Last-minute TD pass gives Doddridge 18-16 victory

WEST UNION – Prayers were answered for host Doddridge County here Friday night during homecoming at Cline Stansberry Stadium when seniors Zach Cottrill and David Lipscomb hooked up for the game-winning touchdown with no time left.

For anyone in attendance, the final score of Doddridge County 18 and Wirt County 16 never will be forgotten.

Things looked bleak for the 12th-ranked single-A Bulldogs (4-0) when they got the ball back with 94 seconds to play at their own 26 after the Tigers (1-3) turned the ball over on downs.

On the very first play from scrimmage, the Tiger pass rush hit the signal-caller Lipscomb as he threw the ball and it was intercepted by Wirt County quarterback Damian Rhodes and the visitors thought the game was over. However, the orange and black was whistled for roughing the passer and the Bulldogs had new life.

A pass interference call against head coach Jason Hickman’s squad allowed Doddridge County to enter Tiger territory at the 44. Thanks to a Lipscomb 11-yard scramble and a 9-yard pass to Ryan Hass, the hosts had the ball at the 24, but were quickly running out of time. As it turned out, though, the Tigers’ prevent defense couldn’t hold on the final play from scrimmage. Despite fumbling the shotgun snap and having a Tiger nearly sack him, Lipscomb scrambled and found Cottrill all alone for the 24-yard strike that allowed the ‘Dogs to knock off the Tigers for the first time in a decade.

The Bulldogs of head man Bobby Burnside, who head to Ritchie County next Friday, took a 6-0 lead at 6:48 of the first when Wyatt Ford galloped 43 yards to paydirt. However, the Tigers went ahead 7-6 just 35 seconds later when Trent Hardbarger hauled in a 25-yard scoring strike from Rhodes and Hardbarger booted the extra point.

Wirt County, which is in danger of having its streak of four consecutive playoff berths snapped, got a fortuitous bounce in the second quarter which allowed it to take a 13-6 lead at halftime. Tiger running back Wes Valentine fumbled the ball, but it bounced forward and teammate Justin Joy picked it up and raced 75 yards for the score.

Hardbarger added a 29-yard field goal with 6:37 left in the third, but Ford scored from 34 yards out with 2:56 left in the same stanza to set the score at 16-12. Ford led all rushers with game-highs of 34 carries and 195 yards. Wirt County’s Jake Linville toted the pigskin 19 times for 143 stripes.

Joy ended the Bulldogs’ next to last drive near midfield when he forced Jarrod Sandy to fumble and teammate Dylan Pickrell pounced on it.

Rhodes did intercept Lipscomb on the Bulldogs’ first drive of the second half, but the Tiger signal-caller was picked off by Hass on Wirt County’s first possession of the contest.