Dragons lose heartbreaker to Tornadoes in OT, 22-21
Published 3:18 am Monday, October 31, 2022
By RYAN WALKER
For The Ironton Tribune
PROCTORVILLE — The Fairland Dragons made plays when they needed to, but still came up one play short as the West Muskingum Tornadoes pulled off an overtime upset 22-21 on Friday night at Jim Mayo Memorial Stadium.
Email newsletter signup
Still without a rostered quarterback, the Dragons were forced to continue using their committee of quarterbacks for the third straight week. Steeler Leep took the bulk of the snaps on Friday, passing for 135 yards while running for 74 yards and three scores.
Fairland (7-4) fielded the opening kickoff and put together a 65-yard drive, running off 14 plays and consuming nearly nine minutes off the clock to get the first score of the game.
Leep finished off the drive as he would nose his way in from one yard out for the score. Gabe Polcyn would add the extra point to give the Dragons a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
On the drive, Leep carried the ball eight times, including an 11-yard burst on a third-and-two play to keep the drive going.
After forcing West Muskingum to punt, the Dragons would wind up going in the wrong direction on their second drive.
Negative plays and two critical penalties backed the Dragons up to their own 18 and a third-and-27 situation.
Facing a passing situation, Leep dropped back to pass and tried to hit Keegan Smith running down the Fairland sideline only for Tornado safety Jake Anton to make a leaping interception to give the ball to West Muskingum at the Dragon 35.
The Tornadoes would capitalize on the turnover, finding the end zone nine plays later.
The scoring play came on an 8-yard run from Rashid Sesay on a jet sweep. Silas Kuhn added the point after try and the score was tied up at 7 with 2:10 left in the half.
Sesay finished the game as the leading rusher with 168 yards on 21 carries. Slater Sampsel finished the night with 5 catches for 59 yards.
The lone score in the third period came from the Tornadoes as Anton would hit Sampsel on a 29-yard touchdown pass to cap off a 10-play, 83-yard drive to give West Muskingum a 14-7 lead with 3:11 on the clock.
Early in the fourth quarter, Sesay took another jet sweep and managed to turn the corner for a 50-yard gain and setting up the Tornadoes at the Fairland 21 and a chance to go up two scores.
However, the Dragon defense would stand tall, stopping the Tornadoes on four straight plays including an incomplete pass on fourth down to get the ball back with 9:21 to play.
Fairland moved quickly into Tornado territory as the offense began to find some rhythm.
But just when things were beginning to click, a sack on first down backed the Dragons up and would ultimately stall the drive out as they turned the ball over on downs with 4:05 remaining in the game.
Again the Fairland defense would make another stand, forcing another punt and giving their offense the ball back needing to go 80 yards with 2:58 remaining.
With time running out, the Dragons needed a big play. Five plays later, they would find that play courtesy of Brycen Hunt.
Hunt caught a screen pass from Leep, slipped between two Tornado tacklers and streaked down the far sideline into the end zone to pull the Dragons to within one point.
Polcyn added the extra point to tie the game with 1:21 left in regulation.
Hunt finished the night racking up 119 yards receiving on 10 catches.
West Muskingum (9-2) got a great kickoff return from Connor Hill to start the ensuing drive at their own 48 with 1:12 on the clock.
The Tornadoes managed to make it to the Fairland 27 after two completions from Anton with his second one being to fullback Ty Shawger over the middle for a 14-yard gain.
With just 11 second remaining, Anton made one final hurl to the end zone as time expired, but Leep intercepted the under thrown ball in the end zone and attempted to return it only to be pushed out of bounds in front of the West Muskingum bench to end regulation.
In overtime, Fairland got the ball first and needed just four plays to punch it in.
The score came from Leep, who bulled his way into the end zone. Polcyn added the extra point to put the Dragons ahead 21-14.
On West Muskingum’s possession, it took four plays — all runs by Sesay — for the Tornadoes to get into the end zone with the touchdown coming on a 3-yard on third-and-goal.
West Muskingum head coach Nate Brownrigg didn’t hesitate and immediately decided to go for the two points and the win.
On the play, Anton’s pass to Hill fell incomplete, but a defensive pass interference call gave the Tornadoes another chance.
With a second chance, West Muskingum quickly broke the huddle and ran a quick toss to Shawger who went into the end zone untouched to complete the exciting finish.
West Muskingum 0 7 7 0 8 = 22
Fairland 7 0 0 7 7 = 21
F — Steeler Leep 1 run (Gabe Polcyn kick), 3:02.
WM — Rashid Sesay 8 run (Silas Kuhn kick), 2:10.
WM — Slater Sampsel 29 pass from Jake Anton (Silas Kuhn kick), 3:11.
F — Brycen Hunt 63 pass from Steeler Leep (Gabe Polcyn kick), 1:21.
F — Steeler Leep 7 run (Gabe Polcyn kick)
WM — Rashid Sesay 3 run (Ty Shawger run)
First downs 16 17
Rushes-yards 45-204 38-112
Passing yards 85 144
Total yards 289 256
Cmp-Att-Int 10-16-1 14-17-1
Fumbles-lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-35.5 4-21.5
Punts-average 2-32.0 2-32.5
RUSHING – West Muskingum: Rashid Sesay 21-168 TD, Ty Shawger 14-31, Jake Anton 4-5, Team 1-0; Fairland – Steeler Leep 22-74 2TD, Zion Martin 10-32, Kam Kitts 1-11, Brycen Hunt 4-minus 5, Quentin Cremeans 1-0.
PASSING – West Muskingum: Jake Anton 9-15-1 76 TD, Slater Sampsel 1-1-0 9; Fairland – Steeler Leep 12-14-1 135 TD, Jack Hayden 2-3-0 9.
RECEIVING – West Muskingum: Rashid Sesay 3-7, Slater Sampsel 5-59 TD, Ty Shawger 2-19; Fairland – Brycen Hunt 10-119 TD, Kam Kitts 1-9, Zion Martin 1-7, Steeler Leep 1-5, Keegan Smith 1-4.
MISSED FIELD GOALS– Gabe Polcyn, Fairland, 42 (short).