By Gaylen Duskey|
Wirt County scored 21 straight points in the third quarter to break open a close game and post a 55-12 victory over Calhoun County on a rainy night in Elizabeth.
Wirt controlled the scoreboard for most of the first half but that was only because Calhoun was not able to capitalize on the Tigers' mistakes.
But early in the third quarter the Red Devils unleashed big Mason Sheldon on the Tigers and behind his running and a Logan Moore touchdown run Calhoun had cut the deficit to 28-12 and had Wirt on its heels.
But Wirt scored on its next offensive possession and somewhere along the way Sheldon got dinged up (he would not return to the game) and the Tigers took advantage of back-to-back Calhoun turnovers to score twice more to push the lead out to 49-12 putting things away by the start of the fourth quarter. Wirt's last touchdown with 11:53 remaining set the final score.
Wirt, now 6-2 and ranked 10th in Class A, took a 7-0 lead early in the game when quarterback Josh Trembly scored on a four-yard run.
They made it 14-0 a little later in the first as Gavin Goodnight scored on a 10-yard gallop to complete a long drive.
However the Red Devils, 2-7, were not without fight.
Calhoun got back in the contest in a big way when Cameron Jones recovered a Wirt fumble and Logan Moore made the Tigers pay when he got into the end zone from a yard out.
But despite several more chances the Red Devils were to come up empty.
Freshman Cole Ritchie intercepted Wirt twice. Junior David Overbay intercepted the Tigers once and took the ball inside the Wirt red zone only to be frustrated once again when Calhoun turned the ball over.
While the Red Devils were unable to come up with points after turnovers Wirt was able to pierce the end zone twice more before intermission - once on a 20-yard run by Goodnight and once on a 26-yard pass from Trembly to JT Stevens. Chad Moore kicked all four extra points and it was 28-6 at intermission.
Still Calhoun was in the game.
And on the first dive of the third quarter Sheldon's running gave the Red Devils ideas of perhaps pulling off the upset. Sheldon gained 42 and 43 yards on back to back runs and had the Wirt defense shocked.
And, with Moore's second one-yard touchdown, a good outcome for the Red Devils did look possible.
But that's when Calhoun played loose with the football - as Wirt had in the first half - and allowed Wirt to pull away.
The Red Devils fumbled twice and were intercepted twice in the second half and all those turnovers led to points as Damien Rhodes, Jon Cain and Stevens all scored. Moore's three straight extra point kicks made it 49-12 ending the Red Devils' upset dreams.
The last score - a four-yard run by Trembly - set the final score.
Sheldon, a junior, had a big game for the Red Devils as he rushed four times for 96 yards, caught two passes for 80 yards and punted three times for a 49.0 yard average.
Moore backed him up with 27 yards rushing and six of 14 passing for 112 yards.
Austin Satterfield had two receptions for 30 yards while Trent Phillips had two for six. Phillips also had 17 yards rushing.
Wirt plays Roane County in a big matchup next Friday night while Calhoun goes to Clay County to complete the season.
The Wirt and Calhoun junior varsity teams are scheduled to play at Mount Zion Monday at 6 p.m.