Claiborne gets much-needed win at Thomas Walker
Published 11:10 am Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Claiborne County Sports Zone
EWING, VIRGINIA -— Cole Jones scored two touchdowns and Tyrell Miles returned an interception for a score late in the fourth quarter to lift Claiborne County to a 36-28 win Friday at Thomas Walker.
When the ball was kicked off it was the Pioneers first on offense. The Bulldog defense held on a fourth and long. The Claiborne offense started on their own 32-yard line. Josh Bolton started the drive with a long rush followed by an Austin Murrell run and a Miles reception and ended with a Zay Gerrells TD run. Ryan Olson ran in the conversion and Claiborne led 8-0 at the 5:31 mark.
On the Pioneers next drive, they scored on a run play that everyone, but the officials, thought the runner was down. Instead, Thomas Walker scored but missed the conversion, 8-6, Claiborne still led.
Claiborne started their second drive near midfield. On a fourth and one Murrell got the first down but after what seemed to be a simultaneous possession, Thomas Walker was awarded possession.
Thomas Walker was later faced with a third and 15 but completed a pass across the middle that went all the way down near the goal line. One play later they scored and took their first lead at 14-8.
Jones returned the next kickoff to the 49-yard line. The first quarter ended 14-8.
Claiborne mixed up the plays and the drive ended with a Murrell TD and a good conversion giving the Bulldogs the lead again, 16-14.
On the next Pioneers drive, Claiborne came out of the pile with the ball in Pioneers territory. Bolton and Murrell did the bulk of the running up the middle and Jones ran in the next score with Gerrells adding the two-point conversion, 24-14.
Claiborne stopped Thomas Walker on their next drive and the ball went over to the Bulldogs on downs. The Bulldogs final drive of the opening half featured a third and seven which they converted but it ended with 8.8 seconds left. The first half ended with Claiborne holding a 24-14 lead.
Claiborne received the kick to start the second half. The Bulldogs began the half with two big holding penalties forcing a third and 30. Gerrell’s pass was intercepted, and the Pioneers took over near midfield. At the 6:31 mark Thomas Walker narrowed the Claiborne advantage to two points at 24-22.
During the Bulldogs second drive, Jones went 57 yards for another score and after the conversion failed the Dogs had extended their lead out to 30-22 and the third quarter ended with the Pioneers on offense.
During the final quarter the Bulldogs defense got a stop and the offense moved down the field while the officials tried to keep the emotions in check. The Bulldogs thought Jones had scored a TD but after the play there were penalties that forced a second and 49. Thomas Walker intercepted a Claiborne pass, and their drive faced a third and 13. Claiborne forced a fourth and nine and the Pioneers tried a long pass down the sideline, but it was incomplete. A penalty flag was thrown for a hold against the Bulldogs, and it was now fourth and four. The Pioneers drive continued, and they were faced with a third and goal from the three. The Pioneers scored and they were up against a huge two-point conversion with 2:32 left. The conversion failed and the Claiborne lead was two points at 30-28. Thomas Walker tried the onside kick and failed. Claiborne went on offense from midfield and turned the ball over to the Pioneers with 2:27 remaining.
The Pioneers threatened late but the Claiborne defense made a stand. Claiborne scored once more on a Miles pick-six and made the final 36-28. Fans from both sides could easily be heard loudly voicing their opinions about this officiating crew as the game was ending. It was a tough back and forth game full of penalty flags and upset fans but in the end, Claiborne got a much-needed win.