In a game whose lead teetered back and forth like a see-saw, the Tyler Consolidated Knights lost a heart breaker to the Bulldogs of Doddridge County, 26-24 at Doddridge on Friday night.
Evenly matched, the two Class A teams put on an unforgettable show for the fans in attendance at the second game of the season for both schools
"It was a tough loss," said Silver Knight head coach, Rob Caldwell. "We lost one of our tailbacks in the first game last week in Jacob Highley, and this week, in the first play of the game, our other tailback, Skylar Leasure, went out with an injury. So we had to make last minute adjustments and run our freshman tailback, Jordan Baker."
"Baker did good, don't get me wrong, but we felt like we were throwing him to the lions."
Doddridge got off to a quick start in the first quarter, making good on an 11 yard pass for the first touchdown of the game, followed by the kick. It did not take long, however, for the Silver and Black fans to make some noise when senior Alex Doak turned on the heat and ran 71 yards for a score, followed by a Drew Casey kick.
In the opening minutes of the second period, Knight quarterback, Hunter LeMasters connected on a nine yard pass to Levi Henderson for six, followed again by a Casey extra point kick, putting the Silver ahead by seven.
Not to be outdone, the home team answered almost immediately with an 80 yard kick off return for six points, plus one with the kick, tying the two teams at 14 each.
Driving hard down the field with just a couple minutes remaining on the clock until the half, Consolidated opted to go for a field goal kick from 42 yards out. Junior Drew Casey was sure footed as he booted the ball between the uprights to send the Knights into the lead at the half, 17-14.
"I had every confidence in Drew," Caldwell said. "I didn't give it a second thought, just called the field goal team onto the field. I watched him practicing the night before and I knew we were in his range."
With the defense on both sides of the field stepping up their play, there was no score by either team in the third period, building up to an exciting fourth quarter.
In the opening minutes, Doddridge ran a 32 yarder in for six points, but failed to connect on the extra point, taking the lead, but leaving room for the Knights to move ahead of them.
LeMasters found Henderson on a 25 yard pass for a Consolidated touchdown, followed by a Casey kick to take the lead, 24-20.
Doddridge took over on downs with 55 seconds to play, and with the clock ticking down to 0.00, Bulldog quarterback, David Limbsomb, in a do or die situation, let go a 12 yarder to Daniel Plauger to score, and take the win, 26-24.
"We've got to be able to stay focused," Caldwell said. "We had way to many blown assignments, and we made enough other mistakes to hurt ourselves."
The Knights rushed 24 times for 161 yards in the game and passed for 156 yards, while the Bulldogs chalked up 41 carries for 172 yards on the ground and had 47 yards in the air.
LeMasters completed 14 of 21 passes, and threw two TD's.
Doak led the Knights in rushing stats, carrying the ball five times for 77 yards, one touchdown. Freshman Jordan Baker rushed 16 times to collect 63 yards; Josh Ruble, five carries for 20 yards; and Skylar Leasure had one carry for 11 yards.
Catching the ball for the Silver were: Koty Martin, seven catches for 80 yards; Henderson, two for 34 yards, two touchdowns; Doak, one catch for 22 yards; Baker, one for 15 yards; and Swen Scheidemantel, one catch for 13 yards.
The Knights lost three of three fumbles in the game while the Bulldogs coughed up the ball five times, losing four.
The Silver Knights will have their work cut out for them this week as they strive to put a check in the win column when they travel to New Martinsville to take on the 1-1 Magnolia Blue Eagles at Alumni Stadium.