NEWTOWN — The No. 1 seeded Burch Middle School football defeated the Matewan Tigers 52-22 this past Thursday night at Mingo Central High School’s Buck Harless Stadium in Mingo County playoff action.
The Dogs won the coin toss and elected to defer, but the Tigers proceeded to take the ball 50 yards on just four plays for a touchdown and were successful on the two-point conversion to take a quick 8-0 lead.
Before the Tigers had a chance to celebrate their lead on the Bulldogs, Drew Hatfield took the first play from scrimmage 52 yards to the house for a Burch TD. The conversion was no good and Matewan led 8-6.
The Tigers were once again moving the ball on their next possession, when Hatfield stripped the ball from a Matewan runner and returned the fumble 57 yards for a Bulldog score. The conversion was also good by Hatfield and Burch took an early 14-8 lead.
On the Tigers first play from scrimmage on their very next possession, Hatfield once again stripped the ball from a Matewan runner and fell on the ball. Matewan’s defense stepped up and held the Bulldogs to a turnover on downs and regained possession of the ball in good field position.
The Tigers then completed a halfback pass which moved the ball to the Bulldogs 10-yard line. After the play, Hatfield was then removed from the game due to an illness and Matewan scored three plays later to make the score 14-14 at the start of the second quarter.
With Hatfield out of the game, the Bulldogs needed to step up, and no one did that better than Gavin Farley. Farley was moved to quarterback and the Dogs proceeded to eat up the rest of the second quarter behind Farley’s running and the score remained tied 14-14 at the half.
The Bulldogs started the second half with the ball but no Hatfield. Once again the Bulldogs stepped up behind some nifty running by Farley. Burch held the ball for much of the third quarter which was capped off by a 27-yard TD run by Farley. The conversion failed, but the Bulldogs lead 20-14 with only three minutes left in the quarter.
Matewan would answer back quickly on a 53-yard TD run from Cisco. The conversion was good and the Tigers led No. 1 Burch 22-20 with just minutes left in the third quarter.
Hatfield then returned and Burch went on to put the game away. Hatfield took the ball 34 yards on his first play back down to the Tigers 10-yard line and Isaac Moore punched the ball in from 2 yards out. The conversion was good by Farley and the Dogs led 28-22.
The Bulldogs stopped the Tigers on their next possession and Hatfield answered with a 54-yard touchdown run on the Bulldogs first play from scrimmage. Hatfield then hit Kaylix Varney in the back of the end zone for the conversion and Burch led 36-22.
Matewan was forced to punt on their next possession and Hatfield returned the ball 33 yards to put Burch in position to score again. Hatfield then handed the ball to Dalton Toops who rumbled for a 14-yard touchdown. The conversion was good on a pass from Hatfield to Garrett Noe and Burch led 44-22.
Burch would add one more score on a a great 19-yard catch by Garrett Noe from Hatfield. The conversion was good by Zane Hatfield and the Bulldogs won going away 52-22.
The Bulldogs offense was led by Hatfield with 154 yards rushing on only five carries and two touchdowns. Hatfield also had a passing TD and another on a fumble return and one rushing conversion. Farley had a career high 91 yards rushing on 13 carries and one touchdown.
The defense was led by Hatfield’s nine tackles and two forced fumbles.
Matewan was led by Cisco with 15 rushes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs are now 7-1 overall and 6-0 in county play and will face Lenore (5-3) in the county championship game on Thursday at Harless Stadium. Lenore advanced to the finals with an 8-6 playoff win at Gilbert last week.