
Sparks rushed for a game-high 160 yards on 21 attempts and his 24-yard touchdown run where he made a pair of Crusader defenders miss behind the line of scrimmage got the Titans on the board at 7:46 of the third.
Jake Boice amassed all but 6 of his team-high 136 ground yards in the first half, where he had 11 of his baker's dozen attempts. Boice gave PCHS its first lead at 6:10 of the first when he scored from the 1 and also added a 54-yard scoring romp 4:38 of the second.
Gilmer County defensive tackle Matthew Montgomery had a pair of stuffs on Boice for negative yardage during the Crusaders' first drive, but PCHS was able to find more success on the edge as the game went on.
Current No. 16 Parkersburg Catholic, which hopes its 7-3 regular season will be enough to earn a Class A playoff berth, had six fumbles and lost three. That included one which went out of the end zone for a touchback. Sparks and Ty Harkleroad, who had three receptions for 38 yards, each had a fumble recovery.
Gilmer County, which won the total yards battle 431-385, was flagged 16 times for 124 yards. PCHS, which lost junior lineman Evan Summers to a leg injury on the Sturm interception return, committed nine penalties for 95 yards. Sturm hit 5 of 11 aerials for 77 yards and added 126 rushing yards on 18 attempts. Roedersheimer (3-55) was his top target.
Steubenville Catholic 0
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - Visiting Magnolia stayed alive for a Class A playoff berth here Saturday night with a 24-0 shutout of Steubenville Catholic.
The now 5-4 Blue Eagles were sparked by Drew Keller, who rushed 37 times for 187 yards and three of the four Magnolia touchdowns from one, 42 and two yards out.
In all, the 18th-ranked Blue Eagles turned 49 carries into 247 yards and all four scores.
On Friday, Oak Glen (0-9) is at Magnolia with the Blue Eagles needing a win to hopefully secure a spot in the West Virginia playoffs.