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Instant Classic: Belle Vernon beats Thomas Jefferson with walk off run by Whitlock @BVAFootball @BvasdAthletics @TJHSJaguars

Written by: on Saturday, September 25th, 2021

 


It was a game that was hyped up the entire week and on Friday Night it lived up to that hype. For years Belle Vernon came so close to beating Thomas Jefferson but tonight was the night they finally got over the mountain in a thrilling 28-21 victory over Thomas Jefferson “It’s great, it’s great for the kids, great for the program” said Coach Humbert. “It’s the biggest win of the regular season” said Devin Whitlock.

 

Thomas Jefferson went three and out to start the game and after a bad punt Belle Vernon started their first drive at midfield. Belle Vernon got inside the Thomas Jefferson 25 yard line but despite that the drive ended on a missed field goal.

Thomas Jefferson got the ball for the second time in the game and on the first play the ball was fumbled and recovered by Belle Vernon and that gave them great field position at the Thomas Jefferson 24 yard line. But after a couple of plays Belle Vernon turned it over themselves.

Late in the first quarter after a long Thomas Jefferson drive that resulted in zero points. Belle Vernon got the ball at the 50 yard line. On the first play Quinton Martin took it 50 yards to the house which gave Belle Vernon a 7-0 lead with 1:36 in the first quarter.

Eventually Thomas Jefferson responded with one of their typical long drives and tied the game on a 2 yard run by Joseph Lekse. The game now was 7 all with 7:59 in the second quarter.

The next drive for Belle Vernon was plagued by penalties and they punted it away back to Thomas Jefferson. Yet again they took up a lot of time on the drive and methodically moved down the field. The drive was ended on a second 2 yard run by Joseph Lekse. After the missed extra point Thomas Jefferson had a 13-7 lead with 1:04 left in the first half.

Thomas Jefferson’s lead did not last that long because 13 seconds Quinton Martin returned the kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and gave Belle Vernon a 14-13 lead at halftime.

The third quarter didn’t feature that much except for a couple of turnovers. Belle Vernon was driving but that drive ended with an interception. Unfortunately for Thomas Jefferson that drive ended with an interception in Belle Vernon territory.

At the very end of third quarter Belle Vernon again turned the ball over and this time Thomas Jefferson had great field position starting at the Belle Vernon 36 yard line and they took advantage of that when they went for it on fourth down and Joseph Lekse scored his third touchdown of the evening on a 19 yard run. Lekse had 116 yards rushing in the game. “He’s a gamer, he made that play on fourth down, he’ll do whatever he needs to do to win” said Coach Cherpak.

The following drive Belle Vernon got going on offense and the drive was finished off by a 42 yard touchdown run by Devin Whitlock “he needed to pick up the slack when Quinton went down, we needed all hands on deck, and the thing I’m proud of how the kids picked up the slack” said Coach Humbert. Whitlock had a great game he ran for 165 yards.

Also worth mentioning was the atmosphere inside the stadium. “The atmosphere was something to enjoy pregame” said Coach Humbert. “I’ve never experienced something like that, the whole stands were filled” said Devin Whitlock. Even Coach Cherpak was impressed with the atmosphere “It was such an amazing atmosphere, it was just awesome to be a part of it” Coach Cherpak said.

Thomas Jefferson got the ball and started at their own 21 yard line. It was at that time where Belle Vernon’s defense stood tall and forced a three and out. “I’m extremely proud of the defense, offensively they’re good as well and again I’m proud, and again I was extremely proud they bent but didn’t break” said Coach Humbert.

Belle Vernon started their drive at their own 38 with 2:10 left in the game. With about 40 seconds left they got into Thomas Jefferson territory. A couple plays later something special happened when Devin Whitlock was off to the races and scored a 40 yard touchdown with 4 seconds left in the game. “It’s great hitting the hole and seeing it open out like the blue sea, gotta thank all my linemen for that. It feels great running down the field and knowing that ain’t nobody about to catch me, and I saw the touchdown in sight” said Whitlock about the run. “Unfortunately we came up on the short end, you gotta give them credit , they made plays when they had to, failure is the ultimate motivator, so when you lose that should motivate you to work and get better and that’s what we have to take it as” said Coach Cherpak.

Obviously that made the final score 28-21 Thomas Jefferson. “It’s just a great high school football game, that’s what high school football is supposed to be about, I told our kids you may never get to play in another game like this, with this atmosphere and this environment, in a situation like this with 2 great teams” said Coach Cherpak.

GALLERY BY BEN CHAMP

 

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