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Warriors fall to Applemen

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Musselman linebacker Michael Barrett (56) fights off a block from Sherando's Matt Lowery and pursues Taylor Loudan (3) during second-quarter action Friday in Bunker Hill, W.Va. Journal Photo by Ron Agnir

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Sherando's Taylor Loudan rushes for a big gain during first-quarter action Friday evening in Bunker Hill, W.Va. Journal photo by Ron Agnir

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Musselman running back Josh Ferguson (20) gets tackled by Sherando's George Aston (10) as John Bentley (2) pursues during second-quarter action Friday in Bunker Hill, W.Va. Journal Photo by Ron Agnir

By Stephen Boyle - sports@nvdaily.com

BUNKER HILL, W.Va. -- Musselman head coach Denny Price couldn't relax.

Price's Appleman never trailed against the Sherando Warriors on Friday night, but they also never had a comfortable lead. In the end Price's squad topped the Warriors, 21-19.

After a bad snap on fourth down gave Sherando the ball on the 26-yard line, quarterback Reid Entsminger zipped a slant pass over the middle to Joshua Wagner to make it 14-13.

The PAT attempt sailed through the uprights, but only after a whistle for encroachment had blown the play dead. On the second PAT attempt, Musselman senior Michael Barrett powered his way up the middle for a block that Price could only describe as "huge."

A touchdown run by Josh Ferguson on the Appleman's next series put the game almost out of reach. Ferguson finished the day with 107 rushing yards on 20 carries, but Sherando senior Taylor Loudan had a quick answer after the Warriors recovered an onside kick.

Loudan bobbled a pitch, dropped it behind the line of scrimmage, then picked it up and ran 61 yards for a score. The run gave Loudan 100 rushing yards on just 10 carries. He also had 31 yards receiving for the Warriors. Loudan's touchdown made it 21-19, but it was almost called back as an incomplete pass.

"I thought if there was any way they could call it back they'd find a way," said Sherando coach Bill Hall, who felt penalties played a huge factor in the Warriors' loss.

He was quick to add that Sherando football doesn't want to make excuses and that Musselman is a tough place to play even if you don't commit costly penalties.

Unfortunately for Hall, the Warriors were unable to eliminate mental mistakes.

Entsminger got into the end zone on a quarterback scramble for a two-point conversion that would've tied the game, but it was called back for holding and the Warriors pass attempt on the next play failed.

"We lost the last three years the exact same way they lost," Price said.

This time penalties were the reason Musselman was able to come away with the victory.
Another key was the play of senior quarterback Caleb Dembeck. Dembeck's only been playing the position for two years, but Friday he had a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown. Dembeck was also 13-for-20 for 112 yards, but he was quick to give credit to his offensive line and receivers.

"I'm feeling great," Dembeck said. "It's one of those major wins we've been talking about. A good quality win over a good quality opponent."

The win improves Musselman to 1-1 on the season, while Sherando falls to 0-2. Price believes the faithful Musselman crowd helped the Appleman scrape past the Warriors.

"We stunk the place up last week," Price said. "I'm just real tickled with the fan support. It's great to play at home in front of these guys."

Sherando's first home game is next week against Washington. Hall hopes the team can rebound from the early season disappointments.

"We've got to keep learning, and I think the big thing right now is we need to fix us," he said. "We've just got to keep focusing on the process, and everything else will take care of itself."

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