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Rockets put up valiant fight, fall 23-14 to Wildcats
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By Leigh Ann Rutledge
The Conotton Valley Rockets fell to the visiting Edison Wildcats 23-14 Friday night in a hard-fought non-league contest.
Despite regulations limiting the number of spectators, fans on both sides cheered for their team and booed during the tension-filled final seconds of the game.
A fumble by the Wildcats gave the Rockets the ball with 2:24 left in the game. Conotton Valley began a drive on the Edison 12-yard line. Sophomore Ben Mauge was in the quarterback position and threw an incomplete pass. A run by Maddox Walter brought up third-and-one. Mauge picked up sufficient yardage to move the chains.
With less than a minute left in the game, Mauge threw an incomplete pass and was sacked on the next play. Facing third-and-13 on the 50-yard line, Mauge was sacked again.
Rocket fans began to boo and tempers flared. Two penalty flags were thrown by officials. However, only one penalty was acknowledged for a dead ball-false start against the Rockets. Facing third down again, a bag snap from center sent Mauge chasing the loose ball. He was sacked in the backfield. Mauge threw an incomplete pass on a fourth-and- 25 play, turning the ball over to the Wildcats, who ran the clock out to preserve the victory.
The Wildcats struck first, scoring on a one-yard run by junior running back Tyler Griffith with 2:39 left in the first quarter. The extra point by Mason Montgomery was good, giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead.
The Rockets answered with 6:29 left in the first half on a two-yard run by Walter and a two-point conversion pass from Evan Rice to Chop Cottis, giving the Rockets an 8-7 lead.
With just over three minutes remaining in the half, the Wildcats faced fourth-and-three, close to the end zone. Montgomery kicked a 16-yard field goal to give the Wildcats a 10-8 lead going into halftime.
Edison began the third quarter in possession of the ball. Their drive was hindered by a substitution infraction, but the ‘Cats clawed on with a three-yard touchdown run by Griffith. The extra point was good making the score, 17-8.
A Rocket drive resulted in a turnover on downs to the Wildcats. The visitors began the fourth quarter with the ball, scoring on an eight-yard run with 9:11 left on the clock. A two-point conversion pass failed, giving Edison a 23-8 lead.
An illegal procedure by the Wildcats on the kick-off resulted in a penalty and a re-kick. Starting on their own 44-yard line, junior Garson Imes caught one of his three catches, moving the ball into Wildcat territory. The drive continued and, with 5:47 left in the game Rice threw a touchdown pass to Imes. The two-point conversion was no good.
Head Coach Don Hertler was proud of his team, noting they competed hard and fought to the end.
“We had a little trouble. They ran the ball at us and we’re pretty good against most people, but they were pretty good up front and had some good skilled kids,” Hertler stated.
The Wildcats had 272 rushing yards. Griffith had 106 yards on 13 attempts and two touchdowns. Ethan Waggoner, a sophomore, had 84 yards on 17 attempts.
Walter had 122 yards rushing on 21 attempts and one touchdown. Rice had 44 yards on seven carries.
Imes had 45 yards receiving and one touchdown. Mauge had two catches for 16 yards.
On the defensive side, Imes led the Rockets with nine tackles and a fumble recovery. Burlson, Rocco Romeo and Walter each had seven tackles.
Hertler noted the team will learn from this loss and get better from it.
The Rockets face Steubenville Central Catholic on the road Thursday, Sept. 10. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.
CVHS 0 8 0 6 – 14
EHS 7 3 7 6 – 23
EHS – Griffith 1-yd. run (Montgomery kick). 2:39.
CVHS – Walter 2-yd. run. Cottis two-point conversion. 6:34.
EHS – Montgomery 16-yd. field goal. 3:23.
EHS – Griffith 3-yd. run. (Montgomery kick). 7:31.
EHS – 8-yd. run. Two-point conversion no good. 9:11.
CVHS – Pass to Imes. Two-point conversion no good. 5:47.
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