UPDATED: John Devinney’s late kick leads Doddridge County over Ritchie County, 29-26
WEST UNION – Doddridge County kicker John Devinney felt certain the fourth-quarter field goal he just missed would cost the Bulldogs a victory against Ritchie County. He anxiously paced the sidelines waiting for another chance to give his group a victory.
When the chance came in extra periods, Doddridge County head coach Bobby Burnside never hesitated in sending his kicker back on the field. “I was confident,” he said. “I know people were not. But I see him kick every day and I know from that range how accurate he is,” Burnside said.
His faith was rewarded.
Devinney nailed the 20-yard field goal in double overtime, Doddridge County’s offensive line made a statement, and the Bulldogs walked out with a 29-26 win over Ritchie County in the Route 50 Rivalry Friday night at Cline Stansberry Stadium.
Devinney sent the ball through the uprights kick on fourth-and-goal from the five-yard line. Pandemonium ensued as Doddridge players ran off the field celebrating the victory.
“I just didn’t think. I just did it,” Devinney said on the kick. “It feels great to get that win.”
But it was extra sweet for the junior. It was the second year in a row that the game between the Rebels and Bulldogs came down to a field goal. And a Devinney happened to hit that kick, as well.
DJ Devinney, John’s older brother, connected on a 27-yard kick one year ago helping the Bulldogs to a 9-8 win. And this game was just as exciting, if not more, than last year’s matchup.
Ritchie County had a chance to win the game with 12 seconds left in regulation. Quarterback Ethan Haught drove his team to the Doddridge 27-yard line from his own 24. On the next play, he lofted a high pass towards Gus Morrison in the end zone only for that chance to fall into Bulldog hands.
Brandon Hileman picked off the pass, before Doddridge quarterback Jared Jones sent the game into overtime by taking a knee on the ensuing play. Neither team wasted time in the extra period. They traded scores before Devinney got the call to end things.
“The percentages were in our favor. We had a fourth-and-one stop on defense. We have a kicker and we kick it,” Burnside said.
Devinney got great field position thanks to pounding and punishing running courtesy of the Bulldogs’ offensive line. Overall, Bulldog runners ran 56 times for 249 yards. Fifteen of those stripes came on the game-winning drive.
All Ritchie County could do on the straight-on kick was watch. The Rebels’ Brandon Riddle was stuffed on the fourth-and-1 at the 12 just six plays earlier. And, as the ball sailed through the uprights, the Rebels picked up their first loss of the season. Doddridge County moved to 3-0.
“They just made one more plan than we did,” Ritchie County head coach Rick Haught said.
The ending was a far cry from the beginning of the contest.
Ritchie County spotted its opponents a 14-0 lead before cutting it to 14-12 before halftime. The Rebels missed both conversion tries. But, the setbacks didn’t stop Haught’s group from competing. Riddle gave the team their first lead of the game on a one-yard run with 7:28 left to play in the third quarter.
Given the lead, the Rebel defense played solid ball and forced Doddridge into a punt on the next drive. Yet, they missed a chance to extend the lead on their next drive. Dylan Knight, who ran 32 times for 138 yards, finally knotted things up at 20 all with 1:10 left in the fourth quarter.