MORGANTOWN - All the Morgantown football team needed Friday night was a fifth down.
It happened in 1990, when referees mistakenly gave the Colorado Buffaloes five downs to beat Missouri.
The Mohigans weren't as lucky in a 20-14 loss to Ohio state power Steubenville.
Steubenville’s Dashon Redman races Morgantown’s Jordan Malone to the edge Friday night.
Bob Gay/The Dominion Post
''Our kids played hard,'' Morgantown coach John Bowers said. ''We just had a little mistake. We had a miscommunication. It happens.''
The situation: Trailing, 20-14, Morgantown (5-2) faced a first-and-10 at the Steubenville 11 following a defensive pass interference call.
MHS tailback Chazzy Thomas, who finished with 89 yards rushing and a touchdown, rushed for a yard to the 10.
That's when confusion set in for the Mohigans.
Johnson lofted a pass into the end zone on second down, but the MHS receiver was called for offensive pass interference, which was a loss of 15 yards and a down.
Johnson, looking at the chain gang on the sidelines, still thought it was second down.
After completing a 10-yard pass to Alex Weidman, Johnson scrambled on a run to the Steubenville 6-yard line thinking fourth down was still upcoming.
''I knew it was fourth down,'' Bowers said. ''The guy on the sideline still had it marked third down. There were a lot of things going on. It was just some confusion.''
Johnson, who played a near-perfect game by completing 9 of 10 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown and helped drive the Mohigans deep into Steubenville territory with a 10-yard run, said he also saw one official signal third down prior to his final running play.
''One ref had three fingers up,'' Johnson said. ''It was just a miscommunication. I thought it was still third down. I was getting ready for the fourth-down call and then (the referees) said it was already fourth down. It's a tough loss.''
Steubenville (6-2), behind its power rushing attack, ran out the final two minutes of the clock to seal the game.
''We played with passion,'' Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia said. ''Everybody plays hard but you've got to play with a passion. In the second half, we played with passion. Everyone turned it up a notch. Morgantown is a good football team that is well coached. (It) was our night.''
While the final seconds were the highlight, Steubenville won the game with a strong second-half defensive effort and its running attack on offense.
The Mohigans, behind big plays from their running game and Johnson's arm, took a 14-6 halftime lead. Shane Commodore caught a 27-yard scoring pass from Johnson and Chazzy Thomas scored on a 16-yard run.
But, that would be all the scoring MHS would muster.
Steubenville running back Dashon Redman made sure of that. The big and powerful senior carried 29 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He carried 14 times for 115 yards in the second half.
It was Redman's 1-yard run with 8:02 remaining in the fourth quarter that provided the winning score.
''He's the real deal,'' Bowers said of Redman. ''He's a good runner.''
That's when the Mohigans went for one final drive.
Johnson completed three short passes to Blaine Stewart, hit Stone Wolfley with a pass across the middle and then carried two more times for 19 yards to help MHS get to the Big Red 11-yard line.
''It took us a while to get started but once we did, we really gave an outstanding effort,'' Saccoccia said. ''I'm always proud of our players for all the work they put in but I'm extra proud of the way they played in the second half.''
(Herald Star sports writer Ed Looman contributed to this report).