RED JACKET – The Gilbert Lions are the 2016 Mingo County Middle School football champions.
With 1:12 left to play in the game Gilbert had a four point lead over the Matewan Tigers. Josh Lester received the handoff from Jacob St. Claire; Lester cut the run back from the left to the right. He squeezed through a hole in the Tigers linebackers and passed the Tigers secondary. He was off to the races; he managed to beat everyone to the end zone on a 52-yard sprint. This would be the final score of the game and the Lions would go on to win the match 30-20.
Lester led the Gilbert Lions rushing attack all night and bulldozed his team into a county championship title. The Lions finished the game with 364-yards of total offense on 46 plays, Lester had 164-yards rushing on 26 carries with three TDs and a two-point conversion. His non-stop ground attack proved he was truly the Most Valuable Player (M.V.P.) of the game.
The Lions won the title but the Tigers did not hand the win over. Matewan got off to a sluggish start in the first quarter by letting the Lions get ahead by 24 points. However, after the initial shock wore of the Tigers put together a 20-point rally to meet Gilbert mid-way through the fourth quarter down by four points.
Gilbert grabbed the initial lead by two short scores from Lester and a long scamper by Anthony Hendricks into the end zone. Matewan scored two quick touchdowns right before halftime. The first was set up by a big 50-yard run from Isa Scales that set up a 1-yard score from Tyrell Hollis. Hollis scored again with no time on the clock before the end of the first half on a 92-yard run.
In the second half Hollis broke off a 45-yard TD with 7:51 showing left to play in the fourth quarter to bring the Tigers within four points of the Lions.
With three minutes left to play in the game Matewan punted to Gilbert and the punt sailed over the Lion’s heads pinning them on their own 24-yard line. The Tiger defense got a great stop and received the ball for one more shot at the win.
Quarterback Daylin Goad, who finished the night connecting on two passes for 19-yards, was sending the ball through the air on every play. The Tigers had multiple opportunities to clinch the lead while the Lions were out of position on most of the passing plays except the Tigers could not haul in the passes.
After the Tigers failed to produce a touchdown the Lions were given the ball on a turnover on downs. That’s when Lester broke loose to seal the victory for the Lions.
Both teams gave great defensive and offensive efforts but the Tigers slow start cost them in the end, while the Lions stayed vigilant behind the running of Lester. The final score stood at 30-20 in favor of Gilbert.
Scores by Quarter:
GMS: 8 16 0 6 – 30
MMS: 0 14 0 6 – 20
364 yards on 46 plays.
Zach Patrick: 11 rushes for 92-yards
Josh Lester: 26 rushes for 164-yards with three TDs and one two-point conversion.
Anthony Hendricks: 8 rushes for 108-yards with one TD.
Jacob St. Claire: one two-point conversion, and one fumble.
Gabe Plumley: 5 tackles, Jacob St. Claire: 4 tackles, Scott Collins: 3 tackles, Zach Patrick: 3 tackles, Matt Hall- 3 tackles.
262 yards on 21 plays
Tyrell Hollis: 10 rushes for 159-yards.
Isa Scales: five rushes for 51-yards.
Daylin Goad: three rushes for 9- yards.
Eli Jones: one rush for 3-yards.
Aiden Taylor: 10 tackles, Tyrell Hollis: 8 tackles, Daylin Goad: 6 tackles, Kub Kennedy: 4 tackles, Devon Coleman: 4 tackles, Conner Thacker: 2 tackles and a sack.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] on on twitter @sidplaster.)