Waynesfield-Goshen junior Brandon Turner (24), below, makes a block Friday in a Northwest Central Conference varsity football game against the Upper Scioto Valley Rams in Waynesfield. (Staff photos/Michelle Frank)
WAYNESFIELD — The first half seemed to be downhill as usual for the Waynesfield-Goshen football team. In the second half, however, it seemed like somebody finally flicked on the switch to the 2013 football season.
The Tigers had plenty of second half heroics but fell just short of producing their first win in a 22-16 loss to the Upper Scioto Valley Rams in a Northwest Central Conference varsity football game Friday, the NWCC opener for both teams.
“The first half looked similar to what we have done all season,” said W-G varsity coach Doug Foley. “In the second half, I saw fight. At least we gave ourselves an opportunity to win.”
The Rams ran over and through the Tigers for the entire first half, gaining 234 yards, with 211 on the ground, as they ran up a 22-0 lead at halftime. It appeared the Tigers may gain an early advantage as leading rusherCole Crawford left for most of the game with an injury, and No. 2 guy Dylan Hunsicker had his carries lessened to another injury.
The Rams had an answer, as freshman Austin Sloan carried the ball for 116 yards in the first half alone.
“He is a heck of a football player, and he is even going to get even better as he fills out,” USV varsity coach Josh Spencer said. “He runs hard. We are lucky to have him.”
The Tigers began to make their run immediately in the second half.
After pinning the Rams deep in their own territory to start the second half, the W-G defense put plenty of pressure on quarterback Nick Simon on third down of the opening series, as Simon was called for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety.
Later in the quarter, W-G’s Drew Lament hopped on a blocked punt to set the Tigers up only nine yards from paydirt.
W-G quarterback Lake Turner swept into the end zone three plays later and tacked on the two-point conversion on another keeper to make it 22-10.
Turner again showed his scrambling prowess by moving all over the place to finally give him room to find a wide-open Trey Crumrine for 23 yards on a big 3rd-and-9 conversion early in the fourth quarter.
Crumrine then broke loose for a 32-yard run to set himself up for a 1-yard touchdown on the following play to make it 22-16 with 9:29 to play.
The Tigers saw two chances to win the game slip away in the waning minutes.
On second down, only five yards from the end zone, Crumrine lost control of the slick ball for a turnover with 5:16 remaining in the game.
The W-G defense forced a quick three-and-punt to again give the Tigers good field position at the 38-yard line, but a block in the back penalty forced a turnover on downs.
Once again, the defense came through to give the Tigers a last-ditch hope with 41 seconds remaining, but Turner was unable to get a pass off on the remaining two plays of the game.
Foley said his team had an outstanding effort and likely learned some lessons in the game.
“This one hurts a little more for them,” Foley said. “It is a league game and a rival. That can be a good thing.
“I think we learned about playing four quarters of football tonight,” he said Friday. “Instead of coming out and reacting to the first punch, we need to come out and take that first punch.”
U — Austin Sloan 10-152, Dylan Hunsicker 18-76, Cole Crawford 2-21, Zack Risner 6-4, Chase Rose 2-2, Spencer Holbrook 1-1, Nick Simon 15-(-)17; Total 54-239
W — Trey Crumrine 13-59, Lake Turner 16-23, Luke Hall 5-(-)6: Total 34-76
U — Nick Simon 2-4-51
W — Lake Turner 2-10-46, Trey Crumrine 0-1-0; Total 2-11-46
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U — Dylan Hunsicker 2-51
W — Brandon Turner 1-23, Trey Crumrine 1-23: Total 2-46