PARSONS – Tucker County hosted Notre Dame on Senior night last Friday and the Fighting Irish built a 19 point lead and then held off the Mt. Lions in the fourth quarter to get the road win 36-34.
The Irish would strike first on a 16 yard touchdown pass with 9:21 left in the first quarter to take the early lead 7-0 after a successful PAT kick. Tucker County would then answer back with an Austin Zirk 10 yard touchdown run and Michael Callaway added the extra point kick to tie the score at 7 with 7:00 left in the first quarter.
Notre Dame would have to punt on their next possession giving the ball back to the Mt. Lions at their own 35 yard line. Tucker County would put together a long drive but after 12 plays a failed 4th down play gave the ball back to the Irish at the Notre Dame 19. Then two plays later the Irish would strike again on a 35 yard touchdown pass with 10:23 left in the second quarter. The PAT kick was good to give Notre Dame the lead 14-7.
Both teams would then exchange turnovers and Tucker County got the ball at their own 7 yard line. Zirk would then step up again on the 5th play of the drive with a 53 yard touchdown run. Callaway added the extra point to tie the score 14-14 with 7:00 left in the first half. Notre Dame then would fight right back with an 8 play drive that covered 63 yards. A 9 yard touchdown run by the Irish capped off the drive, but a failed PAT kick gave Notre Dame a 6 point lead 20-14 with 3:20 left in the second quarter.
Tucker County would then drive down into Notre Dame territory but a Zirk interception gave the ball back to the Irish at their own 4 yard line. Then after a false start by Notre Dame the Irish offense were faced with a 3rd down 11 at their own 3 yard line. A slant pass then was caught by Notre Dame and 2 Mt. Lions defenders ran into each other freeing the receiver for a 97 yard touchdown pass and catch with 26 seconds left in the first half. The 2 point conversion was no good and Notre Dame led at halftime 26-14.
The Irish offense got the ball to start the third quarter and wasted no time. Notre Dame marched the ball down the field on 6 plays and scored from 6 yards out on a run play to up their lead to 33-14 after a successful PAT kick with 9:25 left in the third. Tucker County then struck back with a 39 yard Zirk touchdown run with 7:22 left in the third quarter to make the score 33-21 Notre Dame after a good PAT kick by Callaway. The Irish answered right back to up the lead to 19 again 40-21 with 6:09 left in the third. Notre Dame scored the touchdown on a 44 yard run.
The Mt. Lions then took the ball down to the Irish 32 but failed to convert on a 4th down play and Notre Dame took over on downs. A bad snap by the Irish lead to a fumble and Tucker County recovered at the Notre Dame 14. Zirk then would work his magic again on a 4th down play as he passed to Zach Armstrong for a 19 yard touchdown reception to get the Mt. Lions closer. Callaway added the PAT kick and with 11:03 left in the game Tucker County trailed 40-28. Notre Dame then punted the ball back to Tucker County which gave them the ball at the Mt. Lions 40. Again Zirk would connect with Armstrong on a 60 yard touchdown pass and catch with 9:01 left in the game. The PAT kick failed to make the score 40-34 Irish.
Notre Dame then answer right back with a big drive that covered 7 plays and 61 yards. A 9 yard touchdown run with 5:19 left in the fourth. The PAT failed and the Irish lead was pushed to 46-34. The Mt. Lions then put together a 9 play drive that took the ball down to the Notre Dame 18. Then a controversial call by the officials lead to a Zirk interception pass that gave the ball back to Notre Dame. As the play started Zirk was grabbed by an Irish defender and an official blew the play dead. Zirk let the pass go right after the whistle and it was intercepted by Notre Dame. The officials then stopped the play. After a referee discussion the ball was given to the Irish. The officials said the pass was in the air when the whistle was blown. Tucker County would get the ball back again but was unable to score and Notre Dame picked up the win on the road by the final score of 46-34.
Austin Zirk led Tucker County with a big night as he finished with 24 carries for 198 yards rushing and 11 for 22 passing for 221 yards. Zirk had 3 touchdowns rushing and 2 touchdowns passing. Zach Armstrong also had 15 carries for 147 yards and 79 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. Dusty Conrad added 5 receptions for 81 yards and Logan Fridley had 4 catches for 61 yards. Seniors of all Fall sports were honored before the game.
The Mt. Lions(6-4) made the WV State Playoffs despite the loss with a #16 seed and will travel to #1 Madonna on Friday night. Friday’s game will be broadcast on 94.7FM WELK, pregame coverage will start at 7pm and kickoff will be at 7:30pm. For more info go to TuckerCountySports.Com.