The Dominion Post  

Capital ends UHS’s football season, 48-24

Created on:   Sat, Nov 18, 2017   12:59 AM

Last modified:   Sat, Nov 18, 2017   12:59 AM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Capital freshman K.J. Taylor took the opening kick return 89 yards for a touchdown, and the No. 6 Cougars (9-3) never looked back.

The score was the first of seven for Capital on Nov. 17 at Mylan Pharmaceuticals Stadium as the Cougars defeated previously unbeaten University (11-1), 48-24, in the WVSSAC Class AAA football quarterfinals. The Cougars outpaced the Hawks on offense by 86 yards and won the turnover battle by two.

“They had a minus 18 turnover rate, so we had to win the turnover battle, and we lost it,” University head coach John Kelley said.

The Hawks’ story was missed opportunities on offense. They grabbed two Capital turnovers inside the red zone and came away with no points on the subsequent possessions, and had two touchdowns called back for penalties on possessions where they would not score. A third red zone opportunity on the Hawks’ first drive earned only a field goal.

“That’s probably the story of the game. Two times they turn it over down near the goal line, and we didn’t get any points out of that,” Kelley said.

Following the Hawks’ field goal, the Cougars responded with 21 unanswered points, sending UHS reeling into halftime with a 25-point deficit.

Capital was led early by the strong play of junior quarterback Kerry Martin, who went 12 of 14 on passing in the first half for 214 yards, and accounted for two of the squad’s four first-half touchdowns. Martin strung together nine completions to begin the game, not suffering a misstep until a second-quarter interception.

“We don’t see that kind of speed and skill up here,” Kelley said. “Like that one touchdown Martin had, we had everything covered and everything taken care of and then he just used his athleticism. We don’t have an answer for that.”

University responded strongly to open the second half, driving down the field and scoring on a 50-yard scamper from senior Robert Sanders. As was the theme on the night, however, every big play University could muster was answered by the Cougars. Martin responded with a 6-yard touchdown rush late in the third to move the score to 35-10.

“It’s very frustrating when we get going, they would just smack us right back, and it brought us down,” Sanders said. “But it’s all right, we played our hearts out.”

The Hawks’ defense effectively shut down the Cougars’ passing attack in the second half, holding Martin to 0 of 5 passing. Capital responded with 210 yards on the ground to fuel the offense.

Senior Clay Bailey led University with a pair of touchdown passes in an attempt to rally from the deficit, but an Anthony Pittman pick six and Quisean Gray touchdown run helped lead Capital to the 48-24 victory.

“They’ve got a little too much speed and skill for us, but our guys made it a game,” Kelley said of the final result. “I’m proud of my team for always clawing back into it, but as soon as we crawled back into they ran away.”

Bailey led the Hawks’ passing attack, going 15 of 28 for 208 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Junior Amir Richardson grabbed five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown, while junior Evan Parow added three catches for 69 yards and a score. Sanders paced the ground game for University with 13 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown.