ASHVILLE — Teays Valley coach Mark Weber had a simple message for his team following a 28-20 non-league loss on Friday to visiting Dunbar.
“We win as a team and we lose as a team,” he said. “When I look back at this game, every phase of the game did something to lose it and we all have to be better, and I say that starting with the coaches getting in plays sooner.”
A large homecoming crowd witnessed an ominous start to the game.
Teays Valley (4-2) was unable to capitalize on the opening possession of the game and a shanked punt went for zero yards, setting Dunbar up 42 yards away from the end zone.
The Wolverines capitalized on the field position with a five-yard touchdown pass from Nate Roberts to Brandon Wright to take a 7-0 lead.
The next TV punt traveled just 12 yards and set the Wolverines up on the Vikings’ 37 yard line.
Dunbar (2-4) went ahead 14-0 when Wright caught a fade route from Roberts on fourth-and-seven from the 17-yard line.
“It’s hard to spot a team that is athletically talented as Dunbar a 14-0 lead,” Weber said. “We knew we had to play our game to have a chance to win and we found ourselves playing their game early and fell behind.”
Riely Weiss gave the home fans something to cheer about when he scored from 66 yards out to cut the Wolverines’ lead to 14-7, following the PAT from Cale Clifton.
A short punt by Dunbar gave the Vikings the football on the Wolverine 28 late in the second quarter.
McDanel covered the real estate in just three totes, the last from two yards out, to make it 14-13 going into the break, after the PAT was blocked.
Cooper Booth gave the Vikings another short field to work with when he intercepted a pass on the opening possession of the second half and returned it to the Dunbar 13.
McDanel scored on a run around right end two players later to give the Vikings their lone lead of the night at 20-14.
Dunbar answered on its ensuing drive with a seven-yard touchdown run by Greg Packnett Jr. to take a 21-20 lead.
The Vikings had a golden opportunity to retake the lead in the fourth quarter when a Dunbar player tried to pick a punt up in a crowd, with the Vikings recovering on the Dunbar 25.
Teays Valley, however, fumbled two plays later, to give the football right back.
“That goes back to our lack of attention and detail by everyone tonight,” Weber said. “We got the play call in too late, we rushed to the line and we didn’t execute and that caused us to fumble. We just weren’t very crisp in any phase of the game and we made mistakes we normally don’t make, like a bunch of silly five-yard penalties.
“I felt that was the turning point of the game. If we go in and score, we win, but then Dunbar turned around and scored.”
As Weber eluded to, the Wolverines methodically drove the football down the field on a 15-play drive that stretched 70 yards and drained nearly eight minutes off the clock.
Dunbar converted a fourth-and-nine on a 23-yard pass from Packnett Jr. to Wright down to the TV six. Packnett Jr. scored three plays later on a one-yard keeper to make it 28-20.
Teays Valley drove down to the Dunbar 19 in the closing minute, thanks in part to a pass interference and roughing the passer fouls, but threw an interception in the end zone to end the game.
The Vikings rushed for all 177 yards of their total offense. McDanel had 104 yards on 27 carries and Weiss covered 70 yards on nine carries.
Teays Valley, which had two turnovers on the night and 70 yards worth of penalties, was 0 of 7 passing.
The Vikings resume Mid-State League Buckeye Division action next week when they host Hamilton Township (3-3, 2-1).
“We have to own this and get better,” Weber said. “We still have a lot to play for, starting with defending our league championship. This is when we see if we have warriors who will stand up and take the lead.”