PARSONS – Tucker County built a 21-6 lead in the third quarter and held off a Pendleton County rally of 12 straight points to get the Homecoming victory last Friday 21-18.
The Mt. Lions won the coin toss and deferred their option until the second half which gave the Wildcats the ball first to start the game. Pendleton County was unable to move the ball on offense and punted the ball back to Tucker County. The Mt. Lions first possession did not go well as they turned the ball over on a fumble on the 4th play from scrimmage to give the ball to the Wildcats at the Tucker County 34 yard line. Pendleton County capitalized 5 plays later on a 19 yard touchdown run to give the visitors an early 6-0 lead with 3:56 left in the first quarter after a failed 2 point conversion.
On the next Tucker County possession the offense drove the ball all the way down to the Wildcats 4 yard line. Then a holding penalty erased a touchdown run pushing the Mt. Lions back to the 14 yard line. Pendleton County then stepped in front of an Austin Zirk pass on the next play to give the ball back to the visitors at their own 27 yard line after the interception return. The Wildcats were not able to move the ball after the turnover and had to punt the ball back to the Mt. Lions. Tucker County then put together a 5 play 24 yard drive that was capped by a 3 yard touchdown run by Zirk. Michael Callaway added the extra point kick to give the Mt. Lions the lead 7-6 with 10:31 in the second quarter.
The offense for both teams failed to move the ball on their next possessions. After the exchange of punts by both teams Pendleton County drove the ball down to the Mt. Lions 26 yard line. The Wildcats were whistled for a block in the back on the next play that pushed them back. On the next play Zach Armstrong gathered an interception to give the ball back to Tucker County at their own 36. The Mt. Lions then had to punt the ball away again after 3 plays. Pendleton County wasn’t able to move the ball and lined up to punt after 3 offensive plays. Tyler Birchland then made a great play to block the Wildcats punt and the Mt. Lions recovered at the Pendleton County 46 yard line. Zirk would score again 4 plays later on an 11 yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left in the first half. The extra point was blocked to give Tucker County a lead at the half 13-6.
Tucker County received the second half kick and returned the ball to their own 20 yard line. On 2nd down and 12, Zirk hit Dusty Conrad with a pass and Conrad raced 78 yards down to the 2 yard line. Armstrong finished the drive on the next play with a 2 yard touchdown run with 10:30 left in the third quarter. The 2 point conversion was good by the Mt. Lions to make the score 21-6. Pendleton County would answer the Tucker County score quickly on their next drive. The Wildcats would score on the 2nd play of the drive on a 58 yard touchdown run with 9:41 left in the third quarter. The 2 point conversion was no good to keep the score at 21-12.
The Mt. Lions next drive would stall at the Wildcats 46 forcing them to punt the ball back to Pendleton County. The Wildcats then put together an 8 play 59 yard drive that was capped by a 1 yard touchdown run. The 2 point conversion failed to put the score at 21-18 Tucker County. The Mt. Lions would pick up one first down on their next drive, but an interception gave the ball to Pendleton County in Tucker County territory with 11 minutes left in the game. The Wildcats were unable to sustain the drive and turned the ball over on downs after a failed 4th and 5 play. After an exchange of punts Tucker County got the ball at midfield, but failed to convert once again on a 4th down play at the Wildcat 15 yard line giving the ball back to Pendleton County with 2:48 left in the game. The Wildcats pick up a couple first downs but were unable to keep the drive moving and turned the ball over on downs after a failed 4th down pass that was batted down at the line by Marshall Whisner. Tucker County took over at the Wildcats 42 and went into victory formation to end the game with a hard fought 21-18 win.
Austin Zirk led Tucker County with 23 carries for 117 yards rushing and 6 of 9 passing for 113 yards. The Mt. Lions(5-3) will host Petersburg on Friday. Friday’s game will be broadcast on 94.7FM WELK, pregame coverage will start at 7pm and kickoff will be at 7:30pm. For more info go to