West Muskingum takes overtime thriller at Fairland

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PROCTORVILLE, Ohio (WOUB) — West Muskingum’s three hour drive would pay off big time as the Tornadoes take down the Fairland Dragons in round one of the OHSAA State Playoffs. 7th seeded Fairland and 10th seeded West Muskingum both looking to move on as the playoffs would begin. Head coach Nathan Brownrigg and the West Muskingum Tornadoes looked to end a program playoff drought on the backs of Junior QB Rashid Sesay and Senior RB Ty Shawger, having never won a playoff game in program history.  

The Dragons would take the opening kickoff and the clock would run fast in the first quarter. The first drive for Fairland would eat the first nine minutes of the quarter. Capping off the drive would be a 1-yard touchdown run by Quarterback Steeler Leep, 7-0 Dragons

West Muskingum would take over and the end of the first quarter would tick off as the Tornadoes switch sides of the field and would begin their drive towards the southern end zone. The Tornadoes would be unable to convert, punting and putting the Dragons deep in their own territory. 

On the second play of the drive the Tornadoes Defense would step up, Senior defensive back Slater Sampsel reads the pass and intercepts Steeler Leep’s pass. 

Short runs from the offense would put West M in position to strike, as Quarterback Jake Anton would hit his receiver in stride to give West Muskingum their first points of the game and tying the score 7-7.

Fairland would take over with 2 minutes left, executing their offense scheme of short check down passes and powerful runs, the Dragons would stand inside their own 30 as time would run short. 

With 3.5 seconds on the clock the Dragons would attempt the field goal, the Tornadoes would rush the line and tip the ball keeping it out of the uprights and keeping the score 7-7 through the end of the first half. 

The Beginning of the second half would continue to be a battle in the trenches for both sides, short runs and 3 and outs would dominate most of the game. Each team would show their strengths on the line as the Dragons and the Tornadoes would force the run game to go stale on each side of the field. 

West Muskingum would be the first to shake up the second half, Quarterback Jake Anton would once again look to the air, this time from 29-yards out, hitting the end zone with a bucket catch and putting the Tornadoes up 14-7 over the Dragons.  

More of the back and forth smash mouth football would continue for each side of the ball. The Dragons would force 4th down turnovers from the Tornadoes, and the Tornadoes would respond in turn forcing a punt from the Dragons at the beginning of the 4th Quarter. 

The 4th quarter action would remain the same as both teams battled back and forth, eventually the tables would turn. Fairland would receive a punt from the Tornadoes deep in their own territory. The Dragons would pick up yards on the return but would strike big soon after, Junior Brycen Hunt would take the ball on his own 30-yard line and run it 70 yards downfield and score big to tie the game at 14-14 with just 1:21 on the clock. 

West Muskingum would take over and take the ball down to the 27 yard line where they would fail to convert on their first two downs. On a 3rd and 10 for West M, 11 seconds on the clock, Quarterback Jake Anton would throw up a prayer to the end zone, where it would be intercepted by Fairland to force overtime. 

Fairland would win the coin toss, opting to take the ball on offense first in the south end zone. Two short plays from the Dragons would line them up on a 1st and goal from the 9-yard line. Steeler Leep would take back to back carries and eventually score from 2-yards out. The PAT would be good putting the Dragons up 21-14 and the Tornadoes would take their shot at the end zone. 

West Muskingum Quarterback Rashid Sesay would take it himself for the TD from 5 yards out. Opting to go for the 2pt attempt, Jake Anton would throws a pass incomplete, but Fairland would be called for pass interference. Lining up on the 1-yard line on their second attempt, Senior RB Ty Shawger would carry it the distance and West Muskingum would take the win 21-22 over the Fairland Dragons. 

10th Seeded West Muskingum Tornadoes now moves on with the win and faces the winner of the matchup between 2nd seed Harvest Prep, and 15 seed Meigs in round 2 of the playoffs.