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Capital wins thriller against South Charleston

By | Gazette-Mail High School Huddle
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Chris Dorst
Capital's Kashuan Haley takes off after being handed the ball by quarterback Tyhree Pratt. South Charleston #61 Kris Haynes defends.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It looked for all the world like South Charleston was going to do it to Capital again -- that is, throw a long bomb for a touchdown in the closing minutes to win a game in which the Cougars once held a comfortable lead.

Only this time, Capital had a different ending in mind.

Logan Garrison booted a 35-yard field goal in overtime after Tyrhee Pratt found brother Cliff Pratt on a Hail Mary pass as time expired in regulation to give the unbeaten Cougars a dramatic 34-31 victory at SC.

The Black Eagles' overtime possession, which began at Capital's 25, picked up a pair of first downs and advanced as far as the 1-yard line, but the game ended with Kentre Grier's fourth-down pass from the 8 falling a few inches short of receiver Kevin Forrest in the end zone.

Capital (4-0) came into the game tied for third in the Class AAA playoff ratings, and the Black Eagles (3-2) were tied for 11th.

After trailing at halftime 21-7 and falling down 24-13 in the fourth quarter, SC took the lead for the first time on a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Marquel Hampton and an 86-yard scoring pass from Grier to Forrest to make it 25-24 with 6:29 left.

It resembled the end of last year's game, when Grier found Hampton on a 36-yard TD toss with 1:07 left for the winning points in a 20-17 South Charleston victory.

"In the third quarter,'' said Capital coach Jon Carpenter, "we had guys complaining. It was the same stuff -- finger pointing and all that. The good thing is, they kept fighting. If we could ever get them to come out here and be unselfish and fight, we'd be a great team. We're not a team yet. Fortunately, we are in the last quarter. If we ever put it together, we have a great chance to be a good football team.''

That SC lead looked even more promising when Hampton picked off a Tyrhee Pratt pass in the flat and returned it 7 yards for a touchdown to boost SC's advantage to 31-24 with just 35 seconds to go in regulation.

But Capital had other ideas this time.

Starting from their own 25 with 31 seconds to go after the kickoff, the Cougars got a 23-yard hookup from Tyrhee Pratt to Kashuan Haley to place the ball at the SC 46 with the clock running out. Tyrhee Pratt took the next snap, rolled to his left and heaved the ball into the end zone, where Cliff Pratt made the catch tumbling backward for a 31-30 score. Garrison's PAT forced overtime.

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