Ohio tops West Virginia 18-15 in BACF Classic

PARKERSBURG – Chandler Lang’s four-yard touchdown run with just under six minutes to play proved to be the game winner as the Ohio All-Stars rallied from a 15-point deficit to claim a thrilling 18-15 victory over the West Virginia All-Stars in the 21st annual Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis Football Classic at Stadium Field Friday night.

Lang scored a pair of touchdowns in the game and also came up with a clutch interception to earn the Ohio squad’s Most Valuable Player award.

West Virginia had claimed 13 of the first 20 BACF contests and appeared to be well on their way to another win as they jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the opening half.

The Mountaineer stars put together a 59-yard, nine play drive late in the first quarter with Parkersburg South’s Cody Smith scoring from one-yard out with just eight seconds to play.

Ravenswood’s Nathan Cunningham converted the extra point to give WV a 7-0 lead.

The Ohio offense struggled in the opening half as they were forced to punt the ball four times.

West Virginia scored their second touchdown of the first half when quarterback Alex Lipscomb connected on a 61-yard touchdown pass with receiver Justin Joy.

WV head coach Jeff Campbell elected to go for two and that gamble paid off when Williamstown’s David Hastings caught a pass from Parkersburg Catholic’s Payton Sturm to make it a 15-0 game.

The Ohio stars finally began to show some life offensively late in the half as it took them just 25 seconds and three plays to score their first points of the game.

Warren’s David Ryan hauled in a 35-yard pass from Lang to open the drive before Lang raced 41-yards on a quarterback draw on the very next play to put the ball at the WV one-yard line.

One play later Lang capped the drive by carrying a quarterback keeper into the end zone to trim the lead to 15-7 with just over a minute to play.

West Virginia came out in the second half determined to run the ball as evidenced by an 18-play, 59- yard drive that moved the ball all the way to the Ohio six- yard line but the Ohio defense rose to the occasion when they forced a turnover on downs when West Virginia attempted a fake field goal.

Austin Klintworth shared the quarterbacking duties with Lang for the Ohio squad and the Warren High School graduate connected on back-to-back passes of seven and 42-yards to Federal Hocking’s Peyton Seel to move the ball into West Virginia territory.

Klintworth then completed passes to River’s Jordan Sapp and his own former teammate David Ryan to move the ball all the way down to the WV seven-yard line before an Ohio penalty and three consecutive incomplete passes stalled the drive and forced head coach Greg Adams to settle for a field goal attempt.

Marietta High School’s Brent Huck had an outstanding game as he averaged 42.2 yards per punt on five punt attempts and the Tiger soccer star made good on the 29-yard field goal to close the lead to 15-10 with a little more than 10 minutes to play.

Adams felt that Huck’s kicking ability played a big role in keeping his team in the game until the offense got going.

“Football is such a field position game and with Brent kicking the ball as good as he did, it gave us a real advantage,” said Adams, the Belpre Golden Eagle head coach.

Huck’s ensuing kickoff sailed into the end zone giving the West Virginia team the ball at their own 20-yard line with ten minutes to play.

The Ohio defense led by the likes of Monroe Central’s Mikey Jones, River’s Bryce Cross and Marietta’s Anthony Kimbrough forced WV into a third and 18 at their own 24 and Lang came up with the defensive play of the game when he intercepted a Lipscomb pass at the West Virginia 36-yard line with less than seven minutes to play.

The ensuing drive started out poorly for the Ohio squad as back-to-back penalties moved the ball back into their own territory, but a huge play from a pair of Warren High school teammates got them right back in business.

Facing a first-and-30 at their own 44-yard line, Klintworth connected on a huge 53-yard pass play to Ryan down the right side line that moved the ball to the three-yard line.

“I had been trying to get him (Ryan) the ball all game,” said Klintworth, who completed 10-of-14 passes in the game for 151 yards. “He’s big and talented and he just went up and made the catch.”

One play later Lang sprinted in with the go-ahead score to put the Ohio side up by a point.

Adams elected to go for a two-point play to increase the lead to three and once again Lang came through in the clutch as he found Damon Jones in the end zone to make it an 18-15 game with 5:53 to play.

“He rolled me out to the right and Damon Jones was able to sneak in their behind them and I found him,” said Lang of the two-point conversion. “Klintworth did a really good job in the spread and when we needed to run a little bit more from the quarterback spot they trusted me to make some plays.”

Finally finding themselves in the lead it was up to a very pumped up Ohio defense to seal the deal and they did just that when they came up with a huge stop on a fourth-and-one at their own 33-yard line.

West Virginia got one more chance when they took over possession one last time with ten seconds to play but Damon Jones intercepted a pass to run out the clock and give the Ohio squad their second win in the last three meetings.

Smith was named MVP of the West Virginia squad after rushing 12 times for 49 yards and a score, while St. Marys running back Noah Spitzer led all rushers with 60 yards on 12 carries.

Lang tallied 53 rushing yards in eight attempts while Ryan came down with three catches for an even 100 yards to lead Ohio.

Adams was thrilled to bring the win back to the Ohio side of the river.

“We put it together as a family and we talked about unity, and that’s what its all about,” said Adams. “I hope all the fans enjoyed and it’s just great to do this for such a great cause.”