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Prep notebook: Cougars dodge bullet again

By | Gazette-Mail High School Huddle
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Chris Dorst
Capital quarterback Tyrhee Pratt directed the Cougars to a 34-31 overtime victory against South Charleston Friday night. Pratt's 44-yard Hail Mary touchdown toss to his brother, Cliff, on the final play of regulation sent the game into OT.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The margin of victory seems to be shrinking each week for still-unbeaten Capital.

For the second time in three weeks, the Cougars (4-0) managed to avert disaster and capture an overtime game when they outlasted South Charleston 34-31 Friday night at SC's campus field.

Two weeks ago against Princeton, Capital needed to drive 80 yards for a touchdown to tie the game with 3:33 left. Then in overtime, it fell behind 28-21 and mustered both a TD and a winning 2-point conversion on its possession.

On Friday, Tyrhee Pratt lofted a 44-yard Hail Mary pass to older brother Cliff Pratt on the final play of regulation to help send the game into OT tied at 31, then Logan Garrison, a refugee from the Cougars' soccer squad, booted a 35-yard field goal to win it.

Of course, Capital still needed to make a defensive stand on SC's overtime possession that began at the 25. The Black Eagles gained a pair of first downs and made it as close as the 1-yard line, but a fourth-and-goal pass from the 8 fell inches shy of receiver Kevin Forrest in the end zone.

"We know that every game is not easy,'' Tyrhee Pratt said, "and that anything can happen. It's crazy. I ain't never experienced this in my life, but it's big, though.''

That bit of good favor kept the Cougars perfect so far and will likely lift them into a tie with George Washington for the No. 2 spot in the Class AAA ratings. With games the next two weeks against heavyweights like No. 1 Huntington (5-0) and No. 9 Cabell Midland (4-1), every bonus point counts for Capital.

Cougars coach Jon Carpenter was proud of the late execution of both Tyrhee Pratt and Garrison. Carpenter said Pratt called both plays at the end of regulation, a 25-yard flare to Kashuan Haley to put the ball at the SC 44, then the scrambling heave to his brother.

"He called it,'' Carpenter said. "We only ran two plays, but we run a little shallow route and he runs a go. He kept running and he found him. He made a play. He kept fighting and made a play.''

Of course, it didn't hurt to have an experienced kicker like Garrison standing on the sideline, either. The senior has now drilled six field goals and 75 extra points in his four-year football career.

"That was a life saver for us right there,'' Carpenter said of Garrison's presence.

Unlike some kickers, Garrison said he pays attention to what's happening on the field instead of existing in his own little world.

"I'm into the game on the sidelines,'' Garrison said, "but when I go out to kick, everything's clear. And I just think of something happy.''

Garrison said there have been no problems between Carpenter and Capital soccer coach Brad Clark letting him compete in both sports at the same time.

"No, they're real cooperative,'' Garrison said. "They help me out. They kind of let me miss here and there at practice, But it's still a lot of work.''

Capital has its work cut out this week with a road trip to top-ranked Huntington, which has outscored opponents 192-28 through five games.

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