UPPERGLADE, W.Va. — A 25-point lead with 8:46 left to play almost evaporated on Webster County but the Highlanders prevailed in a shootout with Calhoun County, 47-44 Saturday evening.
Dawson Tharp scored three touchdowns and Reece Nutter added two more scores as the Highlanders improved to 2-0.
Webster jumped out to a 20-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and they led 28-22 at halftime. The offenses bogged down in the third quarter and the Highlanders capitalized with a huge defensive play. A strip sack by Nutter allowed sophomore lineman Conner Bell to scoop-and-score on a 32 yard fumble return, putting Webster up 34-22 heading into the fourth quarter.
“That was the turning point of the ball game,” Webster County head coach Rodney Tenney said. “They were running it down our throats. That play set the table.”
Touchdown runs from Kadin Wright and Tharp extended Webster’s lead to 47-22 early in the final frame. But the Red Devils scored three touchdowns in a span of six minutes, trimming the deficit to 47-44 with 49 seconds left. Webster however recovered on onside kick to preserve the victory.
“We lost our focus a couple different times,” Tenney said. “We have a very young group and that is going to happen. But it can’t happen like it did tonight. We gave up three scores late and we just need to keep our focus.”
Calhoun senior quarterback Adam Parsons tossed two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores. Levi Richards, Travis Richards and Mason Bailey also had scoring runs for Calhoun (1-1).
Webster County will cap their season-opening three-game homestead Friday when they host fellow unbeaten Tygarts Valley (2-0).
“We are sitting at 2-0 and we have some really young kids,” Tenney said. “We are fortunate to be there and I hope these kids can grow up pretty quickly because things get tougher as we go down the road.”