The constant rain created miry conditions as the Wildcats wreak havoc ending Moorefield’s season with a 30-7 victory during senior night last Friday in Franklin.
“I was proud of their effort. I thought we fixed some mistakes from last week on the defensive line and in coverage. Give Pendleton County credit, they have great playmakers. They made plays and are well-coached. The rain, mud and the conditions no matter what it is, I am proud of their effort,” Moorefield coach Matthew Altobello stated.
“I told them in the locker room after the game, all season long you couldn’t tell what our record was because they came back to work every week and never hung their heads. That type of resiliency from our seniors going all the way down is exactly what we need to build back up. It was nice to see them fight. No matter what the score or their record, they always fought. That helps moving forward trying to build back up to greatness. Now it is a matter where we need to be that team making big plays.”
A sloppy ordeal that kept the teams from reaching the end zone until the final seconds of the first quarter was a test of resiliency.
After the Pendleton County senior ceremony and captains greeting, it was time to commence the contest as fans tried to find cover under umbrellas, ponchos and tents.
“I’m incredibly proud of these guys, especially on senior night you always want to send them off right with a win. Of course against Moorefield, any time you can get a win against those guys is good,” Pendleton County coach Zach Smith remarked.
“They have a lot of tradition and a good coach. Coach [Matthew] Altobello is trying to build that and they came ready to play. They came out with some energy and it took us a little bit of time to get started, but we got things rolling. We played well and our defense carried us, especially in the second half of the season. We came up with some big turnovers and Tim Thorne is a playmaker, he has a knack for getting to the ball. Toward the end of the second half this reminded me of our Tucker County game, except it was two times worse. It was a slop hole, but you have to find a way to win. The rain and mud is a great equalizer and we found a way to get it done. Hopefully we can carry the momentum going into next week against Berkeley Springs and keep it going after that and we hope to host a playoff game.”
On the game’s opening series for the Yellow Jackets starting at the 30-yard line after a kickoff return by Jackson Weese, Moorefield couldn’t reach a first down only making five yards on a carry by Dequavious Kornegay with a stop by Pendleton County’s Dalton Dunkle leading to a punt.
The Wildcats began on their own 2-yard line and quarterback Kole Puffenberger was sacked immediately by Moorefield’s Blake Funk for a 16-yard loss.
Pendleton County’s Dallas Sly gained five yards and was taken down by Moorefield’s Matthew Jenkins, then a screen pass to Joshua Wagoner was read by Yellow Jackets’ Seth Wilson creating a loss to force a punt.
It was just under four minutes into the game and the Yellow Jackets has possession for the second time, but couldn’t gain traction in another three and out punt situation despite a seven yard pass from quarterback Brent Moran to Jenkins on third down.
Pendleton County gained one first down at the 29-yard line on a run by Sly, but the series came to a halt as Funk made another sack, then a pass went through the hands of Isaiah Gardner, and a third down catch by Garnder was four yards shy of the marker with a tackle by Moorefield’s Weese and Wilson creating a punt at 3:46.
Moorefield’s Matthew Wright leapt for a pass, but couldn’t haul it in and there was a holding penalty on the Yellow Jackets backing up possession to the 10-yard line.
Weese dropped a pass and Kornegay was stopes for no gain by Pendleton County’s Phillip Hull prior to an incompletion forcing a punt.
Pendleton County started at the Yellow Jackets 43-yard line with 2:30 left in the first quarter.
Moorefield’s Weese deflected the first pass attempt, then Puffenberger was tackled fora two-yard loss by Matthew Weatherholt.
Pendleton County’s Timothy Thorne turned out to be both an offensive and defensive threat during the game notching two interceptions, but this time caught a pass for 11 yards and was tackled by Moorefield’s Jaydon See and Coleman Mongold.
Sly converted the fourth down with a five yard run with Vincent Cyrus and Seth Wilson making the stop.
Two plays later, Thorne made a 23-yard touchdown catch and Sly added the two-point conversion to give the Wildcats an 8-nil lead with two seconds to spare in the first quarter.
Moorefield had a brief series as Javen Fawley gained three yards to reach midfield, then Moran’s pas was intercepted by Pendleton County’s Thorne with a return to the Yellow Jackets 29-yard line with a tackle by Weese.
Wagoner made a 25-yard catch for the Wildcats and was dragged down at the four yard line on a touchdown saving tackle by Mongold.
The very next play, however, Puffenberger turned a quarterback keeper into a touchdown at the 10:11 mark of the second quarter and the extra point by Evan Kile was good for a 15-0 advantage.