PHILIPPI - It may not have been the Immaculate Reception, but Philip Barbour's Justin Cox will probably never catch a pass quite like the one he caught Friday night in Philip Barbour's 29-28 Big 10 Conference win over Elkins at George Byrer Field.
With just over 1:00 remaining in regulation, Colts quarterback Tyler Titchnell attempted to hit another receiver, but the ball was deflected to Cox, allowing him to scamper 38 yards for the touchdown.
"We had the pass covered as well as we covered any pass all night," Elkins coach Greg Hott said. "Our linebacker hit the receiver, the ball bounced off his hands and ended up in the hands of their other receiver.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Joey Kittle
Philip Barbour’s Dylan Johnson attempts to break loose from a pair of Elkins defenders during Big 10 Conference play Friday night at George Byrer Field.
"Its heartbreaking. It really is. I feel bad for the kids. They played really hard. Sometimes you play your best and you still lose. It's a hard lesson to learn, but it's a common-life lesson."
Elkins got on the scoreboard first when Trevor Kiess capped off a 13-play, 87 yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
However, the Colts answered back when Dylan Johnson rumbled into the end zone from 1-yard out. Saige Cline's extra-point kick was no good and the score remained 7-6.
The second quarter got off to a rocky start for the Colts when a Titchnell pass was intercepted by Ben Lonergan. On the next play, Morgan Kelly scampered 71 yards for the score to put the Tigers up 14-6. Kelly added another touchdown just before the half make it 21-6.
Elkins got the ball first in the third quarter, but a bad snap out of punt formation resulted in a safety for PB. The Colts continued to capitalize on the error, as Titchnell scored a touchdown to make it 21-15.
Not to be outdone, Kelly scored his third touchdown of the night on an 80-yard run. He finished the game with 224 yards on 23 carries.
Early in the fourth quarter, Titchnell broke loose again, this time for a 30-yard touchdown run to bring the Colts within 28-22.
The Tigers got the ball back with nearly nine minutes on the clock, but the offense stalled deep in Colt territory.
PB began its final drive on its own 25 with 4:00 left in regulation. Titchnell completed short passes to Chris Neville, Elijah Matlick and Al Johnson before hooking up with Cox to tie the game. Cline nailed the extra point for the eventual game-winning point.
"This was a game I really felt we didn't deserve to win, but we'll take it," PB coach Curtis Bodkins said. "Elkins played a fantastic game. They dominated us on the line of scrimmage. They pushed us around, but I'll give our boys credit for battling to the end and not quitting.
"Sometimes when you hang around, things like this happen. It's never over until it's over."
Philip Barbour, which entered the game rated 15th in Class AA, improves to 5-2 and will remain home next Friday to face Buckhannon-Upshur.
Elkins falls to 0-6 and will visit Wheeling Park on the same evening.