Wheeling Park outscores John Marshall by 48-28
WHEELING — Wheeling Park came out swinging in what turned out to be an offensive battle and outdueled rival John Marshall 48-28 at Monarch Stadium on Friday night.
The loss will keep John Marshall from making the playoffs and the win is Park’s 10th straight over the Monarchs.
It also gives Park coach Chris Daugherty 77 wins at the helm, making him the winningest coach in school history.
“We had a big week last week,” Daugherty said. “You always worry about relaxing a little bit but we were playing a rival in John Marshall, who is physical and tough and their kids always play hard.
“They have a great coaching staff and we knew it was going to be a battle and it was. We got some guys banged up but it was a good football game.”
The momentum shift of the game came on the first drive of the second half. With John Marshall driving deep into Park territory and looking to make it a three-point game, a fumble at the 1-yard line gave the Patriots possession.
Kennedy Award hopeful Alex Dunlevy and the offense of Park then marched 98 yards in 1:54 and Dunlevy found Carson Namack for a 32-yard touchdown strike to turn what could have been a 24-21 edge into a 31-21 edge.
“It just kind of got away from us at the end,” JM coach Jason Willis said. “We had a big drive there and didn’t punch it in. That’s on me. We probably should have went straight ahead but we thought if we pitched it we might be able to get the edge and we fumbled. That’s on me.
“But the effort was there and we kept ourselves in the game for the most part.”
The Monarchs scored on its ensuing drive as senior quarterback Justin Frohnapfel found Zach Bishop for a 19-yard score but the Patriots continuously answered the call, outscoring JM 17-7 the rest of the way.
“It was an ugly win but a win is a win,” Daugherty said. “The credit goes to JM. They’ve done a great job, especially offensively, the last three to four weeks. They went out and executed. Our defense bent a couple of times but made plays.
“We definitely have to play better next week if we want to continue into the playoffs.”
Dunlevy paced the Patriots with 283 yards through the air and three touchdowns, while Frohnapfel completed 24 of 38 for 330 yards, three scores and one interception.
Kenya Robinson paced the Park rushing attack with 90 yards on 19 carries — 37 of which came on the team’s second drive of the game. He finished the march with a 3-yard touchdown burst to give Park a 7-0 lead.
The Patriots added to their lead in the second quarter when Dunlevy found Shaheed Jackson, who raced toward the end zone for a 42-yard pitch and catch and a 14-0 upper hand.
JM moved the ball all night and finally got on the board after a 71-yard drive that culminated in a Frohnapfel 3-yard plunge to cut the lead in half, 14-7 with 5:32 left in the half.
It took the Patriots just over a minute to answer as Dunlevy launched a 40-yard dime into the hands of Steven Mitchell for six.
A late hit sparked John Marshall’s next drive and set up a 9-yard scoring strike from Frohnapfel to fellow senior Izac Babiczuk to make it a 21-14 contest with 31 seconds left in the half.
Thirty-one seconds is a lot of time for Dunlevy, who hit Namack for 13 yards and Sincere Sinclair for 24 — setting up a 40-yard field goal from Andrew Glass, who knocked it through the uprights with ease as time expired in the half.
He also connected from 34 yards out in the second half.
Dunlevy walked in for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and Robinson added his second score of the game from 17 yards away, while Frohnapfel recorded his final touchdown as a Monarch with a 16-yard pass to Dalton Flowers with 5:14 remaining.
Wheeling Park will continue into postseason play as early projections have the Patriots hosting Capital.
“I don’t know for sure who we are playing yet,” Daugherty said. “Whoever it is — the playoffs are do-or-die. We can’t make mistakes like we made (Friday) and expect to win next week.”