[portfolio_slideshow]By Matt Kelton Pioneer Sentinel
Despite a messy first half, Petrolia opened its football season Friday night with a 30-28 overtime win over Cross Plains in Jacksboro Friday night.
Tied 22-22, the Pirates took first possession of the ball in overtime to score from 10 yards out. Petrolia opened the drive with a 16-yard Ryan Harrison run from the 25-yard line. Three plays later, Brandon Shipley found the end zone on a 10-yard scamper.
Harrison ran in the two-point conversion to put Petrolia up 30-22.
The Pirate defense held Cross Plains to only short gains through the first three plays of the Buffaloes’ first overtime possession. Cross Plains pounded its way to the 21-yard line before quarterback Tristen Stephenson found receiver Colton McWilliams in the end zone to score.
Down by two, Cross Plains attempted to run for extra points, but fell short for the final score.
Even with a slew of penalties in the first quarter, Petrolia managed to take a quick 14-0 lead. With more than half of the quarter remaining, Will Morath broke loose a 68-yard run to put Petrolia on the scoreboard, followed by a two-point conversion run from Harrison. Petrolia scored again with 1 minute, 54 seconds remaining when Harrison found receiver Dustin Hanusch wide open. The two-point conversion failed.
In all four quarters combined, Petrolia committed 10 penalties for 95 yards, most in the first half. The Pirates also lost four of seven fumbles, both issues Petrolia Head Coach Byron Gravitt summed up as first-game mistakes.
The fumbles would especially plague the Pirates in the second quarter.
With 9:19 remaining in the quarter, the Buffaloes scored on a quarterback keeper from nine yards out, followed by a two-point conversion. By the end of the quarter, Cross Plains had scored again – a drive that began with a recovered Pirate fumble – on a 66-yard run from Stephenson. The quarterback found his receiver in the end zone for the conversion, putting the Buffaloes in a 16-14 lead at halftime.
Stephenson added six points to the Cross Plains lead in the fourth quarter on a one-yard run.
Down by eight with 2:46 remaining in regulation play, Shipley scored on a 10-yard run, and Harrison connected with Hanusch for the conversion to tie the game.
Petrolia passed for 17 yards. Led by Morath, the Pirates rushed for 393 yards on 41 carries. Morath had 148 yards on 19 carries, while Shipley had six carries for 110 yards.
Cross Plains had 147 yards on 30 carries, and passed for 20 yards. Petrolia forced Cross Plains to punt five times for a 30-yard average, while the Pirates found themselves in punt formation once for a five-yard kick. Wind played a factor in the second half of the game.
Next week, Petrolia travels to Collinsville.