NEW MARTINSVILLE - The memory of that last drive - and play - will linger in the minds of the Tyler Consolidated players for a long time.
The Silver Knights were 50 seconds from victory last week against Doddridge when disaster struck. After posting the go-ahead score on a touchdown reception by Levi Henderson, they gave up a long kickoff return, then an 18-yard quarterback scramble as the seconds were ticking away, then a touchdown pass as the horn sounded.
''I told the kids in the locker room, 'you have to play until you hear that last whistle,'' ' Tyler Consolidated coach Rob Caldwell said. ''The next time they're in that situation, it will bring back memories. We had to fight and claw. It was a heartbreaker. We hung in there, fought, went through adversity, I told them, 'one of these days, good things are going to happen for you.' ''
That fighting and clawing included losing a tailback to injury for the second straight week. Caldwell will do some creative mixing matching involving a receiver, a fullback, and a freshman (Jordan Baker) this week, just in time for ... Magnolia.
''You don't count on that, you hope that never happens,'' Caldwell said. ''If it wasn't for bad luck, we wouldn't have any luck at all. Going into a Magnolia week, you hate to throw a young freshman tailback in that situation. We put him in last week and he gained 60-65 yards. We thought he ran the ball well, ran pretty hard.
''Against this defense, you better snap them up tight, we told him that,''
It's true. The players on these teams are friends and neighbors. Their dads likely either grew up as friends or work together now.
''But like anything else, once they step on that field, they're competitive,'' Caldwell said.
This time, they'll both do it for the first time as West Virginia Class A members.
''It's a little different, the numbers speak for themselves,'' Caldwell said. ''Both of us have been small double-A's in past years.''
The Blue Eagles, who were on the losing end of an opener against Linsly, bounced back for a 24-7 victory against a Williamstown team that had its way with Tyler Consolidated a week earlier.
In that game, Blue Eagles senior Stephen Rogalski eclipsed the 3,000-yard receiving mark for his career and is closing in on Kenny Fisher's school record. He's got less than 300 to go.