A mixed bag for this week, but I’ll start with baseball.
I did get the World Series participants correct with the Nationals and the Astros winning their respective League Championship Series. The former basically shut down the Cardinals offense and the latter defeated the Yankees in a series where the two teams battled the elements and both relied on their relief corps to carry the deciding game, which was decided by Jose Altuve’s ninth inning home run.
The Astros are the more talented team, while the Nationals, save their pitching staff, have figuratively kicked away the dirt shoveled on them several times over the year. From their 16-31 start which had people speculating about manager Dave Martinez’’s job security to injuries to key players, they had numerous obstacles which they overcame to get a playoff spot. Even when they got the spot, they had to rally to beat first Milwaukee then the Dodgers before sweeping the Cardinals.
The Nationals got wins from homers hit by Jeff Zimmerman, the only player remaining on the team from their debut 15 years ago and Howie Kendrick,who overcame an ACL tear in his 30s to hit the grand slam to win the Dodgers series. Talk grit all you want but make sure the 2019 Washington Nationals are on that list.
In fact, I’m going to pick the Nationals to win the World Series in seven games, based on the fact that they have four reliable starting pitchers to the Astros three.
I thought I would share my account of the West Virginia State-Concord game of three weeks ago, which hadn’t seen print before. I’ll insert comments where appropriate.
A long, hot day at Callaghan Stadium Saturday with two hours and 19 minutes of weather delays saw the West Virginia State Yellow Jackets come from behind and defeat the host Concord Mountain Lions 33-23.
The hosts scored first with 11:42 left in the first quarter as Luke Walls hit a 29-yard field goal to make the game score 3-0 and wrap up an eight-play, 53-yard drive that featured a 29-yard run by quarterback Kyle Akin.
The State defense set up the tying score as Akin was intercepted by Kyle Alexander who returned it 15 yards. Four plays later, Martin Ahlstroem hit a 44-yard field goal to tie the score at 7-all at the 5:35 mark of the first quarter.
After two more possessions came and went, one by each team, Concord was on offense when officials called for a lightning delay two plays into the drive. The delay lasted for 52 minutes.
After the delay and a brief warm-up period, a bad snap was fumbled by Concord and recovered by State’s Adam Suruy On the next play Austin Hensley hit Isaiah Scott for a 49-yard score , making it 9-3 WVS (kick blocked), with 12:26 left I the half.
State made it 16-3 on their next possession as Donovan Riddick ran the ball in from 26 yards out to make the score 16-3 (Ahlstroem kick) with 8:35 left in the half.
Concord responded with a 12-play 63-yard drive of their own which culminated in Walls’ longest field goal to date in his Concord career, a 42-yarder, to make it 16-6 WVS with 2:05 left in the half. Key plays saw Akin hit Brandon Plyler with an 11-yard pass, Akin hit Derek Kincaid with a 12-yard pass and Akin hit tight end Caeleb Bass for a 46-yard connection.
The last drive of the half saw State go up 19-6 in another drive set up by an interception and 23-yard return of an Akin pass by Jeffery Parker. Four plays later, Ahlstroem hit a 30-yard field goal as time expired.
The third quarter was delayed by lightning with the delay taking an hour and 27 minutes.
The Concord defense set up the next score as Jonathan Roebuck intercepted a Hensley pass and returned it 10 yards. Ten plays and 71 yards later, Kincaid ran it in from four yards out for a score of 19-13(Walls kick). Key plays saw Akin hit Michael McNeal for a 30 yard connection .Kincaid convert a fourth-and-1 and Akin run for 20 yards.
The next Concord drive narrowed the score. to 19-16 as Walls hit a 29-yard field goal to culminate a nine-play, 60-yard drive. Key plays in the drive were an Akin 10-yard pass to Brent Butler, a 12-yard pass to Plyler, a 26-yard pass to McNeal and a 13-yard pass to Kincaid
The second and final Concord lead was set up by a State fumble created by Jakil Sarhim and recovered by Nathan Lease. Five plays later, Akin hit Butler for a two-yard score making it 23-19 CU (Walls kick)..
State re-took the lead 26-23 (Ahlstroem kick) as Hensley hit Scott with a 12-yard touchdown pass. The drive, which was set up by a 34-yard kick-off return by Tyrone Lyte , featured a 10-yard pass from Hensley to Zach Pate and a 26 yard run by Dylan Lucas.
State cinched the game with 5:07 left as Riddick hit Pate with a 26-yard pass to make the score 33-23 (Ahlstroem kick) The drive saw a fourth-down conversion with a nine-yard run by Dant’e Jones, an 18-yard Hensley to Lyte connection and an 11-yard Lucas run.
For State (3-1, 3-0), Hensley went 11-25 for 268 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Lucas had 16 rushes for 63 yards and Scott had four catches for 72 yards. Dustin Crouser had 12 tackles, seven solo.
Concord (0-4, 0-4) was led by Akin who went 23-36 for a career high 284 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Akin also led in rushing with 12 rushes for 66 yards. Plyler finished just shy of a career high in receiving yards as he caught nine passes for 119 yards. Dwain Porterfield had nine tackles, six solo.
Contact Jeff Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org