by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
With the game still up for grabs, a Circleville miscue opened the door for Vinton County to score one more time and notch a 19-8 win over the Tigers Friday night.
“We had a nice drive (to start the second half), but then we had a bad snap which puts us in second-and-long — our offense isn’t built for second-and-long,” Circleville coach Steve Evans said. “Still, we were able pin them deep, the defense got us the ball back at midfield and we stalled out there and had that bad (punt) snap.
“We had a chance to possibly pin them inside the 10 and make them go 90 yards. Instead we had a bad snap and now they’ve only got a 40-yard field to work with.”
Vinton County had a 12-8 lead at halftime and the teams played a scoreless third quarter.
Circleville was lined up to punt on the first play of the fourth quarter. An errant snap sent Ashdon Rickard scrambling and he tried to get a kick off, but it was partially blocked. Instead of the Vikings starting the possession deep in their own territory, they were starting at the Tigers’ 44.
Vinton County put together a 10-play drive, including a 12-yard run on fourth-and-nine, that ended with Lane Heybron going in from a yard out. Cooper Hayburn’s PAT kick gave VC a 19-8 lead with 6:21 on the clock.
Hayburn then executed an onside kick that Brady Woltz recovered for the Vikings at Circleville’s 41.
Vinton County was able to advance to a first-and-goal situation, but some good defense from Circleville and a holding call on Vinton County led to Circleville getting the ball back at the 16 with 1:55 on the clock.
Circleville picked up first downs on 10 and 12-yard passes from Hudson Phalin to Jack Kline and then on a 42-yard pass play to Drew Thornsley that got the ball to the 20. A sack and an incompletion were followed by a two-yard completion to Ayden Reedy and the fourth-down pass to Thornsley ended up a yard short of a first down with 19 seconds left.
Vinton County took a knee to seal the win.
The Tigers’ defense yielded only two big plays to the Vikings and made 10 plays that resulted in a loss of yards for VC. But a couple of short fields and the onside kick had the defense on the field in some tough situations.
“Our defense has played well the first two weeks. In Week 1, I don’t think our offense crossed the 50-yard-line more than once or twice, so they played with their backs against the wall, Evans said. “Tonight, we gave up a couple of big plays here and there.
“But like I told the team, we were down there toward the end of the game, but we came up with a big goal line stand and got the ball back. We marched right down the field and didn’t quit. Those were big steps going forward.”
Vinton County opened the game with a 13-play drive that ended with Parker Shonborn scoring from four yards out. A run for the extra point was no good leaving VC up 6-0.
Circleville answered with a minute left in the first. A 67-yard run from Jude Blair set up a nine-yard scoring run for him two plays later. Phalin connected with Kline for the PAT and an 8-6 Circleville lead.
Vinton County took the lead back with three minutes left in the half on the Viking’s longest play of the night as Matt Hembree broke off a 43-yard scoring run. A run for the PAT failed leaving VC up 12-8.
Vinton County ended the night with 292 yards — 264 on the ground. Garrett Brown had 84, Hembree had 82 and Haybron had 78.
After gaining only 82 yards in last week’s loss to John Glenn, Circleville had 201 yards of offense Friday. Blair rushed for 88 yards and Phalin threw for 104. Thornsley had 61 yards receiving on three catches and Kline was 5-38.
“Offensively, we were very bad in Week 1,” Evans said. “Tonight, we weren’t consistent, but we were able to get some good drives and create some running lanes and let our backs do what they can do.”
The Tigers (0-2) hope to build off the improvements they saw Friday as they head out to Westfall next week. The Mustangs (1-1) fell to Logan Elm (2-0) 43-6 Friday.
Vinton County 19, Circleville 8
By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Vinton County 6 6 0 7 19
Circleville 8 0 0 0 8
VC — Parker Shonborn 4 run (run failed), 6:55.
CV — Jude Blair 9 run (Jack Kline from Hudson Phalin), 1:03.
VC — Matt Hembree 43 run (run failed), 2:56.
VC — Lane Haybron 1 run (Cooper Hayburn kick), 6:21.
First downs 16 9
Rushing yards 52-264 22-93
Passing yards 28 104
Comp.-Att.-Int 7-13-0 10-19-0
Total yards 292 201
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 9-79 4-30
Punts-Ave 3-34 3-32
RUSHING – Vinton County — Garrett Brown 16-84, Matt Hembree 7-82, Parker Shonborn 11-20, Lane Haybron 18-78. Circleville — Jude Blair 12-88, Hudson Phalin 7-0, Drew Thornsley 2-3, Ashdon Rickard 1-2.
PASSING – Vinton County — Parker Shonborn 7-13-0-28. Circleville — Hudson Phalin 10-19-0-104.
RECEIVING – Vinton County — Garrett Brown 1-1, Matt Hembree 3-14, Lane Haybron 3-13. Circleville — Ayden Reedy 2-5, Drew Thornsley 3-61, Jack Kline 5-38.