However, the crowd Friday at Bachelder Field saw an exciting, back-and-forth affair between Western Reserve and South Central. It was a game with multiple lead changes — one that wasn’t decided until the closing seconds. Trojans senior Cristiano Murphy intercepted a pass from JJ Weisenberger with 11 seconds on the clock.
South Central came away from Collins with a 30-29 Firelands Conference win to improve to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the league. Western fell to 2-5 and 2-2.
“It feels really good,” Trojans coach Cory Fickiesen said with a smile on his face. “This is the first time in 20 years we’ve come over here and beat these guys. It’s a huge win. … Last year was the first time we had beaten them in 20 years — period.”
South Central made another mark in the history books Friday.
Sophomore David Lamoreaux broke the single-season touchdown record (12), to break the previous one held by current Western Reserve coach Ty Stevenson, a 1999 South Central graduate (11).
Another coincidence is there are several other South Central graduates on Stevenson’s coaching staff: His father Rod, Mike Parcher and Travis Wilson.
“How ironic,” Fickiesen said. “These kids are setting marks that they will remember forever.”
Lamoreaux’s touchdown came with 11:51 left in the game when he went up for a pass from quarterback Evan Legg in the corner of the end zone. The two-point conversion gave South Central a 30-23 lead.
Fickiesen liked the effort from his players and their “never say never attitude.”
“That’s what I love so much about these kids and I’m so proud of (them),” he said. “We want to continue to keep going. We’re obviously going to enjoy this one (win) because it’s against a very good football team and (it was) a very hard-fought game. (This) morning we’re going to be getting ready for St. Paul on what they’re bringing to us — which is a lot.”
The Trojans got on the scoreboard first Friday with 8:58 in the first quarter. Murphy took a pass from Legg and streaked 67 yards for a score. The extra point was no good and the visitors were up 6-0.
Western scored the next two touchdowns to take a 14-6 lead to end the first period. Weisenberger connected with senior Jacob Martz on a 28-strike when he was wide open and Martz run untouched into the end zone.
Weisenberger’s second TD pass went to senior Mike Tinney for a 47-yard catch-and-run along with sideline. The Roughriders capitalized on Legg’s fumble at the Western 46.
At halftime, South Central held onto a 22-20 lead. Western kicker Colton Webb missed on a 48-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds.
Western coach Ty Stevenson called it “a heck a football game.”
“Sometimes you don’t get the right end of it. I’m proud of our kids; they played really hard. They left it on the field,” he said. “Sometime you don’t get (the win). That’s the beautiful thing about football; it teaches you life lessons.”
Western turned the ball over on downs with 6:41 left in the game. The ’Riders were unable to convert the fourth down on South Central’s 5-yard line with the Trojans up 30-23.
“We couldn’t kick a field goal. We had to go for it; we had to try, so we get it and they moved the ball to the other side,” Stevenson said. “A game of inches. Just a little short.
“I’m proud of our kids. They played hard; they gave it everything they had. There’s a lot of (good) athletes on the other side of the ball and they played pretty well.”
Western’s Martz broke a run to the outside with 2:14 left in the game. After seemingly being stopped by a host of South Central defenders, he ran into the end zone for the final score of the game.
“From Game 1 to right now, (Western) has gotten so much better. You can credit that to him (Stevenson). He’s a heckuva coach and he got his kids prepared and ready to go and you know, they had chances to beat us, but our kids (are) resilient. We played hard, which is what we preach, even with guys out,” Fickiesen said.
“We had some other guys step up and make plays, which is a big deal,” he added.
“For the most part, our defense played really well against a really good running back,” the South Central coach said, referring to Martz. “He’s the second in the league in rushing. We played pretty well against him.”
On Friday, the Trojans continue FC play by hosting St. Paul, which also comes in with a 6-1 record. The Flyers are 4-0 in the league.
“It sets up a pretty big game,” said Fickiesen, who knows the Trojans will have their hands full with coach John Livengood’s team.
“We’re going to enjoy this one for right now because we know this one is a big one. We haven’t thought about it because we are trying to take (each game) one at a time, but it’s St. Paul; that’s all you gotta say and realize it’s a big one.”
Western goes to Monroeville (4-3, 2-2).
Follow Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby on Facebook at “Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger” and on Twitter at @Cary_reporter.
W. Reserve 14 6 3 6 — 29
S. Central 16 6 0 6 — 30
SC — Cristiano Murphy 67 pass from Evan Legg (two-point failed)
WR — Jacob Martz 28 pass from JJ Weisenberger (Colton Webb kick)
WR — Michael Tinney 47 pass from Weisenberger (Webb kick)
SC — Legg 4 run (two-point)
WR — Martz 3 run (PAT failed)
SC — Jay Cook 7 pass from Legg (two-point)
WR — Webb 37 field goal
SC — David Lamoreaux 28 pass from Legg (two-point)
WR — Martz 33 run