By DAN STILLWELL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
As it has the previous three Fridays, Summers County’s football team relied on the big play to win.
Several of them, in fact, as the Bobcats turned back fellow Class AA No. 4 Wyoming East 17-14 at Garten Stadium.
Isaiah Brown had a 70-yard touchdown run, and kicker Tristan Sears booted a 30-yard field goal.
But the really BIG play was on defense, when Erik Lindsey blasted through the Warriors’ line to take down Coty Bishop on fourth and 1 at the Summers 19 with 2:05 left to play.
“I told the kids about all the time we’d spent in the weight room,” Bobcats first-year coach Nate Tanner said. “Our kids saw how big (the Warriors) were, but they believed they could make the big play.”
At first it looked like Wyoming East’s line had worn down the Bobcats late in the fourth quarter. The Warriors had moved 50 yards on seven plays and Tanner called timeout to calm his team down.
On the snap, quarterback Aaron Griffith turned and handed Bishop the ball. He had nowhere to go, however; Lindsey had him wrapped like a Christmas present.
“Coach told us we had to make a play,” Lindsey said. “There was an open hole between the guard and tackle, and they were both looking down. I said, “This is it. ‘As soon as the ball was snapped, I hit the hole, saw the ball and shot at (Bishop’s) knees. And that was it.”
Wyoming East had been favored my many, thanks to its excellent line and balanced offensive attack.
But the Warriors got off to a bad start on its first series when Sean Willey drilled an East receiver and Brown recovered a fumble.
“It should have been a touchdown, but I kept bobbling the ball,” Brown said.
Summers scored two posessions later, as quarterback T.J. Smith ran nine yards on second down for a touchdown. Sears’ PAT kick made it 7-0.
East drove 30 yards on its next series, only to cough up the ball again, this time to Allen Brown.
“Turnovers and penalties early,” coach Gary Poindexter said. “That’s not what you want to do on the road. We put ourselves behind the 8-ball against a good team.”
Undaunted, the Warriors bent, but refused to break the rest of the first half, and tied the score with 2:42 remaining on a 7-yard run by Coty Bishop, followed by a Tristan Jones kick.
Sears ended the deadlock with his field goal with 4:57 to go in the third quarter. Brown then gave the Bobcats some breathing room when he took a handoff from backup quarterback Matt Ryan and raced down the left sideline.
A Warriors grabbed him, but Brown broke loose, and then eluded two other tacklers on route to his 70-yard TD.
East once again rallied, going 57 yards on five plays. Brian Whitt did the honors on an 18-yard run where he dragged two Summers defenders to the goal line. Jones’ kick cut the deficit to three, 17-14, with 11:16 remaining in the contest.
Summers drove to the East 29, but was stopped on downs at the East 29. The Warriors then ground out the yardage down to the 19, only to be stopped by Lindsey’s heroics.
“We thought our lines did wonderful in the second half. We battled to the end,” Poindexter said. “Last year we went on a roll after our first loss. Hopefully we’ll do it again.
Whitt finished with 91 yards on 91 carries. Bishop added 40 on 8 carries, and Griffith ran seven times for 66 yards. Griffith was held to just 18 yards passing on 4 of 6 completions.
“I told the kids to stop the run and pass, we had to play sound fundamental football and be in place to make the plays,” Tanner said. “That’s what they did tonight.”
Brown ran 18 times for 139 yards. Fullback Jaquan Ayers added 67 tough yards on 14 carries. Smith hit 2 of 9 passes for 23 yards, while Ryan had one completion, to Smith, for 32 yards.
“We shocked the state,” Lindsey said.
Summers County will host Class A No. 1 Greenbrier West Friday at 7:30 p.m. Wyoming East (3-1) returns home to meet Mount View.
At Summers County
Wyoming East (3-1)............0 7 0 7 — 14
Summers County (4-0)... ...7 0 10 0 — 17
SC - T.J. Smith 9 run (Tristan Sears kick), 4:32
WE - Coty Bishop 7 run (Tristan Jones kick), 2:42
SC - Sears 30 FG, 4:07
SC - Isaiah Brown 70 run (Sears kick), :09
WE - Brian Whitt 18 run (Jones kick), 11:16
RUSHING — WE: Bishop 8-40, Christian Hedinger 2-28, Aaron Griffith 7-66, Whitt 12-91. SC: Brown 18-139, Smith 15-16, Jaquan Ayers 14-67, Matt Ryan 3-6, Erik Lindsey 1-1.
PASSING — WE: Griffith 4-6-0, 18. SC: Smith 2-9-0, 23; Brown 0-1-0, 0; Ryan 1-1-0, 32.
RECEIVING — WE: Hedinger 2-14, Nik Walker 2-4. SC: Sean Willey 1-11, Lindsey 1-12, Smith 1-32.
TURNOVERS — WE: None. SC: Brown (fum. rec.), Allen Brown (fum. rec.) .