The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 12, 2013

Defense comes up big in Flying Eagle victory

BECKLEY — There are still five weeks left in the regular season, but Woodrow Wilson and Parkersburg both looked like teams desperate for every win they can get.

A dizzying fourth quarter that gave the game a playoff feel had a pair of big defensive stops, a successful onside kick and a desperation heave into the end zone. In the end, Woodrow was able to hold on for a 27-26 victory Friday in front of an unexpectedly wet crowd at Van Meter Stadium.

The Flying Eagles (3-3) came up with two critical stops on two-point conversion attempts — the second with the outcome hanging in the balance.

Parkersburg quarterback Andrew Roberts had sneaked in from 1 yard to make it a one-point game with 11 seconds to play. On the conversion, Roberts, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior, ran left but was stuffed by a number of defenders.

“It was the game,” Woodrow coach John H. Lilly said. “It went down to the last second.”

Literally, because Parkersburg (2-4) still wasn’t finished, recovering the onside kick at the Woodrow 47 with 6.5 seconds to play.

The Big Reds had time for one last play, with Roberts firing into the end zone. The ball fell to the turf, and the Eagles celebrated a hard fought win that is crucial to their attempts to qualify for the playoffs that start in one month.

“It was just a great game,” Lilly said. “Everybody got their money’s worth tonight.”

“Any game that you don’t win is tough,” said fourth-year Parkersburg coach Don Reeves. “When you are given two chances to score on the two-point conversion and don’t make it — we controlled our own destiny. We didn’t make the play.”

Woodrow senior Chase Hancock had a nice night, running for 81 yards on 11 carries, including a 24-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead on their first possession, and catching three passes for 56 yards. His 28-yard touchdown reception put Woodrow ahead 27-20 with 1:21 remaining.

Hancock also had two of Woodrow’s three interceptions in the first half. Freshman Mecko Harris had the other.

Troy Lilly also had a touchdown run and reception for the Eagles. Quarterback Brent Osborne was 8 of 18 for 97 yards.

The late dramatics might not have been necessary had Woodrow been more proficient on offense. The Eagles twice turned the ball over inside the Parkersburg 15.

“We had some problems in the red zone,” Lilly said. “It was always just luck of the draw. It was always third down on the 9. But our kids were real resilient. We had 12 kids out with injuries, and they had a bunch of kids out. We’ve got a lot of respect for their program because they play the same powerhouse schedule that we do.”

Roberts had a hand in all 20 fourth-quarter points for the Big Reds. He scored on a pair of 1-yard runs and had a 43-yard touchdown pass to Austin Life that made the score 21-20 with 4:19 to play.

The Eagles stopped the conversion after that play, too.

Roberts completed 7 of 15 passes for 157 yards, and ran 12 times for 52 yards.

Chase Shank carried 16 times for 80 yards and a touchdown.

The game went just as Lilly expected.

“I told the team on Wednesday it was going to come down to the last play, and that was prophetic,”  said Lilly, whose team was coming off a 42-0 loss at Cabell Midland. “You’ve got to great programs in the state of West Virginia. Both teams battled. ... I tip my hat to them. They played their hind ends off and we played our hind ends off.”

Both teams have huge tests next Friday. Woodrow will travel to Class AAA No. 8 Capital, while Parkersburg hosts top-rated Huntington.

— E-mail: gfauber@

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