By Brett Barnes
On a night that Noah may not have survived, two high school teams with a lot of dislike for each other, battled and scraped and clawed. The end result came down to one drive.
Waynesville entered the night 6-3 and holding precariously to a playoff spot while M-U was playing for pride. The Spartans punted on their opening possession, and two plays later the weather reared its ugly head. Quarterback Alex Moore never really had the snap from center, and on the hand off, the ball squirted free, where it was picked up by a Waynesville defensive player giving the Spartans an early 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs answered quickly when Moore hit Quinton Weiss with a slant pattern, and Q ran 66 yards to the Spartan ten yard line. Three plays later on 4th and 1, Krue Thwaits carried the ball around right end but was tackled for loss, and the Spartans had held.
Three plays later, the Spartans were forced to punt, but on fourth and three, M-U jumped offside, giving the Waynesville another set of downs. They took full advantage when quarterback Troy Black, carried around end 73 yards untouched. The extra point sailed true, and it was 14-0 Spartans as the first quarter ended.
Two punts later, M-U finally found its offense. A quick one minute drive ended in the end zone, when Moore hit Senior Chase Martens from the 12yd line with a beautiful screen pass, making the score 14-6. Inexplicably, the Bulldogs went for two, and the try was no good.
The start of the third quarter brought more rain and more mistakes. The Bulldogs had to punt deep in their own end, but Waynesville fumbled and the Bulldogs had new life at midfield. Although the drive stalled, the next punt was downed at the 1 yard line.
The Spartans began a slow, methodical, power drive from their own one yard line. At midfield, a beautiful half-back option pass went to a wide open receiver. However, the weather struck once again, and the pass was dropped forcing Waynesville to punt again.
This time the Bulldogs would strike. Zach Shield sprinted for 48. Brad Stine followed with a power 10 yard first down run. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… Alex Moore threw his second touchdown pass of the evening to Martens on the same exact play that scored in the first half, and the Bulldog faithful exploded with the score 14-12. This time the Bulldogs had to go for two, but once again, Waynesville held.
It all came down to one drive. Twice in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs had the ball with a chance to take the lead. After one first down, Moore fumbled the snap and Waynesville recovered right at midfield. The Bulldogs, however, held on downs and had chance number two… one drive away from the lead. This drive went three plays and a punt.
Waynesville had the ball with 4:40 to go. One drive to seal the game, and they did it. When the extra point sailed through, the Spartans held an insurmountable 21-12 lead, and that is how it ended.
Waynesville ends at 7-3; M-U finishes 3-7.
Author’s note: I have enjoyed writing these articles for The MiltonNews Daily. This is my last one. I thank you all for the support and kind words over the years. God Bless You and Go Bulldogs!