Bobcats lose heartbreaker to Concord

Photo courtesy of West Virginia Wesleyan College West Virginia Wesleyan head football coach Del Smith instructs his players.

BUCKHANNON — Freshman kicker Luke Walls’ 40-yard field goal on the final play of the game propelled Concord to a 34-31 come-from-behind win over West Virginia Wesleyan Saturday afternoon in Mountain East Conference play at Cebe Ross Field.

Early in the second quarter, CU found itself in a 21-0 hole as Wesleyan scored on its first drive of the game and added two scores–one in the first quarter and another early in the second.

Dante Starcher scored first for the Bobcasts on an 11-yard run to put Wesleyan up 7-0 in the first quarter.

In the second stanza, Jujuan Linzy caught a 43-yard touchdown pass fom Luke Casey to stretch the Bobcats’ lead to 14-0.

Kenny Lewis Jr. then caught a 13-yard TD pass from Casey to give Wesleyan a 21-0 advantage with 6:02 left in the first half.

Facing a three-touchdown deficit, the Mountain Lions began their comeback. With just over 5:30 left in the first half, freshman running back Kris Copeland broke a 73-yard touchdown run that took him from the left sideline before he reversed field and scampered in front of the CU bench, down the sideline and into the end zone.

A late CU drive stalled out before half as Concord faced a 21-7 deficit at halftime.

Five minutes in the second half, Copeland found the end zone for a second time as he snared a screen pass from junior quarterback Kyle Akin. Copeland slipped away from the Wesleyan defense and raced 23 yards to get CU within 21-14.

Less than two minutes later, Walls hit from 29 yards on a field goal after a failed fake punt by the Bobcats. With 4:08 left in the third quarter, Concord trailed 21-17.

The momentum for the Mountain Lions continued as senior defensive back Chaudlier Shepherd intercepted a pass just as Wesleyan was starting to drive in CU territory. Two plays after the pick, Copeland was on the receiving end of another Akin screen–this time Copeland gave the Maroon and Gray their first lead of the day, 24-21, on a 65-yard score.

However, Wesleyan quickly grabbed the lead back, 28-24, with 11:17 remaining, as Casey capped a 10-play, 82-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard run to paydirt.

Then the Bobcats added to their lead with a field goal with 6:10 left to go. After each team traded punts, the Mountain Lions, still trailing by seven, took over at their own 27-yard line with 3:33 left.

Akin proceeded to drive the Mountain Lions 73 yards in 2:47 that was capped on a touchdown plunge by freshman running back Josh Maxwell with 46 seconds remaining.

On the proceeding Wesleyan drive, junior linebacker Andrew Jakubowsky intercepted a Luke Casey pass on third down at the 40-yard line to set up Concord for a potential game-winning score with under 20 seconds left.

Akin scrambled out-of-bounds for 10 yards before he completed a seven-yard pass to junior wide receiver Brandon Plyler to set up Walls and the kicking unit.

With two seconds remaining, Walls connected on his second field goal to lift the Mountain Lions to a season-opening win, 34-31.

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