<6>Goodbye Mercy Rule, on this one as the Potters fell behind by more than 30 points, but came back to score 14 unanswered points to put the clock back to normal operation with 7:09 remaining in the fourth quarter; however, it was not enough to overcome the Wheeling Park Patriots who had started the clock running non-stop with 35 first-half tallies on their way to a 42-14 win on a gloomy night at Patterson Field.
West Virginia University baseball recruit Michael Grove led Wheeling Park's rushing attack with 56 yards. He posted touchdowns on runs of four and one yards, respectively. Theo Blackston rang up two scores. One came on a 28-yard pass reception from Killian Coyne. The other was an 11-yard run around left end.
Park rang up 314 yards of total offense in the first half. The Potter defense limited them to 11 yards after the intermission.
A torrential downpour during halftime limited the East Liverpool marching band's performance and sent many fans of both schools scurrying for shelter.
Park's Richard Cummings took the second half kickoff and returned it 80 yards for a score. Chase Gheen's sixth successful conversion attempt pushed Wheeling's lead to 42-0 with 11:46 remaining in the third quarter.
After being held to just 34 yards of total offense in the first half, the Potters went on an 82-yard scoring drive the first time they had the ball in the third quarter. Austyn Dozier and Kade Reynolds steadily ripped off large chunks of yardage. Upon reaching the Patriots' 15-yard line, Austin Mayfield rolled right and threw back to his left to a wide-open Reynolds, who raced in for East Liverpool’s initial score.
Park's next possession was short-circuited when Potter defensive end Freddie Plum pounced on a Patriot fumble at the Park 47-yard line. Once again, Dozier and Reynolds battered away at the visitors' defense. Dozier ended the drive with a three-yard burst up the middle. Ryan Lilly's second successful placement kick pulled East Liverpool to within 28, at 42-14 with 7:09 remaining in the contest.
"No matter what has happened. These guys have never quit," said Coach Ludwig. "They don't have any quit in them. They stuck in there until the very end. Eventually, that will pay results.
"Austyn Dozier played hard the whole night," said Ludwig. "We asked him to carry the ball more than normal, and he did it well. He also played well on defense."
The Patriots, ranked fifth prior to the game in the West Virginia AAA state poll, improved to 4-1. The Potters fell to 0-6.
East Liverpool's Austyn Dozier topped all rushers with 101 yards on 16 carries. Kade Reynolds backed him with 75 yards on 14 carries.
A devastating injury occurred midway through the second quarter. With Park leading 28-0, the Patriots wide receiver Chalmer Moffett pulled in a Coyne aerial and headed down the Potter sideline. As he was tackled, it was quickly apparent that he had suffered a severe lower leg injury with 5:05 remaining in the quarter. After a stoppage for the emergency treatment of Moffett, play resumed with Blackston pulling in his scoring reception.
Kade Reynolds said it all when he was interviewed following the game. "The big thing the coaches have taught us is to not give up. We knew that Wheeling Park would be good. People may look down on us because of our record, but we're not backing down. Austyn played as hard as possible tonight. He has a heart the size of the moon."
The Potters accumulated a season-high 202 yards in total offense.
Chuck Greenwood of The Review contributed to this article