By John Wickline
For The Tribune
Skylar Carlton’s first catching the football didn't result in much yardage, if any at all here Friday night.
But the Lewis County High School junior wide receiver made the rest of them count, including an interception that sealed the Class AAA No. 17 Minutemen’s 37-19 victory over No. 8 Oak Hill.
Carlton caught five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown in the game, and those catches helped Lewis County open up an offensive attack that had been thwarted pretty much the entire first quarter.
“When the run’s not working, the passing sets the run back up,” Carlton said, whose 23-yard touchdown reception in the waning seconds of the first half gave Lewis County a seven-point cushion on which it expanded upon in the second half.
“They wanted it more than we did,” Oak Hill coach Eddie Souk said. “They beat us up front. They beat us in the secondary. It meant more to them tonight than it did to us. They played with a lot of heart and a lot of ‘want to.’ They deserved the victory.”
After Lewis County’s Jon Jerden scooped up a fumble and sprinted 67 yards for the touchdown on the game’s first offensive play, Oak Hill (5-2) rallied quickly to take a 13-7 lead. Jalen Jones scored first on an 11-yard run, followed five minutes later by Ray Sullivan scoring on a 3-yard plunge.
But after that, it was all Lewis County. Mark Metzgar plowed in from a yard out, a score that had been set up when Carlton found himself all alone behind the Oak Hill defense. He hauled in quarterback Braden Montgomery’s pass at the 1. Less than two minutes later, Carlton again avoided any pass coverage, caught the spiral and back-pedaled in the final 2 yards to give the Minutemen a 21-13 lead at the intermission.
“I sensed all week they really wanted this win,” Lewis County coach Eddie Vincent said. “They thought we weren’t being given enough credit.”
Lewis County (6-2) shut down Jones in the second half, holding him to just 44 yards and forcing Oak Hill into a passing situation. Jones finished with 134 yards on 23 carries.
“You can’t play our 5-2 defense against an attack like Oak Hill has,” Vincent said. “We played a goal line-type of defense.”
Metzar scored twice in the final half, those coming on runs of 1 and 8 yards, and kicker Chris Santalucia added a 25-yard field goal. Metzgar finished with a game-high 137 yards rushing on 22 carries. Montgomery was seven of 10 passing for 120 yards.
Oak Hill cut into the lead with just under six minutes remaining when Deon Marion connected with running back Kadrin Goodman on a 9-yard scoring pass.
Lewis County has the week off before traveling to Clarksburg to face Big 10 Conference foe Liberty on Oct. 26 at Hite Field. Oak Hill travels to Bluefield Oct. 19, the second of four consecutive road games to close out the schedule.
Lewis County 37, Oak Hill 19
Oak Hill 13 0 0 6 – 19
Lewis County 7 14 9 7 – 37
LC – Jon Jerden 67 fumble return (Chris Santalucia kick), 11:35
OH – Jalen Jones 11 run (Jones kick), 6:05
OH – Ray Sullivan 3 run (kick fails), 1:29
LC – Mark Metzgar 1 run (Santalucia kick), 2:01
LC – Skylar Carlton 23 pass from Braden Montgomery (Santalucia kick), 0:35
LC – FG Santalucia 25, 7:05
LC – Metzgar 1 run (kick fails), 3:05
LC – Metzgar 8 run (Santalucia kick), 9:27
OH – Kadrin Goodman 9 pass from Deon Marion (run fails), 5:42
RUSHING – OH: Jones 23-134, Sullivan 8-48, Goodman 7-27, Larry Palmer 1-(minus) 1, Marion 1-(minus) 6. LC: Metzgar 22-137, Caleb Butcher 15-28, Chris Gum 3-18, Montgomery 2-10.
PASSING – OH: Marion 4-11-1 52 yards, Jones 0-1-0 0 yards. LC: Montgomery 7-10-0 120 yards.
RECEIVING – OH: Jones 2-27, Sullivan 1-16, Goodman 1-9. LC: Carlton 5-94, Metzgar 2-26.