Miners lose home opener; edged by Wyoming East 27-26
By Kyle Lovern
RED JACKET – The Mingo Central Miners lost their opening game of the season, a tough 27-26 loss to Wyoming East at Buck Harless Stadium in the John Fry Bowl.
Mingo Central took its first lead with 11:53 left in the game at 20-19 as Chance Lester scored a touchdown and 2-point conversion.
On the next offensive possession by visiting Wyoming East, the Miners had a great defensive stand. Then with 9:58 left in the final quarter, Wyoming East fullback Coty Bishop was seriously injured coughing up the football. Bishop lost consciousness. Ethan Collins recovered the fumble for the Miners.
The trainers and the coaching staff took necessary precautions and would not move Bishop from the spot near midfield.
At that point in the game, it appeared that the Miners had the momentum. However a 40-minute delay while waiting on an ambulance seemed to shift that momentum back toward Wyoming East. An ambulance that had been stationed at the stadium had left to transport another Mingo Central player to the hospital.
The game started out with Mingo Central breaking out their new blue, black and white camo jerseys, but the first quarter belonged to the visitors.
The Warriors took the first lead with a 30 yard TD pass from QB Aaron Griffith to wide receiver Jacob Dulcie. The extra point kick gave them at 7-0 lead with 9:35 left in the opening quarter.
Mingo Central hit paydirt early in the second quarter at the 10:35 mark as Lester squeezed in to the end zone from three yards out. A bad snap on the extra point kick kept the Miners at six and they trailed 7-6.
With 7:42 left in the first half, Griffith connected with Dulcie again on a nice 40 yard TD pass. The conversion failed, but Wyoming East led 13-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, the line drive kick got by the first wave of Central players and the live football was picked up by the Warriors on the 31 yard line of MCHS.
A few plays later Bishop bulled his way in from one yard out with 4:26 left in the second quarter. The extra point kick gave the Warriors a 19-6 lead.
Mingo Central didn’t quit as they used several good running plays to move the pigskin down into Warrior territory. Sophomore Deonte Joplin broke loose on a nice run and got to the 10 yard line. Two plays later sophomore quarterback Stevie Hammond scored on a 1-yard dive play with 2:34 left in the half. On the first conversion attempt, Hammond hit senior Alex Lee in the corner of the end zone for the 2-pointer, but it was called back because of a penalty. Those missed two points would come back to haunt the Miners later in the game.
Leading 19-12, the Warriors marched up the field. They appeared to have scored another TD on a pass from Griffith to Nik Walker, but it was called back because of an ineligible receiver downfield.
The drive was stopped on the next play on an interception by Mingo’s Lee with 1:16 left in the half.
Mingo Central came out with a solid defensive stand to start the second half with a 3-and-out.
Then Jon Jon Culicerto intercepted a pass to help the Warrior defense. Neither team scored in the third quarter.
Mingo Central got their offense rolling and with 11:53, Lester gave his team the lead with a TD and 2-point conversion.
On the next series of offensive plays by Wyoming East, the injury occurred to Bishop.
A fired up Warrior squad held the Miners on their next possession. Then they moved the ball downfield and Griffith threw his third TD pass of the night, this one to Christian Hedinger. He then connected with Brad Shirley on the important 2-point conversion to give his team a 27-20 lead.
With plenty of time left in the game, once again Mingo Central moved the ball down field by using its ground game. With 1:13 left in the game, Lester scored on a nice counter play. That cut the score to 27-26.
Coach Yogi Kinder elected to go for the win with the 2-point conversion play. However, Lester was hit as he crossed the goal line and fumbled the ball.
From that point Wyoming East ran out the clock and came away with a big road win.
Lester led Central with 116 yards on 14 carries, Joplin had 84 yards on 16 attempts, Dekwon Willis had 34 yards on nine tries and Hammond 45 on nine attempts.
Griffith led East with 78 yards on 10 carries and he completed 8-12 passes for 112 yards and three TDs. Bishop rushed for 46 yards before his injury, Brian Whitt had 29 yards and David Powers 16. Dulcie had five catches and a pair of scores for the Warriors.
The Miners had 5 penalties for 60 yards, while the Warriors only had 3 flags for 30 yards.
The game was dubbed the John Fry Bowl in honor of the late assistant coach for the Miners who passed away last year. A plaque was presented to his family before the game by MCHS booster J. T. Bevins and Kinder.
Mingo Central (0-1) hits the road this week for a Cardinal Conference game with Tolsia. Wyoming East (1-0) will play host to county rival Westside this week.
Score by quarters:
Wyoming East …. 7 12 0 8 - 27
Mingo Central …. 0 12 0 14 - 26
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