Zirk leads Tucker over Vikings

PARSONS – Austin Zirk rushed for 186 yards and ended a late Petersburg drive with an interception as Class A, No. 16 Tucker County kept its playoff hopes alive with a 35-27 win on Friday night.

Zirk also threw for 76 yards for the Mountain Lions, who improved to 6-3 on the season.

Tucker County struck first when a 47-yard pass from Zirk to Logan Fridley set up Zirk’s 2-yard score with 22 seconds left in the opening quarter.

The Vikings had the only other scores in the first half.

The first was all Viking quarterback Ryan Vanmeter as he ran and passed his team down the field. The drive ended when Vanmeter hit Alex See from nine yards out.

Seth Underwood entered the game for Zirk at quarterback and his pass was intercepted by Chris Halterman, who returned it for a score to make it 13-7 at halftime.

Both offenses came alive in the second half with Zirk running for a pair of 41-yard touchdowns and passing for a score on a fourth-down play to Dusty Conrad.

Zirk scored one more time with 1:10 left on the game clock on an 8-yard plunge up the middle for the final points of the evening for the hosts.

Petersburg scored on the final play of the third quarter on a Vanmeter blast from two yards out.

The Vikings added another touchdown at the 5:37 mark when Vanmeter hit Josh Inskeep with a 25-yard pass on a fourth-and- 10 play.

Zirk’s interception on Petersburg’s final possession with under a minute to play then sealed the victory.

Tucker County will remain home next Friday to battle No. 10 Notre Dame for a key contest with playoff implications on the line.

The Vikings (3-6) will host East Hardy on the same evening.