Linsly Falls in Shootout Fashion against Western Reserve

Western Reserve Scoots Past Cadets, 67-54

Photo by Alex Kozlowski
Linsly receiver Tavion Minor (20) hauls in a touchdown pass from Wyatt Hirt in front of Western Reserve defender Michael Malen during their game Saturday at Lockhart Alumni Field in Wheeling.

Photo by Alex Kozlowski Linsly receiver Tavion Minor (20) hauls in a touchdown pass from Wyatt Hirt in front of Western Reserve defender Michael Malen during their game Saturday at Lockhart Alumni Field in Wheeling.

WHEELING — In back to-back weeks Linsly saw itself in two entirely different games.

Last Friday, the Cadets were in a defensive struggle against Wheeling Central in a game that had a combined 13 points. Saturday against Western Reserve, a total of 121 points were scored.

The Pioneers wasted little time scoring in less than two minutes on their opening drive. The defense then forced two quick turnovers as Western Reserve raced to a 21-0 lead with 6:25 left in the first.

The Cadets fought back, but through the shootout could not dig themselves out as they fell, 67-54, at Lockhart Alumni Stadium.

“Obviously the game was a lot more high-scoring than we would have liked,” Linsly (2-5) coach B.J. Depew said. “We’ve played strong defensive football for the majority of the season. We gave up yards and points (Saturday), which is not something that we are used to.

”On the flip side, we were able to move the ball and were able to score some points. But we had too many mistakes and too many turnovers. Definitely not our best game.”

The Linsly offense came to life late in the first quarter as Wyatt Hirt connected with Tavion Minor for 57 yards to put the score at 21-7, but the Pioneers quickly responded. Jayden Demmy took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to the end zone and it was again a three-possession game, 28-7.

Hirt threw his second touchdown pass of the quarter as he found Vic Giovengo from 10 yards out to make it 28-14.

Hirt, a sophomore quarterback, had a career day. He threw the ball 45 times, completing 25 for 393 yards with four scores and four interceptions.

“Wyatt is a very smart kid,” Depew said. “He’s a confident kid despite not having a lot of experience. We ask him to make decisions on the field and deliver the ball and he did.

”He did a lot of great things. He had a good supporting cast offensively and people doing their jobs. Honestly, our offensive game plan played out pretty much the way we hoped.”

The offense for Western Reserve didn’t skip a beat in the second quarter and increased the lead to 40-14 after scoring the first two touchdowns in the second quarter, one coming off a halfback pass from Dakota Gibbons to Trent Clarke for a 62-yard score.

But the Cadets refused to fold as they scored the final 13 points of the half as Nick Falbo and Vic Giovengo rushed for scores to put the score at 40-27 at halftime.

“Give credit to Linsly,” Western Reserve coach Jeff Hildebrand said. “The other game last week against Wheeling Central, incredible football game. Those kids on the Linsly sideline did not quit and we knew that coming in and we saw that (Saturday). We were up 40-14 and then they came back and we were concerned again because we knew the character those kids have.

”It was a obviously a fun game on our side and at the same time, it was tooth and nail to the very end. It was fun.”

The Cadets trimmed the deficit even more on the opening possession of the second half. Hirt found Falbo for a 30-yard touchdown to make it 40-33, but that’s as close as the Cadets got.

After another long touchdown play on offense, the Pioneers defense stepped up. Demmy sniffed out a Hirt pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to make it 54-33.

The Cadets responded with two more touchdowns to get within eight on Giovengo and Killian Joseph touchdown runs.

The comeback was put to rest as Western Reserve scored the first 12 points of the fourth quarter capped by an Owen Levine 52-yard run with 5:51 remaining.

“We have a good football team with tough kids and they come to play day in and day out,” Depew said. “We can’t miss a beat and (Saturday) we did. But I know it’s a great group and I know we can get right back on track.”

Hirt threw his fourth touchdown pass to Trevin Tush for the final score. Vic Giovengo led the way in receiving for the Cadets as he hauled in nine passes for 110 yards and a score and also had two touchdowns on the ground.

Minor also had a solid day receiving in catching five passes for 94 yards while Tommy Curtin went four for 43.

Falbo led the way on the ground for 47 yards while Gage Giovengo had 43 on five attempts.

For the Pioneers, Levine went 6 of 10 for 186 and two touchdowns while rushing for 167 and a score. Demmy tallied 94 yards on the ground with three touchdowns. Kirkland had two receptions for 91 yards, both of which went for scores.

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