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Applemen stem Cougars tide

October 10, 1998

By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Musselman did its level best to make sure the Jefferson football team only retired one No. 1 on Friday.

On the night that the Cougars retired the No. 1 jersey of former standout James Jett, Jefferson extended the Applemen to the brink of losing their newly acquired top ranking in The Herald-Mail's latest Super Seven poll.

And almost fittingly, Musselman survived by one point.

The Applemen preserved their seventh straight win as Ryan Parsons penetrated and batted down Adam Webb's extra point attempt for a heart-stopping 30-29 double-overtime victory before an overflow crowd at Jefferson High.

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"We came up big in the second half and made some big plays," said Musselman's relieved coach Denny Price. "But we gave up some big plays, too."

None were bigger than the three - two by Musselman and one by Jefferson - in the second overtime. With the game tied at 20-20 after regulation and 23-23 in the first overtime, the two teams spent a second round of each offense working the ball from the 20.

Musselman won the toss for the second extra period after Chad Brock nailed a 20-yard field goal to match B.J. Mercer's 27-yard kick to end the first extra session.

On the first play of the second OT, Kevin Dingus took an inside handoff on a reverse to the left and turned the corner for a 20-yard jaunt for the go-ahead score and his third touchdown of the game. Dingus also scored on runs of 29 and 43 yards while rushing for 115 yards in 14 carries.

"Jefferson was committing more players to stop (Kevin) Shade and we got to the outside," Price said.

The Cougars countered by grinding out five plays from the 20 before Eric Smoot hit Webb through traffic on a 12-yard pass in the back corner of the end zone.

"It was a play we drew up on the sideline during the timeout," Jefferson coach Jay Kirby said. "We just ran it back to the corner of the end zone to our split end."

Dingus' biggest play, for no yardage, followed. His move on the extra point opened a lane for Parsons, leading to the block and the game.

"Dingus did a good job," Parsons said. "He took an outside route to the ball and it opened it up for me to go underneath. I wasn't really surprised I got to the ball because we have been practicing it and if we do it right, we get in there."

Jefferson (1-5) pushed Musselman, the second-ranked Class AAA team in West Virginia, to the very brink. The Cougars rolled up 383 yards of offense, mostly off 255 yards of passing by Smoot.

Jefferson took a 13-0 lead on the Applemen on a 65-yard touchdown pass to Damon McDowell and the first of two short touchdown runs by Mercer. Musselman trailed 13-6 at the half after Dingus' first touchdown.

Todd Mosby ran a quarterback draw for a 72-yard touchdown to open the fourth before Mercer scored from the 4 to knot the score at 20, setting up the overtime.

It was a shootout that Jett, the Oakland Raiders game-breaking wide receiver, thrived on when he played for Jefferson in 1989.

"There were no losers on the field tonight," Kirby said.

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