River High School's starting quarterback Cody Caldwell - returning to action after being out a week because of an injury - accumulated a career-high 137 yards on the ground and completed five passes for 62 yards an another score.
However, Bishop Rosecrans rallied from a 14 point halftime deficit to post a come-from-behind 18-14 victory in Hannibal Sept. 30 on the Pilot homecoming night.
After holding Rosecrans on downs, the Pilots drove the ball down field on nice runs, but the Rosecrans defense held River on downs and started its next offensive series at their own 30 yard line.
The fired-up River defense forced a three-and-out and took the ball over at their own 40 yard line. On the Pilot second offensive series, Caldwell hooked up with Brok Cross on a spectacular 23-yard pick up, and the Pilot quarterback picked up huge yardage on a keeper. Caldwell capped off the impressive drive with another spectacular pitch-and-catch from Caldwell to Austin McConn for 20-yards and a score. After the Colton Wright extra-point kick, the Pilots were on top 7-0 late in the first period.
After the ensuing kickoff, the Pilots' Garth Richter hit a Rosecrans defender on a nice defensive stop. But, Richter had to be rolled off the field off on a stretcher and didn't return. It was nice to have New Martinsville native and athletic trainer Jeremy Shepherd on hand to see that Richter got the best possible care. Shepherd got some of his training from the NFL San Diego Chargers last season.
After the long stoppage of play and a pair of Rosecrans first downs, Kameron Brown swiped a Bishop pass out of the air and the Pilots were back in business at their own 18 yard line. On the first play of the second period, Caldwell raced to the outside on a keeper and picked up 81 yards. But, a nice play by the Rosecrans safety forced a fumble. However, the Pilots' Brown was Johnny-on-the-Spot and recovered in the end zone for a River touchdown. After the Wright PAT, the Pilots were up 14-0 in dominating fashion.
The Pilot defense held and would march down the field once more. But, after a couple of first downs, River had to punt for the first time.
Bishop Rosecrans knocked on the door before the first half ended. But, a nice tackle by Caldwell and a pair of nice goal-line tackles halted the Rosecrans touchdown drive and he Pilots went into the locker room up 14-0.
On the field, the 54th Pilot homecoming saw River seniors Jared Hinkle and Torey Potts being crowned homecoming king and queen.
When the second half got underway, the Bishops drove 69 yards on seven plays, capped off by a six-yard TD scamper to record its first touchdown of the game early in the third period.
Two plays later, the Pilots had to pay for a fumble when Bishop scored on a two-yard run. Rosecrans tried to knot the game on a two-point conversion run, but the Pilot defense rose to the occasion to stay on top 14-12.
Late in the game, the Pilots went from their own five yard line to Bishop's 25 yard line and were in the midst of a game-clinching TD. However, the Pilots coughed up the ball and Bishop picked it up and went the distance to take a 18-14 lead with a little over three minutes remaining in the game.
The Plots mounted a threat, but only to see it stopped on downs at the Rosecrans 42 yard line.
"I have never lost a game like that before," said a dejected River Head Coach Mike Flannery. "We put together a great drive from our own five yard line to seemingly ice the game, but it all turned on one play.
"We played a strong first half and probably could have had a better than a 14-0 lead," continued Flannery. "They started to wear us down in the second half, and their running game was starting to give us problems. But, our defense rose up when we needed it and it appeared we were going to able to weather the storm. Give credit to Rosecrans. They are well coached and have a nice ball club, making the plays when they needed them."
Caldwell paced the Pilots' offense with 137 yards rushing on nine carries, while converting five passes for 62 yards and a score. Jordan Sapp recorded 53 yards rushing, while Logan Lucas netted 19 yards rushing. McConn and Jonathan Stewart each netted positive yardage for the Pilots.
The Pilots will travel up river to take on the Bulldogs of Bridgeport High School at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 7.