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FOOTBALL: South Is Too Much for Linsly

Strong start keys Patriots

September 1, 2012
By RICK THORP - Staff Writer ( , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BETHANY - Parkersburg South coach Jon Bolen wanted his team to start strong Friday night.

He got that.

Bolen also wanted his team to finish strong.

He didn't get that.

But what the veteran Patriots mentor got in the opening minutes was enough to outweigh the lack of production in the second half and South held off Linsly, 33-19, in a rare prep football contest at Bison Stadium.

Just like last week, in a season-opening victory against Ripley, the Patriots jumped out of the gate like gangbusters. It took the them eight plays to build a 19-0 lead with almost six minutes elapsed in the first quarter.

And just like last week, Bolen watched his team's lead evaporate in the second half only to hang on.

Still, despite the circumstances, 2-0 sounds pretty good heading into a Week 3 tussle against highly touted Morgantown at Pony Lewis Field.

''We played hard,'' Bolen said. ''Tyler (Bolen) threw the ball great, Jordan (Quiocho) ran the ball great. Overall, it was a great job.''

Tyler Bolen finished with 239 yards and two touchdowns - all in the first half. Quiocho finished with 108 yards and a score on the ground, while teammate Cody Hively wasn't far behind, finishing with 104 yards and two scores.

Throw in Johnson, who caught two passes for 89 yards and a touchdown, and the Patriots have the makings of a squad that could be playing at Wheeling Island Stadium on Dec. 1 if they can stay healthy.

South, already without a few key components due to injury, received a few more bumps and bruises Friday night further depleting a veteran roster that doesn't have a lot of depth as it is.

''We quit throwing a lot in the second half,'' Coach Bolen said. ''Tyler (Bolen) was getting beat up.

''Yes, I'm concerned about our play thus far in the second half. I probably got a little too conservative. But, again, Tyler was getting beat down.''

Johnson hauled in a TD strike from Tyler Bolen two plays into the game. And when Quiocho and Cody Hively added scoring jaunts of 60 and 30 yards, respectively, a short time later, it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Cadets.

''We had an emotional letdown at the beginning for whatever reason,'' said Linsly coach B.J. Depew, who watched his team's 11-game winning streak end.

Kalib Winters scored on a 2-yard run late in the first quarter to draw Linsly to within 19-6. But Hively scored on an 8-yard scamper as the second quarter began and Quiocho hauled in a ''Hail Mary'' strike from Tyler Bolen as the first half ended to bump the lead back up to 33-6.

Instead of folding, the Cadets did what they did in last week - rally.

Chinelo Oparanozie started the second half with a bang - busting through for an 80-yard score before the fans even had a chance to take their seats.

And after holding South on fourth down at its 14, Linsly started a long drive of its own.

The Cadets marched inside the Patriots 20 before falling short on fourth down by a yard.

Two possessions later, however, Oparanozie collected 28 of his game-high 203 yards on a five-play drive he capped with a 1-yard score that made the score 33-19 with 9:23 remaining in the game.

''Chinelo didn't have to carry us, but again he had to spark us,'' Depew said. ''Last week, he sparked us and put the entire team on his back and the offense started clicking because of it.

''(Friday), it gave us a reason to believe and other people came to play. I was proud of our team in how we responded to the adversity.''

Linsly drove deep inside South territory later in the quarter, but a Jameson Murray pass was intercepted by Quiocho inside the 10 ending any hopes of another Cadets comeback.

Murray finished 11 of 22 for 125 yards and two interceptions nearly one week after not completing a pass.

''The players have to consider this a real learning experience,'' Depew said.

''We learned two lessons. In the first half, we learned we had the ability to play with our opponent and we didn't use it for whatever reason.

''In the second half, we learned we can play good football teams and that we are a good football team ourselves. The key is believing from the start and to play four quarters.''

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