PDT Sports Contributor
WEST PORTSMOUTH – With a record of 2-3 on the year and the undefeated Minford Falcons coming to town, the West Senators knew that they were going to have to dig deep to defeat the Falcons on Senior Night.
The Senators were able to do just that by using the legs of Dylan Koons, Austin Bricker and Steven Irwin as well as a defense that bent, but did not break as West kept their playoff hopes alive with a 35-28 upset victory over Minford at The Rock on Senior Night.
Minford would get the ball to start the game at their own 33 yard line and would proceed to drive deep into Senator territory. However, three dropped passes would victimize the Falcons and they would eventually turn the ball over on downs after a Cody Stapleton pass was dropped by Jack White.
However, Minford would force West into a three-and-out and would strike first anyway on a 14-play, 81-yard drive that was capped by an Austin Carter 1-yard plunge. The drive, which took 5:14 off of the first quarter clock, put Minford up by a score of 7-0 with less than a minute to play in the first quarter.
The Senators would strike first in the second quarter as Koons would break free and scamper all the way to the endzone on an 82-yard tote to tie the game at 7 apiece.
After West forced Minford into a three-and-out of their own, the Senators would drive down the field deep into Minford territory, but faced a fourth-and-24 from the Falcon 29-yard line after Michael Davis and Irwin were brought down in the backfield for losses.
Irwin would roll to his right on the fourth down play and would find Bricker, who made a sensational catch falling out of bounds (but getting both of his feet inbounds) on the right hash mark to give West a first-and-goal from the Falcon 2-yard line.
Bricker would punch it in three plays later from a yard out to give the Senators a 14-7 lead, which would carry over into the halftime break.
Both teams would spend the third quarter trading touchdowns, but just like in the first half, Minford would strike first on another Carter touchdown, this time from 2 yards out, to tie the game at 14 apiece.
West would answer with two touchdowns of their own, as Bryson Hurd would score from five yards out to cap off a 10-play, 51-yard drive that put the Senators ahead to stay.
After another three-and-out by the Falcons, Irwin would call his own number later on in the quarter and would score on an 11-yard touchdown run. Justin Scott would convert the ensuing two-point conversion to give West a 29-14 lead with 3:13 remaining in the game.
However, Minford did not go down without a fight. The Falcons were able to turn a 52-yard kick return by Tate Hall to get into excellent field position, and would score five plays later on a Levi Jenkins 14-yard tote to put Minford within eight.
The Falcons would force West to punt and would get the ball back on the Senators’ 48-yard line. Minford would proceed to drive deep into West territory, but Stapleton would put the ball on the ground at the Senators’ 25-yard line.
Steven Irwin would eventually pounce on the ball at the 32-yard line to give West the ball with a chance to put the game away.
The Senators would use the ensuing drive to get the ball in Bricker’s hands, as he carried the ball four times for 53 yards on the game-clinching drive, including a 41-yard scamper down the left sideline to put West up 35-21.
Minford was able to score on another 1-yard plunge by Carter and would force the Senators to punt the ball away with less than 35 seconds remaining in the game to give the Falcons one final chance to either tie or win the game.
However, Minford was unable to mount a serious charge, as Stapleton’s pass to Matt Joyce was complete but Wesley Book made the tackle to clinch the win for the Senators.
With the win, the Senators move to .500 on the year and will head to Lucasville next week to see if they can defeat two undefeated teams in a row. The Falcons will host Northwest next week as they will attempt to get back to their winning ways as well.
Minford 7 0 14 7 - 28
West 0 14 15 6 - 35
M – Carter 1 run (Joyce kick) :57.7
W – Koons 82 run (Dials kick) 8:36
W – Bricker 1 run (Dials kick) 2:58
M – Carter 2 run (Joyce kick) 8:56
W – Hurd 5 run (Dials kick) 5:10
W – Irwin 11 run (Scott run) 3:13
M – Jenkins 14 run (Joyce kick) 1:12
W – Bricker 41 run (run failed) 4:26
M – Carter 1 run (Joyce kick) 1:49
RUSHING: Minford –Carter 12-66, Jenkins 10-39, Compton 3-26, Justice 7-23, Stapleton, 9-11, Hall 1-0; West —Bricker 23-140, Koons 6-109, Irwin 8-26, Hurd 6-13 Jo. Howell 2-6, Davis 1-(-7)
PASSING: Minford — Stapleton 9-25-0 175; West — Irwin 2-6-0 36.
RECEIVING: Minford —Clark 5-116, Hall 1-49, White 2-7, Compton 1-3; West —Bricker, 1-27, Koons 1-8.