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Patriots hold on to edge Monarchs

Parkersburg South’s Robert Shockey (4) carries the ball during a high school football game against John Marshall Friday night at Erickson All-Sports Facility. (Photo by Josh Hughes)

PARKERSBURG –Senior Night at the Erickson All-Sports Facility had everything. When the dust cleared, Parkersburg South came away with a 28-25 thriller over John Marshall. Anyone with a football bingo card could fill out plenty of spaces, as the Monarchs and Patriots found several ways to move the ball and also score. South’s defense was pressed into long periods of service, but it stood tall when it mattered most. After South took a 28-17 lead off a 1-yard run from Robert Shockey to end the third, quarterback Jacob Coffield and the visiting Monarchs scored off a 12-play drive which ate up over half of the fourth quarter clock. However, JMHS took a risk and tried an onside recovered by the Monarchs’ Wesley Hughes.

From there, the Monarchs took even more time off the clock and marched down the field from the South 40. A bevy of small runs from Coffield and running back Klypson Wallace pushed the visitors into field goal range. Then, Connor Fitzpatrick, who previously nailed a 30-yard kick and missed a chip shot 23-yarder, was called on to tie the game. The field conditions at the Erickson made kicking more difficult than usual, as Fitzpatrick clanged the kick off the left upright where it caromed into the end zone. With less two and a half minutes left, Shockey and offense ran the clock out to improve to 3-2.

Gage Wright was South’s heaviest hitter and biggest contributor. A 59-yard fumble recovery scoop and score during JM’s opening drive marked South’s first defensive touchdown since 2019, and it gave the Pats a 6-0 edge. He also intercepted a pass with little time remaining in the first half to end a John Marshall scoring threat. Following a 1-yard Wallace touchdown with 6:10 left in the opening frame to make it 7-6, South responded with another peculiar score. With 1:29 to go in the first, Coffield, who is also the team’s punter, couldn’t field a punt a yard deep in his own end zone that was snapped over his head. That led to a PSHS safety and an 8-7 advantage. That was just the second lead change of the game, but fans in attendance needed to buckle up for seven in total. The Patriots did lose the turnover battle, 3-2, and the turnover bug struck again with a few minutes gone by in the second quarter. Brennan Sobutka picked off a Shockey pass which led to a DiMario Wite 24-yard touchdown catch with 6:16 left in the half.

Cyrus Traugh responded on the ensuing drive with a 8-yard rush to reclaim the lead at 15-14 with just 2:35 until the break. That previously mentioned Fitzpatrick make from 30 yards away made it 17-15 for John Marshall, as South had to keep pushing as a result.

Shockey found Traugh in open space where he streaked down the sideline for a 62-yard touchdown reception with 3:23 left on the third-quarter clock. After that, back and forth action ensued, as South gutted out the win with a road game against Bridgeport on the horizon for next week.

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