Warriors stop Stars in overtime

Oct. 29—DOVER — For four quarters, and then some, the Western Boone and Danville football teams traded big play after big play on Friday night in their sectional semifinal.

But when the Stars needed one more big play to extend their season, they couldn't come up with an answer. Danville's defense held on a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt in overtime, and the Warriors topped seventh-ranked Western Boone 36-34.

"They made a lot of plays tonight," Western Boone head coach Justin Pelley said. "We couldn't get them off the field early, and their receivers made a lot of plays. They really didn't make any mistakes. They had one turnover late that we couldn't capitalize on. We did OK too, but when they had to make plays they made them tonight."

Tied at 28 late, Danville had a chance to win it in regulation, but its 25-yard field goal attempt was short.

The Warriors got the ball first in overtime, and scored on a one-yard touchdown run on fourth down. They then went for two, and scored on an end-around to go up eight.

Western Boone scored on third down on its possession on a one-yard run by Rowen Durbin, but needing the two-point conversion to tie, Durbin was stopped short on a run.

"We put the ball in our quarterback's hands and he is a good runner," Pelley said. "We stacked that side, and credit to them for being ready. We put that play in this week and ran it earlier in the game and decided to go back to it. They just made the play and we didn't."

The big plays for both teams started in the first quarter.

WeBo took the opening kick-off and needed just seven plays to go 64 yards and score on a 29-yard run by Ethan Bayles.

Danville responded three plays later, scoring on a third-and-seven when quarterback Conner Soper connected with Wyatt Gentry for a 64-yard touchdown pass.

WeBo responded with a 12-play scoring drive, going up 13-7 on a 3-yard run by Durbin.

But once again Danville had the answer, needing just six plays to go 65 yards, scoring on a 37-yard pass from Soper to B.J. Wuest on the second play on the second quarter.

Neither team scored on their next drives, and WeBo went into the half up 21-14 after Ryan Taylor scored from four yards out.

But the lead didn't last lone, as on the third play of the second half, Soper and Wuest connected again, this time for a 65-yard touchdown to tie the game at 21.

Soper finished 11 of 14 for 269 yards. Wuest had six catches for 150 and Gentry had four for 122.

"Their kids just went up and got the ball," Pelley said. "We had guys there a lot of the time, and their kids made the plays tonight and ours did not — that's the bottom line. Their quarterback threw it well, and threw it on time so it was tough to get to him and their receivers made plays."

Western Boone countered with a big pass play of their own, going up 28-21 midway through the third on a 45-yard score from Durbin to Bayles. But once again Danville had the response.

The Warriors went 70 yards in 13 plays, scoring on a 1-yard keeper by Soper.

WeBo had two chances to score in the fourth, but were unable to convert either time.

First, they drove down to the Warrior 42, but a holding penalty put them back in second-and-20 and they were forced to punt.

The Stars then held at their own 26, with getting a strip sack and that was recovered by Trevor Weakley and returned to the Danville 42.

But after a short run, a false start penalty put the Stars behind the chains again and they were forced to punt. Danville ran out the rest of the quarter before missing the field goal at the end of regulation.

"We got pushed back on penalties and we had several self-inflicted penalties, which is not like us," Pelley said. "We didn't turn it over or anything like that, but we had several false starts and holding penalties. We were able to capitalize on those in the first half still, but that catches up to you after a while."

Weakley finished the game with 23 carries for 181 yards.

Durbin was 6 of 12 for 79 yards, all to Bayles. Bayles added 35 yards rushing.

Western Boone ends it's season 9-2.

It was a tough end for a large senior class for the Stars, who finished their carriers 41-12 with two state titles and two conference titles.

"The leadership that these guys have hopefully instilled in our younger classes is going to carry on," Pelley said. "And if it does, it is going to give us a chance moving forward. Because they have made our program a lot better than it was when they got here four years ago. The program is better because they were here and that's a big credit to them. There is 19 of them and they are just selfless individuals. Only one team ends up happy in this tournament, and we've been there and done that a couple of times. Tonight came down to a few plays here and a few plays there and they made the plays tonight and we didn't."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.