Panthers turn away Warriors: Tug Valley stops 2-point conversion in closing seconds
NAUGATUCK, W.Va. — The difference in Tug Valley advancing or being eliminated from the post-season playoff was a single yard.
Defensive end Kyle Sturgell stopped Pocahontas County quarterback Briar Wilfong on a two-point conversion run with 48 seconds left to preserve a thrilling 30-29, come-from-behind win in the Class A playoff opener played at Bob Brewer Field on Nov. 11.
Wilfong had pulled the Warriors (7-4) to within one on a four-yard touchdown run prior to the conversion attempt.
The Panthers, now 10-1, recovered the ensuing onside kick and were able to run out the clock.
Tug Valley took its first lead of the game on the opening drive of the second half. Running back Jonathan Blankenship raced 20 yards and then ran in the conversion to make it 22-20 with 9 minutes, 51 seconds left.
Blankenship followed with a 77-yard run with 6:14 remaining in the quarter and Noah Lucas added the conversion to push the lead to 30-20. Blankenship finished with 231 yards on 25 carries.
Pocahontas County closed to within 30-23 on Dillion Shinaberry's 21-yard field goal heading into the final 12 minutes. Tug Valley had pulled within six at halftime on Lucas' five-yard run with 51 seconds remaining before the break. Chris Ellis ran in the conversion to make it 20-14. Ellis had 116 yards on nine rushing attempts.
The Warriors had built a 20-6 lead as Shane Peacock capped the opening series of the game with a six-yard run. Sharp then added a 14-yard TD run after Tug Valley's Ellis scored on a one-yard run, set up by Lucas' big run on the prior play.
Tug Valley will host St. Marys (9-1) tonight in the state quarterfinals.
At Naugatuck, W.Va.
(Class A playoffs)
SCORE BY QUARTERS:
PC (7-4)….....................................14 6 3 6 – 29
TV (10-1)…...................................6 8 16 0 – 30
PC – Shane Peacock, 6-yard run (Dillion Shinaberry kick)
TV – Chris Ellis, 1-yard run (run failed)
PC – Shane Peacock, 14-yard run (Dillion Shinaberry)
PC – PC – James Sharp, 6-yard pass from Briar Wilfong (kick blocked)
TV – Noah Lucas, 5-yard run (Chris Ellis run)
TV – Jonathan Blankenship, 20-yard run (Jonathan Blankenship run)
TV – Jonathan Blankenship, 77-yard run (Noah Lucas run)
PC – Dillion Shinaberry, 21-yard field goal
PC – Briar Wilfong, 4-yard run (run failed)
Next up: Tug Valley (10-1) vs. St. Marys (9-1), 7:30 p.m., Nov. 17.