PARSONS?-Austin Zirk's 61-yard touchdown reception with 5:14 remaining in regulation lifted Class A, No. 1 Tucker County to a 21-16 win over No. 6 East Hardy Friday night in Potomac Valley Conference action at R.H. Armstrong Memorial Field.
The contest was tied at 14 after two quarters of play and neither squad managed to put any points up in the third stanza, keeping the game deadlocked entering the final frame.
The Mountain Lions, who improved to 7-0 with the victory, took their first lead of the contest when Nestor found Zirk for the go ahead score.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Andrew Davis
Tucker County running back Austin Zirk looks to break free from East Hardy’s Levi Beck Friday night in the Mountain Lions’ 21-16 win in Parsons.
East Hardy had a chance to answer after Zirk's touchdown and was moving the ball into the hosts territory when Derek Nestor intercepted a Shawn Skovron pass at the Tucker County 30-yard line.
After the Mountain Lions ran some of the clock and punted the ball away, the Cougars got the ball back and had one last chance with 2:02 left to play.
After two completions from Skovron moved the ball into Tucker County's end, Tyler Snyder picked off another Skovron pass in the end zone to preserve the win for the Mountain Lions.
Tucker County then kneeled the ball three times and Nestor took a safety on fourth down to kill the clock and ice the victory.
"It was a great win for our program," Tucker County coach A.J. Rapp said. "I thought our defense really stepped up in the second half in not allowing East Hardy to score. I'm really proud with the way our kids never gave up."
The Mountain Lions' defense collected five sacks and intercepted Skovron four times in the game.
The Cougars struck first in the contest when Levi Beck scampered in for an 11-yard touchdown. Beck set up the score when he intercepted Nestor. The two-point conversion made it 8-0 at the 7:11 mark of the first.
East Hardy extended its lead to 14-0 when Skovron completed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Cole Collier with 1:05?left in the opening stanza.
Tucker County finally got on the board when Nestor completed a 23-yard screen pass to Zack Armstrong. The point after failed and the visitors led 14-6.
The Cougars looked to extend the advantage midway through the second quarter, but Nestor stalled the drive when he intercepted a Skovron pass in the Mountain Lions' end zone.
Tucker County then marched down the field and tied the game at 14-14 when Austin Zirk powered in for a 4-yard touchdown at the 5:20 mark.
That score was set up the play before when Nestor completed a 73-yard pass to Nathaniel Goldstein.
"We came out and played a great first half," East Hardy coach Chad Williams said. "I thought our defense really played well and Shawn did a good job of running the offense. But in the second half, Tucker County's defense really stepped up and made some big plays."
Nestor finished the contest 10-of-18 passing for 240 yards. He also had 36 yards rushing for the Mountain Lions.
Goldstein had two catches for 95 yards, while Zirk hauled in two receptions for 58 yards. Zirk also had 57 yards rushing on 15 attempts.
Skovron completed 17-of-36 passes for 256 yards. Josh Parker hauled in nine catches for 13 yards for the Cougars. Beck had 95 yards rushing on 17 carries.
East Hardy will travel to Moorefield for another conference contest next Friday.
Tucker County is idle next week and will return to action on Oct. 19 at Pendleton County