MORRISTOWN -- For a game that had a combined 728 yards of total offense, Friday's first annual "Milk Jug" game came down to one play. On their fourth down attempt from the two yard line in overtime, Barnesville High's fourth down pass was ruled incomplete, sparking a celebration by the Union Local Jets for their victory over their backyard rival, 34-27.
"It looked like he caught it," stated a disappointed Luke Johnson following the game. "It looked like he caught the ball."
In the victory, Union Local wide receiver Bernie Thompson set a new school record for receptions in a game, snaring 20 passes for 228 yards. He and teammate Darby Waller also broke the Union Local record for receptions in a season as the Jets (6-4) won the 500th game in school history.
"We played well in the first half and it seemed like we fell flat in the third quarter," noted Johnson of his team's second half effort. "I thought my seniors played outstanding and that they did a nice job."
The Shamrocks finish the season 5-5, turning around from a 1-9 season last year.
"I don't think we were ever out of a game this season," Johnson said. "I thought this season we played well."
After opening the game with the ball, the Shamrocks' offense couldn't get moving after their initial first down and had to punt.
The defense turned out to be the initial catalyst, as Gage Hanlon stepped in front of Jets' quarterback Kyle Copeland's first pass, racing 53 yards for a "pick-six." Tyler Kurtz was true on the extra-point for an early 7-0 lead.
The Jets struck back quickly as Copeland completed his next three passes for 82 yards, capped by a five-yard scoring strike to Thompson. Zack Dornon blocked the PAT, leaving the 'Rocks up, 7-6.
The Belmont County rivals traded possessions before Barnesville struck again, this time offensively when Smith side-stepped what appeared to be a sure sack by the Jets' Ryan Stokes and threw a 16-yard scoring strike to Kurtz off of his back foot. The point-after went wide right for a 13-7 BHS lead.
The Jets drove 73 yards on 11 plays on their next series, capped by Copeland going off-tackle on the left for four yards to paydirt. Kaleb Blackman drilled the point-after for a 13-all tie.
Barnesville took little time taking the lead back, scoring 59 seconds later on its fourth play of the ensuing drive on a four-yard jaunt by A.J. Ritterbeck. Kurtz was true on the point-after for a 20-13 lead.
UL looked to be marching back, but Preston Dornon stopped their next drive by picking off Copeland on the Shamrocks' 20 and returning it to his 43.
After trading punts, the Shamrocks scored once more as Smith took a quarterback keeper around the left side. He looked like he was going to step out at the Jets' 45, but when the field opened up in front of him, he raced around three would-be tacklers and was in the end zone after 56 yards at the 17-second mark of the first half. Kurtz hit the point-after for a 27-13 lead.
In the second half, Union Local opened when Darby Waller took the opening kickoff from his five to Barnesville's 24-yard line. Three plays later, Copeland connected with Thompson for an eight-yard touchdown pass. Dornon blocked the point-after again, leaving the Jets down, 27-19.
The teams swapped possessions, but the Jets were not to be denied as Copeland connected with Waller for a 66-yard score. The hosts then used some trickery on the conversion attempt as Thompson threw a halfback pass to Copeland, who was wide-open on the left side of the end zone to tie the score at 27-27.
The Shamrocks' defense stepped up the rest of the second half, with Smith picking off Copeland once, and the squad stopping the Jets inside the 10 twice, including forcing a field goal attempt in the waning seconds that Kurtz got a hand on.
In overtime, Copeland completed a pair of passes to Thompson for 19 yards before going in from a yard out. Blackman's kick just cleared the crossbar for the 34-27 lead, setting up the final Barnesville series.
Smith went 14 yards for a first down then rushed for five more, getting stopped at the one-foot line. His next attempt was ruled down just short of the goal line, then the next play was stopped in the backfield for a loss.
The final play was a fade route on the right side that went to the back of the end zone, but the pass was ruled to have been trapped ending the game.
Copeland finished with 404 yards passing, completing 32-of-55 attempts. Smith passed for 125 yards and a score while rushing for 96 more. Tre' Greiner was the leading receiver with three catches for 68 yards.