Hampshire nearly pulls off stunning upset of Spring Mills
SUNRISE SUMMIT — Seven days removed from the worst loss in school history, the Trojans showed their resilience and nearly pulled off the biggest upset in the Mountain State before succumbing to Spring Mills in overtime 28-21.
“I’m very happy and very pleased that our kids went out there and battled,” said Hampshire head coach Aaron Rule immediately following the game.
Trailing 21-7 in the 4th quarter, QB Tra Bryson led the Trojan comeback hitting Christian Hicks on an 18-yard pass for a touchdown then calling his own number on 3rd and goal from the 8-yard line with under 30 seconds to go to make it a 1-point game. Christian Hicks converted the PAT to knot the game at 21 with 25.8 seconds left on the clock and essentially sending the game to overtime.
“Down 21-7 our kids could have easily given up and taken another L, but our kids had their backs against the wall and they battled back and made some plays,” stated Rule.
In overtime, Spring Mills took the ball first and QB Chase Henson scrambled 9 yards for a touchdown to put the Cardinals up 28-21 after a successful PAT. When the Trojans had their opportunity in overtime, 3 run plays were stuffed and an incompletion on 4th down allowed Spring Mills to escape with victory.
“I was very happy that our kids were battle tested and they never gave up and kept their heads in the game,” said Rule.
Spring Mills got on the board first with a touchdown in the 1st quarter as Jalen Burton caught a 24-yard pass from QB Chase Henson to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead. Hampshire responded in the 2nd quarter as Alex Pritts pounded his way into the endzone for a 4-yard rushing touchdown and after a successful PAT kick from Christian Hicks the score was knotted at 7.
Cardinal WR Jalen Burton found pay dirt once again in the first half on a 12-yard pass from Chase Henson but a missed kick kept the Trojans within six as the two teams hit the shower rooms at halftime with the score 13-7 in favor of Spring Mills.
Spring Mills kept Hampshire off the scoreboard in the 3rd quarter but managed to stretch their lead to 14 points as Chase Henson ran for an 18-yard touchdown and then tossed a 3-yard pass to Jacob McCarren to convert the 2-point conversion and make the score 21-7 Cardinals.
The Trojans were able to establish the ground game running for 200 yards on 51 attempts, led by senior RB Hunter Staub who had 10 rushes for 86 yards. Alex Pritts toted the rock 17 times and racked up 56 yards and 1 touchdown while QB Tra Bryson was able to use his feet to account for 40 yards and 1 touchdown on 11 rushes.
“We were physical when running the ball. Our guys were getting downfield on our powers and iso’s, and the counter worked really well,” explained Rule.
“I was very happy with the way our offensive line blocked tonight.”
In the air, Tra Bryson went 8-for-15 throwing the pigskin for 138 yards and 1 touchdown. Hunter Staub caught 3 passes for 65 yards, Trevor Sardo had 3 receptions for 40 yards, and Christian Hicks hauled in 2 passes for 33 yards and 1 touchdown.
Christian Hicks went 3-for-3 converting PAT’s.
When asked why he didn’t go for the 2-point conversion to win the game late in the 4th quarter Coach Rule explained his line of thinking, “I like our chances in overtime
Defensively Barret See was a monster accounting for 8 tackles, recovering 1 fumble and forcing another. Another outstanding performance on the defensive side of the football was by Dakota Stickley who ate up double teams accounted for 4.5 tackles constantly living in the Cardinals backfield. Also on defense DB Trevor Sardo nearly completed a 98-yard pick 6 but a penalty at midfield negated the touchdown.
“Defensively we did a good job of contain, and it was something we focused on during practice throughout the week,” Rule said.
Statistically for the Cardinals Chase Henson rushed for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns and passed for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 1 fumble and 1 interception. Aiden Smoot and Zilan Williams were held in check as they ran the ball a total of 10 times for 48 yards.
The atmosphere was full of life at Rannells Field on Friday night from the opening kickoff as it was youth night in Sunrise Summit as the football players and cheerleaders from the Capon Bridge Bengals, the Hampshire Mini-T’s, the Romney Pioneers, and the Capon Bridge Bobcats were honored at halftime. o