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MINERS' FORCE 4 TURNOVERS, DEFEAT UNIVERSITY 27-15 IN MORGANTOWN

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — On Friday night at Mylan Pharmaceutical Stadium, two struggling football teams, University and Mountain Ridge (Md.), hoped to get back into the win column. And while only 25 Miners made the trek across Interstate 68 from Frostburg, those in uniform were plenty big, strong and talented, especially 6-foot-3, 292-pound University of Maryland commit Tre Smith, as they dominated the line of scrimmage on their way to a solid 27-15 victory over the young Hawks.

It took Mountain Ridge (3-3) just five plays on its opening possession to drive 58 yards and score on hard-running Jeff McKenzie’s 18-yard burst up the middle. Kicker Ashton Shimko missed the extra point, but continuously placed kickoffs into the endzone to leave University (2-5) with poor field position most of the night. After a UHS punt, another MRHS score was erased on a penalty, and Shimko’s 46-yard field goal attempt just missed.

Still down just 6-0, Hawks freshman quarterback Chase Edwards, making his first varsity start, was hit just as he delivered a pass, and McKenzie picked it off, leading to a quick Miners touchdown drive capped by quarterback Bryce Snyder’s 2-yard dive. The try was good, and UHS trailed 14-0 late in the first quarter.

University coach John Kelley turned to his team leader, running back/linebacker Logan Raber, to keep the game close, and the power driving senior pounded through holes and carried defenders on several strong runs before finishing off the 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Lizzie Edwards drilled the PAT to halve the lead, and the Hawks got the ball back immediately with an onside kick, but they went 3-and-out.

Later in the half, another bruising Miners runner, fullback Jay Miller, broke several tackles on his way to a 32-yard touchdown to regain the Mountain Ridge two-touchdown lead at the break.

The second half was once again controlled up front on both sides of the ball by the burly Miners senior line, which averaged a whopping 267 pounds. Running back Devin Lissau scooted in from the five late in the third quarter to make it 27-7. The Hawks finally connected on a big play midway through the final quarter when Edwards fired a perfect strike to junior wide receiver Andrew Myers for a 49-yard gain.

When Raber pounded in from the 1 shortly after, then skipped in on a left sweep for the two-point conversion, UHS pulled closer, 27-15. But the onside kicked failed, and even though the defense forced a punt with 3:50 left, a fumble erased the Hawks’ last-gasp chance, and the Miners ran out the clock for the win.

After the game, a decidedly upbeat Kelley was quick to praise the visitor’s old-school style and precise execution.

“That was some old-fashioned football,” he said. “They’re big and experienced, and we’re young and still growing. So even though we weren’t surprised by what they did, they were good enough to still be successful. Two running backs over 100 yards is tough to overcome, but I liked the way we battled back.”

Just as quickly, Kelley was easily able to identify both a great game by Raber, who led all rushers with 130 yards on 15 carries, as well as the positives displayed by Edwards in his first start.

“Logan was tremendous for us,” he said, “running hard and making tackles all over the field. And I thought Seth made good decisions running the offense. He’s a heady kid, and he did a lot of good things out there. He just needs more reps and it’s clear that he’s our future.

“I’ve been around for a long time,” he said, “and I know our day is coming. It’s always difficult to lose, but we’ll get better the rest of the year, plus we have some winnable games left on our schedule, and we certainly want to finish up strong.”

Mountain Ridge moves to 3-3 on the season with the win. They will return home to Frostburg next Friday evening and welcome region rival Northern to Miners' Stadium for Homecoming 2019. The Huskies from Accident are now 5-1 on the season following their dominating win over Moorefield this evening.  


FALCONS USE STRONG 4TH QUARTER TO PULL AWAY FROM MOUNTAIN RIDGE, 35-20

SHORT GAP, W.Va. — Frankfort showed off its offensive diversity on Friday night, scoring on a drive that spanned nearly an entire quarter, mixed in with two home run shots by Nick Marley, and a long interception return late to seal it as the Falcons defeated Mountain Ridge, 35-20, Friday night at Frankfort Stadium.

“That was a big win for us,” said Frankfort head coach Kevin Whiteman. “I knew it was going to be a tough battle. Mountain Ridge played a real good game. We made some big plays when we had to make them to pull the victory out.”

Marley finished with 194 yards on 16 carries (12.1 yards per carry) and two touchdowns as Frankfort outgained Mountain Ridge 318-293.

The teams traded drives at the stat, with the Falcons forcing a three-and-out and the Miners recovering a fumble on Frankfort’s first play from scrimmage. Frankfort forced another three-and-out, blocking a 50-yard field goal attempt by Ashton Shimko and downing the ball at the Falcons’ 9-yard line.

From there, the Falcons embarked on a 22-play drive that spanned 10 minutes and 29 seconds, capped off with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Jansen Knotts to Peyton Shanholtz on a third-and-16. Braden Aldridge booted the point after.

“When you can make a long drive, a 22-play drive like that and burn almost a whole quarter, that’s pretty good,” said Whiteman. “You kind of set the tone a little bit.”

The scoring play was Frankfort’s fifth third-down conversion of the drive, with Marley having a pair of third-down runs of 6 and 8 yards, Knotts getting three yards on a third-and-2 and Jansen Moreland converting a third-and-6 with a 6-yard run a few plays before the touchdown.

Mountain Ridge was called for encroachment three times, but an illegal block below the waist penalty by the Falcons set them back to the Mountain Ridge 29, with an incompletion coming prior to Shanholtz’s touchdown.

“I know it’s early in the game, but you could tell emotionally when we came off,” said Miners head coach Ryan Patterson, “particularly on the penalty that moved them back, then they score on the long third down, you could kind of see — we hung in there, hung in there, hung in there, and then we broke. You could kind of see that in our spirits when that happened.”

The Miners got to work on offense, with Jeff McKenzie returning the ensuing kickoff to the Mountain Ridge 39-yard line before he ran it 14 yards on first down to get into Frankfort territory, Devin Lissau ran twice for 11 yards combined, then two plays later rushed six yards with a 15-yard penalty on the Falcons setting up the Miners at the Frankfort 15.

Following a Jay Miller run for five yards, Lissau took the handoff from the left side of the field, cutting back up the right side with plenty of space and into the end zone from 10 yards out. Ashton Shimko’s PAT tied the game at 7-7 with 7:35 to play before halftime.

Frankfort’s Connor Parish nearly broke free for a 95-yard score on the ensuing kickoff, but a pair of Mountain Ridge defenders converged on him and brought him down at the Frankfort 33. It didn’t make much difference for the Falcons, however, as Marley took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage, gaining five yards initially before shaking off a pair of would-be tacklers and outrunning everyone for a 67-yard touchdown run. Aldridge’s extra-point conversion gave Frankfort the 14-7 lead 18 seconds after Lissau’s touchdown.

The teams traded three-and-outs and interceptions — Frankfort’s Andrew Westfall made a one-handed grab near the sideline and Colin Lowry intercepted a pass for the Miners on the Falcons’ ensuing play after Westfall’s pick — before Ashton Shimko’s 37-yard field goal attempt right before halftime went wide right.

After forcing a turnover on downs on a nearly-five-minute drive for the Falcons, Mountain Ridge went on a long drive of its own — 15 plays and 6:55 of clock — before McKenzie tied things 14-14 on a 3-yard plunge. Shimko booted the PAT with 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

On the sixth play of Frankfort’s ensuing drive, Marley plowed over a defender and outran everyone yet again, reaching the end zone on a 66-yard dash. Aldridge converted the point-after to give Frankfort its third lead with 9:59 remaining.

The Falcons sealed the deal, for all intents and purposes, on the Miners’ ensuing drive, with Shanholtz intercepting a pass and returning it 80 yards for a score on Mountain Ridge’s 15th play of the drive. Aldridge booted the PAT to double Frankfort’s lead, 28-14, with 4:35 to go.

The Falcons forced three incompletions before getting a sack on fourth down to force a turnover on downs. On the first play from scrimmage, J.J. Blank ran 17 yards nearly untouched for a score, with Aldridge’s extra point putting Frankfort ahead 35-14.

Blank finished with six carries for 33 yards, Knotts had six rushes for 26 yards and Moreland four attempts for 20 yards.

“I’m very proud of our offensive line,” said Whiteman. “Without them, we’re nothing. They blocked hard, played hard.

“We had that big boy that’s going to Maryland (Tre Smith) on the defensive front and he made some plays, but our offensive line did a great job tonight.”

Lissau scored his second touchdown to put the score at its final, reaching the end zone on a 27-yard pass from Bryce Snyder with 47 seconds left.

“It was a game of emotions and we couldn’t handle the emotional swings,” Patterson said.

Lissau finished with 17 carries for 63 yards. McKenzie led the Miners’ backfield with 16 rushes for 68 yards. Mountain Ridge was without Jared Horsman, its leading rusher from a week ago (11 carries for 112 yards), as he was out due to injury. Snyder was 9 of 19 through the air for 107 yards.


2019 MOUNTAIN RIDGE VARSITY FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

DATE TIME OPPONENT H/A VENUE/RESULT
09/06/2019 7:00 PM FORT HILL HOME L, 7-56
09/13/2019 7:00 PM CATOCTIN HOME L, 0-43
09/20/2019 7:00 PM ALLEGANY AWAY W, 37-14
09/27/2019 7:00 PM HAMPSHIRE (WV) HOME W, 36-0
10/04/2019 7:00 PM FRANKFORT (WV) AWAY L, 20-35
10/11/2019 7:30 PM UNIVERSITY (WV) AWAY UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL
10/18/2019 7:00 PM NORTHERN HOME MINERS' STADIUM
10/25/2019 7:00 PM WILLIAMSPORT AWAY WILLIAMSPORT HIGH SCHOOL
11/1/2019 7:00 PM KEYSER AWAY ALUMI FIELD

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MOUNTAIN RIDGE MINER FOOTBALL

NORTHERN GARRETT @ MOUNTAIN RIDGE
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