PARKERSBURG - Chandler Lang didn't claim to have the best arm on the Ohio squad for Friday night's Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis Football Classic played at Parkersburg High School's Stadium Field.
On the other hand, the senior from Fort Frye High School may have possessed the best quickness after rushing for two touchdowns in Ohio's 18-15 victory against West Virginia. Lang also intercepted a pass midway in the fourth quarter which set up his go-ahead touchdown run from 3 yards with 5:53 remaining.
From the day Lang set foot on the field for Ohio's first practice he didn't expect to receive the Most Valuable Player award for his team.
Photos by Jeff Baughan
Ohio's Chandler Lang runs for yardage during Friday's BACF Football Classic at Stadium Field as West Virginia's Tyler Davis attempts to make the tackle.
"I looked at our athletes and I didn't think I would be MVP of our team at all," said Lang, who also found the end zone with a run from 2 yards late in the first half. "I thought we were loaded with athletes. I wasn't seeing it."
Lang also was credited with tacking on a pair of insurance points after scoring his second touchdown. Clinging to a 16-15 lead, Lang took the snap from center and rolled to his right as if he were going to run the option. All of a sudden, he stopped in his tracks and shoveled a pass to Damon Jones alone in the end zone for the two-point conversion.
"I did want to run it in, but I saw everybody come off their man, so I kind of baited them in a little bit," Lang said. "Then I threw it right in behind them."
From the get-go, Lang made an impact when West Virginia elected to kick to his side of the field on the game's opening kickoff. The player wearing uniform No. 11 returned it 54 yards to the West Virginia 35. Lang would not receive a sniff at another kickoff the rest of the night.
"West Virginia's competitors too and they have to do what they got to do for the win," said Lang, who plans to attend Washington State Community College in the fall to major in mechanical engineering. "Tonight's win was not a bad way to end my football career."
On the West Virginia sidelines, Parkersburg South's Cody Smith received MVP honors for scoring the first touchdown of the night on a 1-yard run and finishing second on the club with 49 yards rushing on 12 carries. For the game, West Virginia rushed 62 times for 180 yards.
"That just shows how good our offensive line was and the way we had the opportunity to run the ball all night," Smith said. "Plus, we had a bunch of guys who could run the ball. We didn't actually succeed this time, but we had a chance."
Ohio had the makings of putting the first points on the board. After Lang's lengthy kickoff return, Ohio moved the ball 26 yards to the West Virginia 9 in a span of six plays. On the seventh and final play of the drive, Lang dropped back to pass and Smith stepped in front of the intended receiver and recorded the interception just in front of the goal line to preserve the shutout.
West Virginia eventually built a 15-0 lead before Ohio scored 18 unanswered points.
"I just read the quarterback's eyes - my defensive line and the rest of the guys around me played their assignment well," Smith said. "It just happened to fall in my hands."