By Jim Laise
BUNKER HILL, W.Va. -- Sherando overcame a sluggish start to stop Musselman at Waldeck Field on Friday night, 33-24, in nondistrict football action.
The opening night victory for the Warriors, state runners-up in Group 4A in 2013, was anything but easy.
Sherando (1-0) trailed 16-13 with 8:04 left in the third quarter when a series of events occurred in a matter of minutes to send the Warriors on their way in this visit to West Virginia.
Senior John Doleman made the first of his two interceptions with 5:50 left in the third to start the tide turning. His first pick of the second half amounted to no points for the visitors, but the interception seemed to spur on his team.
The next time the Warriors got possession, junior quarterback Patrick Minteer, moving in for the departed Reid Entsminger (Lamar), found senior Joshua Ojo on a swing pass and the wide receiver took the corner and outran everybody for a 48-yard touchdown.
Kicker Angel Rodriguez made it 20-16 visitors, and they would never trail the rest of the night.
"There were some things that happened out there that were first-game mistakes we can work on," Sherando coach Bill Hall said. "We've got to play better and coach better, but that does not mean that we came into a tough environment and came out the winner. There were things we can build on, and we'll start doing that when we get into the film room [Saturday]."
The first half was filled with penalties as the Warriors tried to get off the mark in their annual showdown with the Applemen (0-1).
Musselman scored first on a 26-yard field goal by Ever Rivas with 7:04 showing in the first quarter. Sherando thought it had the home-standers stopped, but Applemen coach Brian Thomas called a fake punt and Rivas carried the ball to the visitors' 12.
Sherando's defense stiffened, but Rivas gave the team a 3-0 lead anyway.
The Warriors' kickoff return moved into Applemen territory at the 40 and eight plays later Sherando found the end zone.
On third-and-15, Minteer, who completed 8 of 15 passes for 133 yards, connected with senior wide receiver Adam Whitacre, who made a one-handed grab of the ball and hurdled himself into the end zone. Rodriguez's extra point was good for a 7-3 Sherando lead with 2:13 showing in the first quarter.
Sherando let a scoring opportunity get away in the second quarter, as Minteer through into coverage in the end zone.
Donte Glover, who rushed for 126 yards and scored twice for Musselman, picked off the ball in the end zone.
Musselman rushed down the field but gave up the ball on downs on the Sherando 1.
Hall let 6-foot-3 sophomore Dylan Rivers take over at quarterback, and the youngster called his own number frequently to carry the rushing burden for the Warriors.
Minteer came in late in the half and, after an illegal procedure penalty shoved the ball to the Applemen 19, the quarterback connected with Rivers for the score with 25 seconds show until intermission. Rodriguez's kick failed, but it was 13-3.
A Sherando fumble to lead off the second half was recovered by Musselman's Camdan Shade at the Warrior 37. Glover carried it in from there and Rivas' point after was good. The Applemen trailed 13-10.
A screen to Glover carried 46 yards for the score on Musselman's next possession. Rivas kick went wide right, but the Applemen led 16-13 with 11:11 to go in the third quarter.
Ojo's 48-yard scoring romp and Rodriguez's kick put the Warriors ahead 20-16 with 1:39 to go in the third.
Rivers returned as Sherando's running quarterback early in the fourth quarter and galloped 44 yards to the Musselman 6. Two players later he plunged into the end zone. Rodriguez tacked on the point and the Warriors were ahead 27-16 with 11:04 remaining in the third quarter.
John Doleman came up with his second theft after Musselman got the ball back. He raced all the way to the Musselman 3. From there LeeQuan Johnson rumbled over. The extra point failed but Sherando had breathing room at 33-16.
Glover scored the night's final touchdown and Rivas' point after made it 33-24.
"There were some good things we did. I thought we threw the ball well and made some key defensive stops. We made some mistakes, but we'll get those ironed out and move on," Hall said.