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Park Stuffed in Overtime

Patriots can’t convert on two short-yardage attempts

November 12, 2011
By RICK THORP - Staff Writer (rthorp@news-register.net) , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

ONA - They say football is many times a game of inches. That was proven at Cabell Midland High School on Friday.

Wheeling Park failed to convert on third-and-inches and fourth-and-inches at the 11 in overtime and Cabell Midland came away with a 27-24 triumph in a classic West Virginia Class AAA first-round playoff contest.

''This is just a heartbreaker for our team,'' Wheeling Park coach Chris Daugherty said in a disappointed Patriots locker room. ''This team has come a long way. I'm proud of our kids and coaches.

Article Photos

Bryce Ingram and Wheeling Park fell in overtime to Cabell Midland.

''I guess when you get in an overtime the winner will be happy and the loser will hurt. And this hurts.''

Park won the toss to start overtime, but decided to play defense first. Opening at the 20, the Knights (8-3) gained a yard on an Andy Thomas carry.

On second down, quarterback Stephen Hamer scrambled for 5 yards. Then, on third-and-4, Hamer tried to throw to his right, but his pass fell incomplete.

Chris Molina then came in and lined up for a 31-yard field-goal attempt.

Molina, who had already hit from 32 yards in the third quarter, had little trouble with the kick, which gave the Knights the lead.

On Park's first play of overtime, quarterback Lee Peluchette tried to hit Boo Lathon, but his pass fell incomplete. On second down, Peluchette went to Lathon again, this time completing the pass and picking up 9 yards.

On third and what seemed to be mere inches, Peluchette handed off to Lee Mendenhall, who barreled up the middle, but was met by a bevy of Knights. Facing fourth-and-inches, and with no timeouts, Daugherty had to make a quick decision.

''It was 1 yard and we'll take our chances,'' Daugherty said. ''I'm sure there's people out there who think you kick a field goal, but hindsight's 20-20.

''I'd go for it again, to tell you the truth. I thought we'd get that yard.''

Park didn't. Mendenhall was again met at the line of scrimmage by the Knights.

The officials brought out the chains to measure. At first, Park players gave indications it was a first down. But when officials set the markers down, Cabell Midland players rejoiced, rushing the field in celebration.

''They made a play when it mattered,'' Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons said of his defense, which will visit Bridgeport next week.

''If they get that, they might score and win.''

The Patriots tried to draw the Knights offside on the play, but no one bit.

''They did a good job defensively,'' Daugherty said. ''We were about 3 inches from potentially winning the game.''

Park staged a tremendous rally just to force overtime.

Cabell Midland scored on a 5-yard run by Hamer with 4 minutes left giving the Knights a 24-17 lead.

Alex Triveri's excellent kickoff return gave the Patriots great field position at their 44 to start the drive.

Park drove to the Cabell Midland 21. And on third-and-4 Peluchette hooked up with a leaping Lathon in the left corner of the end zone for the score that made it 24-23.

Matt Carter, who made a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter, converted the extra point to tie the game.

The key play on the drive came with Park facing a fourth-and-10 at the Knights 42.

Peluchette scrambled and found Vondel Bell for 15 yards and a first down.

Daugherty said the play was symbolic of his team's never-say-die effort all season, and especially during the team's recent four-game winning streak.

''Our kids kept battling and they have all year,'' he said. ''When we were 0-2, we knew the kids' effort was there. They cared. And that's why we were a hair away from making the West Virginia quarterfinals.''

Park opened the scoring in the second quarter as Lathon emerged wide open down the sideline and Peluchette hit him from 43 yards out and a 7-0 lead.

Carter's field goal later in the quarter made the score 10-0 before Andy Thomas brought the Knights to within 10-7 on a 1-yard run late in the quarter.

Midway through the third quarter, Molina's 32-yard field goal knotted the game at 10-10. And on the Knights' next series, Cody Carter exploded through the middle of the field for a 66-yard touchdown that gave the hosts a 17-10 lead.

Park tied the game at 17-17 on Bryce Ingram's 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

Peluchette finished his prep career by throwing for 216 yards, 133 of which went to Lathon.

By RICK THORP

Staff Writer

ONA - They say football is many times a game of inches. That was proven at Cabell Midland High School on Friday.

Wheeling Park failed to convert on third-and-inches and fourth-and-inches at the 11 in overtime and Cabell Midland came away with a 27-24 triumph in a classic West Virginia Class AAA first-round playoff contest.

''This is just a heartbreaker for our team,'' Wheeling Park coach Chris Daugherty said in a disappointed Patriots locker room. ''This team has come a long way. I'm proud of our kids and coaches.

''I guess when you get in an overtime the winner will be happy and the loser will hurt. And this hurts.''

Park won the toss to start overtime, but decided to play defense first. Opening at the 20, the Knights (8-3) gained a yard on an Andy Thomas carry.

On second down, quarterback Stephen Hamer scrambled for 5 yards. Then, on third-and-4, Hamer tried to throw to his right, but his pass fell incomplete.

Chris Molina then came in and lined up for a 31-yard field-goal attempt.

Molina, who had already hit from 32 yards in the third quarter, had little trouble with the kick, which gave the Knights the lead.

On Park's first play of overtime, quarterback Lee Peluchette tried to hit Boo Lathon, but his pass fell incomplete. On second down, Peluchette went to Lathon again, this time completing the pass and picking up 9 yards.

On third and what seemed to be mere inches, Peluchette handed off to Lee Mendenhall, who barreled up the middle, but was met by a bevy of Knights. Facing fourth-and-inches, and with no timeouts, Daugherty had to make a quick decision.

''It was 1 yard and we'll take our chances,'' Daugherty said. ''I'm sure there's people out there who think you kick a field goal, but hindsight's 20-20.

''I'd go for it again, to tell you the truth. I thought we'd get that yard.''

Park didn't. Mendenhall was again met at the line of scrimmage by the Knights.

The officials brought out the chains to measure. At first, Park players gave indications it was a first down. But when officials set the markers down, Cabell Midland players rejoiced, rushing the field in celebration.

''They made a play when it mattered,'' Cabell Midland coach Luke Salmons said of his defense, which will visit Bridgeport next week.

''If they get that, they might score and win.''

The Patriots tried to draw the Knights offside on the play, but no one bit.

''They did a good job defensively,'' Daugherty said. ''We were about 3 inches from potentially winning the game.''

Park staged a tremendous rally just to force overtime.

Cabell Midland scored on a 5-yard run by Hamer with 4 minutes left giving the Knights a 24-17 lead.

Alex Triveri's excellent kickoff return gave the Patriots great field position at their 44 to start the drive.

Park drove to the Cabell Midland 21. And on third-and-4 Peluchette hooked up with a leaping Lathon in the left corner of the end zone for the score that made it 24-23.

Matt Carter, who made a 31-yard field goal in the first quarter, converted the extra point to tie the game.

The key play on the drive came with Park facing a fourth-and-10 at the Knights 42.

Peluchette scrambled and found Vondel Bell for 15 yards and a first down.

Daugherty said the play was symbolic of his team's never-say-die effort all season, and especially during the team's recent four-game winning streak.

''Our kids kept battling and they have all year,'' he said. ''When we were 0-2, we knew the kids' effort was there. They cared. And that's why we were a hair away from making the West Virginia quarterfinals.''

Park opened the scoring in the second quarter as Lathon emerged wide open down the sideline and Peluchette hit him from 43 yards out and a 7-0 lead.

Carter's field goal later in the quarter made the score 10-0 before Andy Thomas brought the Knights to within 10-7 on a 1-yard run late in the quarter.

Midway through the third quarter, Molina's 32-yard field goal knotted the game at 10-10. And on the Knights' next series, Cody Carter exploded through the middle of the field for a 66-yard touchdown that gave the hosts a 17-10 lead.

Park tied the game at 17-17 on Bryce Ingram's 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

Peluchette finished his prep career by throwing for 216 yards, 133 of which went to Lathon.

 
 

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