OAK HILL — A jump ball pass play as time expired kept Wyoming East's early perfect record intact.
And, in so doing, it dashed the upset hopes of an Oak Hill team sorely in need of its first win.
Seth Ross, the quarterback for Class AA co-No. 3 Wyoming East, connected with teammate Jacob Bishop on a 6-yard touchdown pass as time expired Friday to hand the Warriors a frantic 44-39 victory over Oak Hill at John P. Duda Stadium. The Red Devils had stopped East standout Caleb Bower on the previous play, but the Warriors still had one more trick up their sleeves.
The winning score erased a 39-38 Oak Hill lead during an exciting back-and-forth final half of action on Hall of Fame Night. The Red Devils, who trailed 18-7 at halftime, pulled to within 24-21 on a 17-yard TD run by Te-amo Shelton late in the third period, then the Warriors answered with a 5-yard score by Bower to go back up 30-21.
The Red Devils were far from finished, though. An exciting hook-and-lateral play involving quarterback Cade Maynor, receiver Braxton Hall and back Leonard Farrow resulted in a 50-yard Farrow TD run to bring the score back to 30-27 in Wyoming East's favor early in the fourth period. Then, Oak Hill almost immediately struck again when Hunter Perdue recovered an onside kick and Shelton eventually crossed the goal line on a 2-yard run for a 33-30 Red Devil lead with 6:41 to go.
"Oak Hill showed up to play tonight," said first-year Wyoming East head coach Larry Thompson. "They pulled some great plays out of their hat.
"That hook-and-lateral was a huge play call and they executed it perfectly. The onside kick hurt us, and momentum swung heavily to their side. Our kids started to hang their heads a little."
But, the Warriors didn't wilt as the game wound down, and Thompson appreciated that. He said his team had to "keep playing" and "fight from start to finish" to escape from the pesky Red Devils and improve to 3-0.
"I'm super proud they didn't give up," he said of his players. "The senior class, they stood up and played well tonight.
"I'm proud of the kids for pulling it out."
"I thought our kids came in and played hard from the first quarter to the fourth," said Oak Hill head coach Jason Blankenship. "We stopped the run game better than I thought we would, but they hit some passes that really hurt us.
"We just came up a little short."
After Oak Hill took the 33-30 lead, Wyoming East responded with a 50-yard TD burst by Bower to make it 38-33, then the Red Devils regained the lead on a Shelton 25-yard score with just 1:34 to play, setting the stage for the winning drive.
"They called two plays in the timeout," Blankenship said. "That was a good job by their coaching staff."
On the game-winner, he said, "We had a freshman corner (against Bishop). I thought he had (pretty good) coverage.
"It was a good call on their part."
"We called two plays, (and we had) plenty of time for a jump ball," said Thompson. "Our receiver went up and made a great play on the ball, and we came away with a win.
"We made one more big play in the end."
Shelton erupted for 172 yards and three TDs on 27 carries for the Red Devils, whose scoring output exceeded the combined total from the first three games (26). Farrow rushed twice for 112 yards and a pair of scores.
Through the air, Maynor was 11-of-19 for 99 yards, one TD and one interception. Hall snared four of those balls for 57 yards and a score.
Logan Frantz and Jason Manns recovered fumbles for the Oak Hill defense.
Oak Hill (0-4) will entertain Lincoln County Friday at 7 p.m., while Wyoming East (3-0) will host James Monroe Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Wyoming East 44, Oak Hill 39
WE (3-0): 6 12 6 20 — 44
OH (0-4): 0 7 14 18 — 39
WE: Caleb Bower 5 run (run failed), 6-0, 7:30
OH: Braxton Hall 30 pass from Cade Maynor (Ethan Vargo-Thomas kick), 7-6, 7:47
WE: Chase York 5 run (pass failed), 12-7, 4:10
WE: Jacob Bishop 9 pass from Seth Ross (run failed), 18-7, 0:20.4
OH: Leonard Farrow 62 run (run failed), 18-13, 11:40
WE: Caden Lookabill 16 pass from Ross (run failed), 24-13, 4:58
OH: Te-amo Shelton 11 run (Shelton run), 24-21, 2:03
WE: Bower 5 run (pass failed), 30-21, 11:14
OH: Farrow 50 run (kick failed), 30-27, 9:54
OH: Shelton 2 run (kick failed), 33-30, 6:41
WE: Bower 50 run (Bower run), 38-33, 4:47
OH: Shelton 25 run (pass failed), 39-38, 1:34
WE: Bishop 6 pass from Ross, 44-39, 0:00
RUSHING — WE: Caleb Bower 24-204-3, Chase York 9-77-1, Alex Hall 11-55, Tanner Jenkins 1-3. OH: Te-amo Shelton 27-172-3, Leonard Farrow 2-112-2, Jarrett McFall 6-42, Logan Frantz 3-12, Omar Lewis 3-17, Cade Maynor 1-(-4).
PASSING — WE: Ross, 204 yards passing and 3 TD passes. OH: Maynor 11-19-1-99-1.
RECEIVING — WE: Caden Lookabill, 121 yards and 1 TD catch; Jacob Bishop, 2 TD receptions. OH: Braxton Hall 4-57-1, Farrow 2-26, Toby Giles 3-5, Frantz 2-10.
TAKEAWAYS — WE: Brandon Simpson (INT). OH: Frantz (FR), Jason Manns (FR).