In one of the region’s best football games of 2018, the host Falcons grabbed a 36-30 overtime victory against the previously undefeated Wolfpack, turning the Mountain 7 into a three-team dogfight heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Ridgeview (7-1, 5-1) is finished with its league schedule, but Abingdon (6-2, 4-0) still has Mountain 7 games remaining at once-beaten Union and at home against Lee.
The Falcons made sure that Ridgeview did not claim its first football title in its short history when running back William Seymore scooted into the end zone in overtime on a second-and-goal run from the 23.
Moments earlier, after an offensive holding penalty and a 10-yard loss on a quarterback sack, Ridgeview kicker Joe Meggison missed a 36-yard field goal attempt.
“You can always say there were too many mistakes in any game you lose,” said veteran Ridgeview coach Rick Mullins, whose team lost a second-quarter fumble at the Abingdon 3. “Bottom line is we just came up a little short on the scoreboard in a heck of a football game.”
The Falcons, who outgained Ridgeview by more than 200 yards, found themselves down 30-20 when Wolfpack quarterback Tyler O’Quin threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to McKenzie Sproles with 11:55 left in regulation.
However, following an exchange of punts, Ridgeview lost a fumble during a handoff attempt at its own 24 to give the Falcons life.
On the next play, Abingdon scored on a 24-yard pass from quarterback Gabe Boothe to Holt Dotson, who finished with four catches for 124 yards.
Abingdon forced a three-and-out on Ridgeview’s next possession, leaving the Falcons with 5:33 to make something happen.
“They made some big plays,” Mullins said. “Both teams did all night. We knew that they wanted to run the ball. We just didn’t get ’em stopped.”
Behind a running game that punished Ridgeview all evening, the Falcons moved down to the Wolfpack 7, setting up Graham Griffith for a successful 25-yard field goal with 18 seconds in regulation, tying the score at 30-30 and sending the contest into overtime.
Abingdon was led on the ground by sophomore Martin Lucas, who ran 29 times for 146 yards, and Seymore, who scored twice and gained 92 yards on 18 tries.
Boothe threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns, including a 17-yard scoring hookup to Tyler Thayer that provided the Falcons with a 14-3 lead in the second quarter.
With the Wolfpack down 14-3, Jacob Hensley lifted Ridgeview with an 89-yard kickoff return for a score, cutting the Falcons’ lead to 14-10 at halftime.
Then, after Abingdon went up 20-10 on a 1-yard sneak by Boothe, Ridgeview scored three touchdowns in a span of eight minutes to gain its 30-20 advantage.
An interception and long return by Alijah Sproles helped aid the Wolfpack comeback, which featured the scoring pass to McKenzie Sproles, a 4-yard strike from O’Quin to Timmy Hess, and a 7-yard touchdown scamper by Trenton Adkins.
Adkins finished with 76 yards on 18 carries, while the Ridgeview passing game was geared toward Sproles, who caught nine balls for 66 yards.
The Wolfpack finished with 171 total yards to Abingdon’s 418.
“This is a terrific win,” said Abingdon rookie coach Garrett Amburgey. “That’s a good football team over there, but our kids never gave up and kept working.
“We’ll go over to Union next week and see what happens. We know we’ll have our hands full, but we can control our own fate and that’s all you can ask.”