Late pass lifts PCHS past Tuscola

Published 8:01 pm Monday, August 23, 2010

Polk County High School called the perfect play at the perfect time in Friday nights 20-14 season-opening win at Tuscola.

Facing fourth-down with four yards to go at the Tuscola 40 and with just about two minutes left in the game, PCHS head coach Bruce Ollis called a time out. Moments later, the Wolverines broke the huddle and quarterback Andre Overholt, who had showed occasional rust from a largely inactive preseason during the first three quarters, floated a pass to Joel Booker, who took it the remaining 20 yards for the game-winning touchdown.

During the timeout, I told the kids that if we executed and gave Andre an extra tick to throw it, we could score a touchdown on that play, said Ollis.

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The victory for the Wolverines was their second-straight season-opening win over Tuscola, but neither has come easy. Each game, PCHS had to recover from an early deficit.

The Mountaineers had one last possession for the victory and an opening with a missed extra-point try, but Howard scrambled and was stripped of the ball by nose guard Jay Sutton, and the fumble was recovered by Overholt with only a few seconds to play.

Id been waiting the whole game, said Sutton. I saw him cut back, and I anticipated. I dove and I hit it, but I didnt even know I stripped it.

After Tuscola took a 7-0 lead on Rob Howards 5-yard touchdown pass to Michael Stroupe with 10:41 left in the second quarter, PCHS answered with two straight scores to take a 14-7 lead.

Overholts 10-yard touchdown run with 1:19 to play in the first half tied the score at 7-7 after Jacob Christiansens extra point, capping a scoring drive that was set up by Cody Oricks 44-yard punt return to the Tuscola 36.

Running back Tyler Ridings gave the Wolverines (1-0) a 14-7 lead on a 2-yard run with 1:28 remaining in the third quarter.

PCHS made that lead hold up until Tuscola put together a scoring drive, which was extended by a personal-foul penalty at the end of a third-and-21 play, capped by Howards 10-yard pass to Sam Anderson with 7:26 to play.

Despite being harassed by the Wolverines front line of defenders for most of the night, Howard was accurate when he was able to get a pass of. He connected on 23 of 29 passes for 220 yards and the two scores.

But with the sack yardage and tackles-for-loss, the Mountaineers (0-1) were held to minus-2 yards rushing on the night. Howard was credited with 18 rushing attempts for minus-21 yards.

Overholt, who saw his first action after nursing an ankle injury during the preseason, led the Wolverines with 60 yards on 13 carries. He connected on just 4 of 11 passes for 80 yards and an interception, which led to Tuscolas first score.

Booker, playing his first year of organized football and seeing time at receiver and running back, had seven carries for 26 yards and two catches for 47 yards, including the game-winning catch.

PCHS hosts Brevard Friday in the Wolverines home opener.

Game notes: Members of the Western Highlands Conference posted a combined 6-1 record Friday night.Polk County 20, Tuscola 14

Score by quarter

Polk Co.&bsp; 0&bsp;&bsp; 7&bsp;&bsp; 7&bsp;&bsp; 6&bsp; – 20

Tuscola&bsp;&bsp; 0&bsp;&bsp; 7&bsp;&bsp; 0&bsp;&bsp; 7&bsp; – 14

2nd quarter

T – Michael Stroupe 5 pass from Rob Howard (Chris Smith kick), 10:41.

PC – Andre Overholt 10 run (Jacob Christiansen kick), 1:19.

3rd quarter

PC – Tyler Ridings 2 run (Christiansen), 1:28.

4th quarter

T – Sam Anderson 10 pass from Howard (Smith kick), 7:26.

PC – Joel Booker 40 pass from Overholt (kick failed), 1:52.

Rushing: PC – Overholt 13-60, Booker 7-26, Cody Orick 2-6, Ridings 2-3, Kerry Littlejohn 1-5, Juan Hicks 1-(minus-1). T – Howard 18-(minus-21), Dustin Messer 7-16, Austin Chambers 4-2, Levi Duffield 1-1.

Passing: PC – Overholt 4-11-1-80, TD. T – Howard 23-29-0-220.

Receiving: PC – Booker 2-47, Ryan Thomas 2-33. T – Anderson 10-77, Stroupe 5-37, Chambers 4-67, Weaver Kirkpatrick 1-17, Chad Christopher 1-5.