BY O.J. EARLY
It took overtime to decide the outcome of the latest installment of the West Greene and Chuckey-Doak rivalry. And fans on both sides were treated to a thriller, with the Buffs emerging with a 33-27 victory at the Black Hole.
The win was huge for West Greene, as it likely gives the Buffs the needed boost to make the playoffs. Also as a result of the victory, the Buffs are County Champs.
Even with the loss, Chuckey-Doak (5-4, 2-3) still has a solid chance to make the playoffs. The loss overshadowed an outstanding performance from senior Black Knight Bryce Malone, who finished the game with 219 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns.
"We had a little adversity here," said West Greene head coach Joe Case, whose Buffs finish the year at 5-5, 3-3 in the conference. "We pulled through. We kept on telling our kids 'believe, believe, believe and great things are going to happen.' And great things did happen."
From the opening play of the game, indications were that the contest would be a shootout.
West Greene's Jonathan Padgett, fresh off a big performance against South Greene a week ago, took the opening kickoff and galloped 82 yards. Junior Buff Nathan Morgan was in the endzoe two plays later. Brock Shelton's PAT was good, giving West Greene a 7-0 lead with 11:06 to go in the first quarter.
But it didn't take the Black Knights long to respond. On the back of Malone, the Knights drove 76 yards, ending with a 17-yard touchdown run by Malone. Colin Crews's successful PAT tied the contest a 7-7 with 7:29 to play in the opening quarter.
A fumble by West Greene's Morgan on the ensuing drive gave the Knights good field position, setting Chuckey-Doak up first-and-ten on the Buff 25 yard line. After some big plays by the Buffs defense, the Knights were forced to go for a field goal. Crews nailed a 30 yarder with 1:09 to play in the first quarter to give the Knights a 10-7 lead.
The Buffs next drive was highlighted by sophomore quarterback Austin Greenlee's 40-yard-pass completion to Josh Thacker, setting up West Greene first-and-goal on the 10. Greenlee was in the endzone with 11:07 to play in the second quarter, pushing West Greene's lead to 14-10 after Shelton's kick.
The two teams would go on to trade possessions for much of the second quarter. Crews booted a 30-yard-field goal with 4:47 to play in the half to pull the Knights to within one, down 14-13.
With under two minutes to play in the first half, West Greene was forced with a fourth-and-eight. The Buffs went for it, and Greenlee found Morgan for a 26-yard TD strike. The PAT failed, and West Greene lead 20-13 when the first half ended.
It didn't take long for the Knights to knot the score in the second half, driving the ball 65 yards in eight plays. Malone scored on a three-yard burst with 7:31 to play in the third.
Malone found the endzone again in the third quarter, this time on 58-yard blast. The PAT was good, and C-D's lead was 27-20 with 2:06 to play in the third period.
After the Buffs forced C-D to one of only two three-and-outs for the game, West Greene freshman Dakota Trentham scored on a seven-yard run. The PAT was good, and the score was tied at 27-27 with 8:00 minutes to play in the final quarter.
The Knight's next drive appeared to be heading for the endzone. But back-to-back penalties set the Knights in a fourth-and-14 situation, and Hinkle's heave to the endzone fell incomplete with 2:50 to play in the game. The Buffs couldn't find the endzone in the closing minutes, forcing the overtime.
A flag was thrown against the Knights for a late hit after time had expired in regulation. The officials ruled that the 15-yard penalty should be enforced in overtime. C-D had the first possession, and instead of being first-and-goal from the 10, the Knights were backed up to the 25 yard line.
Chuckey-Doak couldn't move the ball, and Hinkle was shoved down more than 15 yards from the endzone on fourth down. It tooks the Buffs only two plays to score, as Padgett ran 10 yards up the middle for the final score.
The game was the final regular season contest for West Greene. Chuckey-Doak will battle rival South Greene next week in the season finale for both squads.