HEDGESVILLE - Lane Riner entered the field in the fourth quarter after Troy Markley went down in the first quarter and Casey Horn was injured in the third quarter to lead the Hedgesville Eagles at quarterback and cut the Wheeling Park Patriots lead to seven points with 4:58 to play, before being intercepted by Vondel Bell to give the Patriots a 21-14 victory Friday night at Mumaw Stadium.
"We did very well against a top-10 team to finish up 21-14 with our first- and second-string quarterbacks both going down," Eagles coach Rich Thomaselli said.
"To play a freshman in there and score 14 points, it brings a bright future for these kids."
Wheeling Park’s Lee Mendenhall (1) is brought down by Hedgesville’s Casey Horn (1) on Friday.
Photo by Chris Jackson
After Markley lost a fumble on a bad pitch to Hunter Weaver to give Wheeling Park the ball at the Hedgesville 3-yard line, Lee Mendenhall ran a scamper into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
On the Eagles third possession of the contest, Markley left the game with an injury as he ran a 20-yard scamper down the right sideline. Two plays later, Horn's pass was intercepted and returned for 102 yards, but the play was called back via penalty by the Patriots. Lee Peluchette scampered down the left sideline for a 32-yard touchdown with 8:51 to play in the second quarter for a 14-0 halftime lead.
The Patriots added another touchdown in the third quarter.
Alex Triveri threw a pair of 14-yard screen passes to Boo Lathon and a third screen pass for 36 yards to Bell before Eric Banks scored on a 9-yard run for a 21-0 Wheeling Park lead with 5:23 to play in the third.
On the ensuing possession, the Eagles scored, but lost Horn during the drive.
Connor Shipley ran five times for 33 yards before Horn ran a 9-yard gain, and left the game with an injury.
Riner began to bring the Eagles to within one possession.
Shipley added five more carries for 35 yards in the drive, the last carry being a 5-yard touchdown run on fourth down to give the Eagles their first touchdown of the contest with 11:54 to play in the fourth.
On the Eagles next possession, they ran a nine-play, 51-yard drive capped off with a 22-yard Riner pass to Eli Gates to cut the Wheeling Park lead to seven points.
Wheeling Park's next drive stalled with 1:49 to play, placing the ball back in Riner's hands at the Hedgesville 46-yard line.
Riner found Shipley on a 17-yard swing pass that was advanced to the Patriots 24 with a penalty. After a penalty for each side, Riner attempted to find Jason Mayles, but was intercepted by Bell, ending the drive with 1:15 left to play.
"He's fearless," Thomaselli said of Riner.
"This was a big game for him, and he remained focused and made calls he could handle. The seniors led him as he led them. I feel bad for Troy (Markley) and Casey (Horn), but Casey even got into giving Lane a couple plays and they worked. It was awesome."
The Patriots begin their run for the playoffs next week as they improved to 7-3, while the Eagles finish the year 4-6.
"Hedgesville did a nice job in giving us a tough game. We didn't execute well, and didn't play our best ball," Wheeling Park coach Chris Daugherty said.
"We will take a win any way we can. I am pleased that we are in, but we are going to have to play better than what we did in this game if we want to make a run."
"I wish Wheeling Park the best," Thomaselli said of the Patriots' playoff appearance. "Being from up north originally, I hope Wheeling Park represents the Northern Panhandle well."