West Jefferson (1-1) led the Bearcats (1-1) 8-6 after the first quarter, but after 21 points in the second by the visitors and 12 points scored in the same quarter by PVHS, the Halftime scoring saw Paint Valley trail 29-12.
PVHS head coach Corey Dye explained what the halftime message was after the game.
“The message was that we have to stop stopping. It wasn’t about being able to stop us,” Dye said. “It was stopping us with penalties, no conversions. We had a lot of kids stepped up tonight.
“Carson Free had a huge game and Cavan Cooper did a great job passing the ball. Our backs ran hard, our line blocked well, but we just made too many mistakes to allow us to play with a very good team.
The Roughriders were the first to strike in the non-conference game, as Austin Buescher found Tanner Salyers for a 38-yard touchdown with 10:19 on the clock. Mason Book’s two-point conversion try saw him reach the end zone, leaving WJHS ahead by an 8-0 scoreline.
Even after West Jefferson recovered an onside kick, the Paint Valley defense also had some success, with Carson Free intercepting a pass with 9:03 left in the first quarter.
It was just the start of a successful second Free game, as on offense his numbers were solid with nine receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown.
“We knew last year (Carson) was something really special,” Dye said of Free. “We knew Carson Free was going to be a big part of our offense for us. I’m proud of his efforts, and I knew he would have breakout matches, I just didn’t know it was going to be this soon.
“The sky’s the limit for this kid. I think he’s very exceptional, as is our running back Braylon Robertson, as are Dom Chambers and Cavan Cooper.
The Bearcats’ ensuing drive started with 9:03 left in the first quarter and ended with 3:16 left in the first quarter, with a total of 13 plays and 75 yards.
After losing ground, on a third and a 9 play, the Bearcats scored their first touchdown of the game with Cavan Cooper rushing 10 yards on a QB guard for six points. PVHS failed to convert their two-point attempt, leaving West Jefferson ahead, 8-6.
Cooper completed 14 passes for 238 yards with a touchdown. Cooper also rushed for three touchdowns, rushing for 50 yards on 14 carries.
West Jefferson added to their lead with an 11-play drive resulting in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Buescher to Salyers with 10:43 left in scoring. The PAT was good for the Roughriders, leaving PVHS trailing 15-6.
Later in the second quarter, WJHS extended their lead to 22-6 when on the second play from the drive, Spencer George rushed for a 77-yard touchdown that saw him break tackles on his way to the box. goals. The PAT was good and West Jefferson led 22-6 with 5:37 left in the quarter.
Paint Valley continued to fight back with a drive from their own 38-yard line which resulted in their second touchdown of the game. The biggest play of the practice was a 22-yard catch by Free on a tilt for a first down, taking the ball to the WJHS 35-yard line.
Seven plays later, Cooper blasted his way through the defense in front of his offensive line for a 2-yard touchdown with 1:36 left in the second quarter. The PAT fell short, leaving the Roughriders ahead 22-12.
Four plays after kickoff, West Jefferson scored his fourth first-half touchdown, with the second-quarter score reaching the paying dirt on a 23-yard screen pass from Buescher to Book with 48 seconds left. at the second quarter clock. Ben Ryan’s PAT gave WJHS the lead, 29-12, with that score at halftime.
The Roughriders increased their lead to 35-12 with 6:17 left in the third – following a blocked punt that landed in excellent position on the field – when Ethan Hostetler had a 12-yard touchdown run with 6:17 to do in the third. The PAT was also good by Ryan for a 35-12 WJHS lead.
In the fourth quarter, Paint Valley rallied with their third touchdown of the game, Cooper finding Free for a 42-yard touchdown pass — fourth-and-sixth — with 9:16 left in regulation. Braylon Robertson caught a pass from Cooper for the 2-point conversion, bringing PVHS within 15 points of West Jefferson at 35-20.
Robertson had 11 carries for 87 yards and had two catches for 73 yards.
The Roughriders responded with a touchdown four plays later as Hostetler had a 9-yard run for six points with 7:45 left in the final quarter. The PAT was converted for a 42-20 Roughriders lead.
PVHS had its own response as Dom Chambers rushed for a 36-yard touchdown four plays later, leaving 6:26 on the clock. The four-game drive took less than two minutes of playing time. The 2-point attempt fell through, leaving the Bearcats trailing 42-26.
Chambers finished with eight carries for 77 yards and a touchdown.
The Paint Valley defense forced a punt, and the offense started the ensuing drive on their own 26-yard line with 5:39 left in regulation. The first play of practice saw Cooper find Robertson in the middle for a 49-yard gain and a first down at West Jefferson’s 25-yard line.
On the third and 10, Cooper passed to Free for a 17-yard gain, taking the ball to the 7-yard line. The next play, the Bearcats celebrated in the end zone with Cooper running for 7 yards with 4:41 on the clock. Robertson scored on the 2-point conversion, leaving the Bearcats within eight points of the Roughriders at 42-34.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more from my kids,” Dye said. “They left their hearts on the pitch, and that’s what we ask of them. I’m super proud of each one of them. We could have easily turned around sometimes and allowed (West Jefferson) to do what they wanted, but that’s not the type of kids we have in Paint Valley
“Our kids fought until the end, and it’s a huge pleasure to coach these guys.”
West Jeff didn’t let that joy stay at Bainbridge, with the visitors taking a play to reclaim a 15-point lead when George raced towards the end zone on a 52-yard run with 4:30 to go on the clock. The PAT sailed through the uprights for a 49-34 lead as it was the last scoring play of the game.
“We’re up against a lot of young guys and we’ve faced some serious adversity, but I’m not looking for excuses in any way. We have to be able to get saves, and when we get saves we have to be able to score…that’s the game of football,” Dye said. “We weren’t really able to help us in the second half.
“It’s one of those games where I think we can grow because we saw incredible football tonight. We made mistakes in defence, we made mistakes in attack, but they’re all correctable. I feel really good where this team is heading.
“I feel like obviously we’re going to test ourselves in combat again. I’m proud that our schedule is one of the toughest in the league, and that’s going to help us and it’s going to pay off. This will prepare us for the SVC. Tonight was heartbreaking, but I really feel like we’re going to grow from this experience.
For West Jefferson, Austin Buescher was 22 of 30 for 239 passing yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He also had seven carries for 27 yards.
George led WJHS with six carries for 164 rushing yards with two touchdowns. Hostetler had 12 carries for 90 yards and four receptions for 20 yards.
Salyers led the Roughriders with seven receptions for 76 yards and two touchdowns, while Mason Book finished with six receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.
Next up for Paint Valley is an away game as they wrap up their non-conference schedule with a Week 3 game in Fayette County against the Washington Blue Lions on Friday, September 2 at 7 p.m. at Gardner Park. .
West Jefferson next plays Friday, Sept. 2 at home against Greenon at 7 p.m.