Ferry runs wild in shootout win over Harrison, 36-34
CADIZ — There were so many players responsible for Martins Ferry’s victory over Harrison Central Friday night that Purple Rider head coach Chas Yoder couldn’t single out any one player in particular.
“It was a total team effort. A total team effort,” he kept stressing outside a joyous lockerroom following a 36-34 shootout win at Wagner Field. “It was an entire team effort.”
Evan Carpenter and Chase Goff each ran for 100-plus yards and accounted for four touchdowns as Martins Ferry (3-2) rushed 55 times for 407 yards and five six-pointers. Carpenter, a hard-running 6-2, 215-pound senior, led the way with 15 carries for 189 yards and found the end zone three times. Goff, a shifty 5-9, 165-pound junior, racked up 130 stripes on 26 totes and scored once.
“He (Carpenter) is a stud, but we’ve got a lot of good guys,” Yoder insisted. “He did his job, but so did a lot of other guys and coaches.”
The Purple Riders offensive line just manhandled the Huskies defensive front from the opening drive. They were junior center Zak Dobson; classmate Zeke Bruney and senior Noah Duck at the guards; and junior Peyton Hores and senior Preston Thaman at the tackles.
“They are very good,” Yoder said of his offensive front. “Our entire team is very good, and Harrison Central is good. We knew that.”
Carpenter capped a 6-play, 88-yard drive with a 14-yard burst up the middle in which he drug a pair of tacklers into the end zone. The scoring run came with 5:26 left to play and knotted the count at 34-all. Carpenter than ran for the two points and a 36-34 advantage.
Keying the march was a 39-yard completion from Logan Smith to Carpenter on a 3rd-and-8 that moved the ball from the Martins Ferry 14 to the Huskies’ 47.
The Huskies (3-2) had one last chance but a holding penalty and a huge 11-yard sack of Kobe Mitchell by Dobson snuffed out the threat.
“When you don’t have to throw many passes to win, that’s not bad,” Harrison Central head coach Anthony Hayes said of the Purple Riders potent ground attack. “We had guys right there to make tackles but we just didn’t tackle tonight. The Carpenter kid is a big, strong kid and he earns every yard he gets.
“All you can ask, as a coach, is that your team gives you a chance to win the game or make a play at the end … and we had our chances. We just didn’t make them. We aren’t good enough to not take advantage of those opportunities.”
After Trevor Hanson swept around his left end for a 31-yard scoring run on the opening drive of the game, and Logan Smith ran in for the two points, the visitors led 8-0.
However, the Huskies answered with a pair of 1-yard scoring runs by James Brooks and Caleb Cowans. A Jace Madzia PAT kick made it 13-8 after one quarter. The two TD runs came after interceptions by Mitchell and Brooks.
Carpenter reached the end zone from 6 yards out and Goff found it on a 20-yard scamper. However, both two-point runs failed as the Purple Riders led 20-13 at the half.
Mitchell returned the second-half kickoff 43 yards to set the Huskies up in Purple Riders territory. It took the hosts just six plays to reach the promised land as Mitchell rifled a 12-yard bullet to Trevor Carman on a slant. Madzia’s placement evened things at 20.
Carpenter rumbled 58 yards on Martins Ferry’s second play as the lead exchanged hands again at 28-20 following a two-point run by Smith.
Four plays later, Mitchell scored on a 6-yard run but the two-point pass failed, leaving Martins Ferry on top, 28-26.
Harrison Central got the ball back when Smith went to a knee while fielding a low snap in punt formation at his own 10. It took the Huskies just four plays to re-take the lead as Mitchell lofted a pass into the left corner of the end zone that Jonathan Vermillion came down with for a 22-yard scoring connection. Mitchell ran a draw play for the two points and a 34-28 lead with just under five minutes left to play in the third quarter
Nathan Bertolino and Cowans stopped Goff short of the first down marker on 4th-and-6 inside the Harrison Central 10 on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Huskies eventually had to punt.
Starting at their own 12, Smith found Carpenter in the left flat on 3rd-and-8 and he rambled down the near sideline for 39 yards to the Harrison Central 47. A pair of runs by Goff netted 18 yards and a 15-yard facemask call against the Huskies moved the ball to the 14 from where Carpenter scored.
Carpenter, who was also a standout on defense from his middle linebacker post, also caught three passes for 67 yards. Smith completed half of his 12 attempts for 85 yards. The Purple Riders charted 26 first downs.
Mitchell passed for 233 yards and two TDs on 17-for-28. He also rushed 18 times for 77 yards. Carman caught seven passes for 90 yards and Brooks had five receptions for 75. Vermillion finished with four snags for 64 yards.
Harrison Central moved the sticks 21 times.
Martins Ferry travels to Jimmy Carey Stadium in Weirton Friday to meet the Red Riders, while Harrison Central remains at home to host St. Clairsville in the “Battle for the Coal Bucket.” It will also be homecoming for the Huskies.