Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
All good things must come to an end, and after a heartbreaking last minute touchdown and successful two-point conversion by Beechwood with just over two minutes left in the final quarter, the season ended for the West Carter Comets with a 34-35 loss to the Tigers. The loss, which left the Comets with a 10 win – 2 loss season, came after a tough game and a big second-half comeback by the West Carter team.
Beechwood scored the first three touchdowns in the game, which saw fans and coaches questioning some of the calls by officials.
Brady Moore scored the first touchdown for Beechwood, on a 26 yard pass from Cam Hergott, with a Collin Granam kick taking the score to 0-7. Hergott scored the team’s second touchdown late in the first quarter, on a two yard run, with a Granam kick taking the score to 0-14.
It was Hergott again early in the second quarter, on a one yard run, to take the score to 0-20. West Carter, however, made the team fight for every yard.
That third touchdown came after West Carter coaches questioned calls related to face masks and tackles, with a player – the first of two to experience it – having his helmet pulled off by Beechwood during play.
On West Carter’s next possession senior Gage Leadingham went down on an in-air tackle in the end zone, suffering injuries that required the wide receiver to be taken away in an ambulance. Leadingham suffered three or four broken ribs, a partially collapsed lung, and a lung laceration, and was taken to KDMC before being transferred to Cabell Huntington, according to coaching staff. According to his mother, Angela Phelps, the first thing Leadingham said to the ER doctor was, “My team may win tonight. Can I play next weekend?”
Coaching staff also reported that, when lying on the sideline after the tackle, and asked if he was ok, Leadingham asked Coach Barker, “Did he catch the ball?” before asking for help up so he could finish the game.
“I just thought that was… a very accurate image of that kid’s mindset,” said record keeper Zach Stevens.
West Carter rallied after Leadingham’s injury, with Leetavious Cline advancing the ball five to ten yards a play to keep the Comets alive until Blake McGlone could score on a 17 yard pass from quarterback Orry Perry, with 1:33 left in the quarter. A Garrett Wolfe kick put the score at 7-20 going into the second half.
West Carter held Beechwood scoreless in the third quarter, with Jackson Bond scoring first, on a fake to Cline and a 21 yard pass from Perry two minutes into the quarter, taking the score to 13-20. Cline scored the next touchdown for the Comets, on a four yard run with 6:56 left on the clock, taking the score to 19-20. But Wolfe’s kick was blocked after the Bond touchdown and Cline’s attempt at a two-point conversion after his touchdown was unsuccessful.
It was back and forth in the fourth quarter, with Logan Berry picking up a pass for significant yardage and Cline scoring first, on a 14 yard run, and McGlone connecting on the two-point conversion pass from Perry, to take the score to 27-20. But Beechwood’s Liam McCormick scored on a 33 yard pass from Hergott and Granam was good on his kick to tie things up 27-27 a minute and a half later.
Bond scored the final touchdown of the season for West Carter, on a 31 yard pass from Perry after a fake to Cole Crampton, with Wolfe’s kick taking the score to 34-27. But Beechwood, a 14 time 1A state champion before moving up to 2A, came back in the last three minutes before Moore connected on a 44-yard pass from Hergott, which took the score to 34-33. After a two-point conversion from Hatfield on a pass from Hergott, the score was 34-35 with 2:32 on the clock.
Though West Carter fought to come back in the last minutes, penalties against the Comets resulted in heavy yardage gains for Beechwood, who ran out the clock to win the game 34-35.
Cline had 36 carries for 200 yards and two touchdowns, with 156 yards in the second half. Perry was 9/19 for 134 yards and three TD passes. Bond had four catches, for 67 yards and two touchdowns. McGlone had four catches for 51 yards and one touchdown. Berry had one catch, for 16 yards on a long fourth down conversion.
On the defensive end Gibson has 11 total tackles and one sack. Bond had 10 total tackles and Roe seven tackles, with the pair sharing a sack.
- Cline finishes his career with 579 attempts, 3986 yards, and 76 career rushing touchdowns, all school records for career. He also has the record for rushing attempts in a game, with his 36 carries on the night. He had 100 or more rushing yards in every game on the season, finishing this season with 2,115 yards and 31 rushing touchdowns, both season records.
- Perry finishes his career with 277 completions on 509 attempts, for 3,507 yards and 51 passing touchdowns, all career records. He has a 54.44% career completion percentage, also a career record. His 1,509 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns this year are season records.
- Bond, a Junior, had 44 catches and 683 yards, a new season record. He moves into second place all time in career catches, with 100, third in career yards, with 1,560, and second in career receiving touchdowns, with 24.
- McGlone, also a Junior, now has 93 catches, 1,161 yards, and 11 touchdowns on his career.
- West Carter now has five players all time with more than 1,000 receiving yards in their careers with Bond and McGlone breaking the 1,000 mark.
- Gibson finishes his career with 217 total tackles. He added to his tackle for loss (TFL) record, finishing with 47.5 in his career. He had 21 TFL this year, one behind the season record he set last year. Gibson also scored a 36 on his ACT and is committed to Centre to continue playing football.
- Roe finishes his career with 128 total tackles, 102 of them this year. He led the team in total tackles this year.
- Wolfe finishes his career 86/107 on PATs (points after touchdown), adding to his career record for makes and attempts.
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