Before the rains came, Fayetteville appeared to be on the fast track to the second round.

In the end, the Pirates were very nearly derailed.

No. 3 Fayetteville led 14-0 after its first two offensive plays from scrimmage and owned a 28-14 lead at the end of the third quarter before having to withstand a valiant Tucker County rally in a thrilling 35-33 Pirate win in a Class A first-round football matchup Friday at Fletcher Arritt Memorial Stadium.

The Mountain Lions put 19 points on the board in the final 9 minutes, 18 seconds, including two touchdowns scored off FHS fumbles (one on an onside kick), but the Pirates had enough in the tank to finally extinguish the visitors. After a second straight onside kick recovery, Tucker moved into position for a possible go-ahead score in the game’s waning seconds, but Fayetteville’s Drew Weis intercepted a Brendan Miller pass in the end zone with :01.6 left to preserve the win.

“We found a way to win,” said Fayetteville coach David Moneypenny. “We played with a lot of heart, and Tucker County did, too.

“We were fortunate to win the game. Our kids are disappointed. But you survive and advance, and that’s the bottom line.”

“They played hard; we played hard,” countered Tucker coach A.J. Rapp. “Right off the bat, it was two plays, two touchdowns, but our kids battled back. I’m proud of them. You hate to come up on the short end of a game like this.

“Give Coach Moneypenny credit for having his team prepared.”

Rapp said Fayetteville’s “strong front line” put pressure on Miller on Tucker’s final offensive play, forcing him to throw off his back foot.

For his part, Moneypenny was glad the game didn’t go into overtime.

“Obviously, Tucker County didn’t give up,” he said. “It could have very easily gone into overtime. They had the momentum.

“I need to do a better job of coaching my kids.”

Weis rushed for 195 yards and two scores on 21 carries for the Fayetteville offense. He scored on a 65-yard jaunt on his team’s first play, then teammate Brian Trofy (6-81-1) raced 51 yards to paydirt on the first play of the next possession to give Fayetteville the early upper hand.

Troy Hopkins also accounted for a pair of TDs for the Pirates, one a a hook-and-lateral that covered 15 yards and involved teammates MichaelAngelo Hernandez and K.C. Dempsey near the end of the first quarter, and the other on a leaping 65-yard grab of a Hernandez aerial late in the third period that made it 28-14.

Hopkins caught four passes for 141 yards.

While the Pirates bottled up Tucker’s Miller in the first half, he responded with four rushing scores and 127 passing yards in the second half.

Fayetteville blocked one of the Lions’ fourth-quarter PAT kicks, and a two-point shovel pass came up shot on another scoring drive.

The win propels the Pirates (10-1) into a quarterfinal showdown with No. 6 Saint Marys. The contest will be played at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Fayetteville.

The Lions concluded their campaign with a 7-4 record.

“Tonight was like two heavyweights punching each other in the face,” said Rapp. “I’m proud of my kids.”

— E-mail:

Fayetteville 35, Tucker County 33

First Quarter

F: Drew Weis 65 run (MichaelAngelo Hernandez kick), 9:55

F: Brian Trofy 51 run (Hernandez kick), 8:41

TC: Josh Evans 47 pass from Brendan Miller (Josh Michael kick), 6:11

F: Troy Hopkins 9 run (Hernandez kick), 1:37

Third Quarter

TC: Miller 1 run (Michael kick), 4:27

F: Hopkins 65 pass from Hernandez (Hernandez kick), 2:55

Fourth Quarter

TC: Miller 1 run (Michael kick), 9:18

F: Weis 5 run (Hernandez kick), 3:21

TC: Miller 4 run (kick failed), 1:140

TC: Miller 3 run (pass failed), :25.0


RUSHING — TC: Miller 24-190-4, Allen Summerfield 11-21, Seth Pifer 3-16. F: Weis 21-195-2, Hopkins 5-29-1, Hernandez 5-(-9), Trofy 6-81-1, Caleb O’Neal 3-13.

PASSING — TC: Miller 14-33-1-214-1, Michael 1-1-0-35-1. F: Hernandez 6-8-0-141-1.

RECEIVING — TC: Evans 4-103-1, Darius Dillard 6-84, Summerfield 3-45, Logan Snyder 1-13. F: Hopkins 4-131-1, K.C. Dempsey 1-6, O’Neal 1-4.

TURNOVERS — TC: Daniel Parsons (FR), Snyder (FR), Michael (FR). F: Caleb Lewis (FR), Weis (INT).

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