NORTH LEWISBURG – West Liberty-Salem held off a pesky Triad team to spoil the Cardinals’ homecoming Friday, 34-14, in OHC football.
Triad threatened early, recovering a WL-S fumble deep in Tiger territory at the 27-yard line, but the home team turned it over on downs and never capitalized.
The Tigers scored just two minutes later when Trevor Anderson found paydirt from a couple of yards out and put the visitors on the board 7-0.
WL-S extended its lead with a Brandon Wolfe 5-yard run with less than a minute left in the opening quarter, making it 14-0. Wolfe finished the game with 95 yards on just 14 carries.
Early in the second quarter, Wolfe struck again with a 9-yard run after a personal foul gave the Tigers possession inside the Cardinals’ 10.
Triad finally answered with a combination running attack by Dalton Holycross, Jacob Thompson and Trent McIntyre that wore the defensive line down and cashed in with a 3-yard scoring run by Thompson. Holycross had 10 carries for 63 yards and Thompson ran the ball 15 times for 50 yards.
WL-S responded with a terrific cutback run by Anderson on a toss play that went 26 yards with under two minutes left in the first half. Anderson took the toss left and weaved his way back to the right, making the overpursuing Triad defense look silly on his way to the end zone. Anderson had 89 yards on 11 carries.
Triad managed to put another touchdown on the board with less than two seconds left on the clock thanks to some terrific clock management by McIntyre and the coaches on the sideline. The score gave Triad a glimmer of hope, going into the locker room down 28-14 at the half.
The hope hung around in the second half primarily due to several penalties on WL-S, including one that negated a 56-yard scoring run by Anderson.
“We had too many penalties in the second half,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said. “We have to play smarter.”
Finally, with 6:42 left in the game, the Tigers were able to put the proverbial nail in the coffin.
Triad was driving behind sharp passing from McIntyre, until a pass went astray into the hands of West Liberty-Salem’s Dusty Moell inside the 10-yard line. The senior took it back all the way to the house to put his stamp on the victory.
“I was so happy to see that,” McGill said. “That was literally the first interception our DBs have had all season. It couldn’t come at a better time.”
It was certainly the play that changed the game, and Triad Coach Payton Printz knew it.
“It was a bad thing to happen in that situation,” he said, shaking his head. “We made a lot of big, big mistakes that hurt us tonight.”
The Tigers had another chance to score with time expiring, but chose to kneel at the 1-yard line.
Next Friday night, WL-S (6-2) hosts Southeastern and Triad (3-5) plays at Springfield Catholic Central.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.