The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 13, 2012

Flying Eagles hold on to beat Big Reds

The Woodrow Wilson seniors were honored before Friday night’s game against Parkersburg. Then they put on a show for the home fans.

Behind the play of their senior stars, the Flying Eagles (5-3) scored 22 third-quarter points to turn a defensive battle into an offensive showcase in a 30-22 win over Parkersburg (4-4) at Van Meter Stadium.

Senior Ramon Edwards finished the game with 172 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries, also catching a pass for seven yards. Senior quarterback Andrew Johnson ran for 52 yards and threw for 96 more, finding the end zone twice, and senior Cole Williams ran for 65 yards and the final Flying Eagle touchdown.

“I’m really proud of them,” said Beckley head coach John H. Lilly, whose team was coming off of back-to-back losses to Cabell Midland and Huntington, two of the top teams in the state. “We played one of the toughest stretches you could play for a high school football team. For them to show their character and come out and do that made me very, very proud.”

Woodrow was clinging to a 22-14 lead late in the third quarter when the game turned on one big play. Driving into Woodrow Wilson territory, Parkersburg quarterback Aaron Roberts hit Adam Lindamood on a screen pass at the Woodrow 45-yard line. Trying to break free for a few extra yards, Lindamood made his only mistake of the night, putting the ball on the grass.

Woodrow Wilson defensive end Michael Bailey — a senior, of course — scooped up the loose pigskin and was off to the races.

He wasn’t tackled until he reached the Big Reds’ 15-yard line, and Williams scored from 15 yards out two plays later to give the Flying Eagles their biggest lead of the game, 30-14, with just 52 seconds left in the third quarter.

Parkersburg made things interesting, driving 85 yards in eight plays, seven of them Lindamood runs, to pull within one score. Lindamood, who finished the game with 167 yards rushing on 30 carries, finished it off with a 28-yard run off tackle, and Roberts found Daniel Fox on the 2-point conversion to make the score 30-22 with more than 9 minutes left to play.

“I’m just glad there’s no more Lindamoods left,” said Lilly, who also went up against Adam’s brother, Matt, who played fullback for WVU before leaving the team this spring. “I’ve been here 13 years, and every year I have to play a Lindamood. They’ve always done really good against us. Our goal this week was to not let him dominate the game.”

After holding Woodrow Wilson on the ensuing drive, Parkersburg got the ball back with a chance to tie, starting on its own 7-yard line with 5:14 left. But after reaching the 39, the drive ended when Roberts’ play-action pass was thrown into the dirt.

Parkersburg did have one final prayer, getting possession of the ball with 24.3 seconds left in the game, but on fourth down, Roberts’ Hail Mary fell into the hands of Beckley’s Johnson, and the game appropriately ended with the ball in the senior’s hands.

The game didn’t have to be so close. Woodrow failed to capitalize on chances to really take control, and avoid the late nerves, in the opening half.

After driving 64 yards on just four plays on the opening drive — a 62-yard Ramon Edwards run the big play and a Johnson 9-yard scamper finishing it off — the Beckley offense couldn’t get out of its own way.

A critical mistake cost the Fyling Eagles on each of its next three drives.

The first came after Woodrow drove to the Parkersburg 18-yard line on its second possession, only to go backward when a shotgun snap sailed over Johnson’s head. Beckley ended up on the Parkersburg 29 and turned the ball over on downs when it failed to convert a fourth-down try.

Woodrow’s next drive went as far as the Big Reds’ 34-yard line, but on a first down play, Johnson threw a screen pass backward. The ball rolled harmlessly out of bounds on the Parkersburg sideline, but the 6-yard loss put the Flying Eagles behind the chains and they were eventually forced to punt.

Beckley’s final possession of the opening half — after the visitors played keep-away for most of the half, controlling the ball for a little more than 13 of the 24 minutes — began with just 1:34 to play before the break when Brent Osborne intercepted a Roberts pass.

The Flying Eagles, overcoming a key sack when Johnson bobbled the snap, caught a break when Johnson converted a 4th-and-11 by using his legs to run all the way to the Parkersburg 6-yard line. The scoreboard clock showed .4 seconds before the break, giving Beckley one final shot at some points.

Johnson found Donte Nabors open in the middle of the end zone, but his throw skipped across the grass and Woodrow was again turned away.

Parkersburg’s lone score of the opening half came early in the second quarter on a drive that spanned eight plays and 90 yards.

Chandler Hamilton did the bulk of the work, carrying the ball five times for 41 yards on the drive, and Lindamood finished it off with a 2-yard touchdown run.

The only thing that separated the two teams at the break was the point-after-touchdown. While Parkersburg settled for one, an extra point off the foot of Codey Roney, Woodrow was able to pick up the 2-point conversion when Osborne lined up in the shotgun at quarterback, took the snap and followed his blocks across the goal line.

Beckley took an 8-7 advantage into the break.

“I thought we played really flat in the first half,” said Lilly. “We had to have a little attitude adjustment at halftime. We’re not a big enough team to play without emotion.”

Responding to Lilly’s challenge, Woodrow scored on the first play it touched the ball in the second half. After Parkersburg missed a 32-yard field goal to take the lead, Edwards took the momentum and ran with it, breaking through the Big Reds’ line and then sprinting past the secondary 79 yards for a touchdown.

“I just tried to do what I could to help my team,” said Edwards. “It’s my first time beating Parkersburg, so it feels pretty good.”

The 2-point try failed, and Parkersburg tied the game on the next possession, thanks in part to some good field position on a drive that started on the Woodrow 38-yard line after a short kickoff and a personal foul.

Woodrow quickly answered, though, going up 22-14 on a 10-yard Johnson option keep and a pass to Jacob Meadows, another senior, for the 2-point conversion.

Woodrow, which will likely climb up the WVSSAC Class AAA ratings after coming in at No. 14 this week, will be at Riverside next week. Parkersburg will have an off week before hosting South Charleston on Oct. 26.

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