WILLIAMSBURG - Williamsburg erased a 16-point second-half deficit and rode the momentum to take the lead in overtime with a quick score.
Just moments later, the Blue Pirates found themselves watching another team celebrate - again.
Chad Speigle broke several tackles and scored on a 10-yard touchdown run on West Branch's first offensive play of overtime, and Parker Emigh kicked the game-winning extra point after blocking Quinton Snyder's attempt just minutes before as the Warriors topped Williamsburg, 23-22, at War Memorial Field.
"The kids stepped it up," Williamsburg coach Bob Hearn said. "You hate to see anybody lose a game like this. It was a well-played game, and West Branch is a good football team and a good group of kids. I guess it is just what happens."
The Blue Pirates closed the book on a 2-8 season, but unlike years past, Williamsburg was competitive in almost every game.
"We started out the year with some tough games," Hearn said. "Then we had some injuries that set us back. The kids kept playing harder as the season went on, and even through the end of the season, I thought we became a better football team."
Speigle put West Branch ahead early with a 6-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and a 62-yard punt by Emigh to the Williamsburg 1-yard line helped set up a safety after Morgan Selepack sacked Williamsburg quarterback Austin McMonagle in the end zone.
Williamsburg managed just 43 yards and three first downs in the first half.
"We have probably the toughest 18 players in the state," West Branch coach Lester Smeal said. "We're playing iron-man football. Our players never come out, and they play both ways all the time."
The Warriors' defense, though, seemed to slow a bit in the second half but not before Speigle put West Branch (5-5) ahead 16-0 on a 58-yard touchdown run. Speigle ran for 106 yards on 21 carries in his final high school game.
McMonagle capped a 72-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 4:02 left in the third. The junior QB ran in a two-point conversion with a bootleg to bring the Pirates within one score.
Williamsburg had a chance to tie the game early in the fourth quarter, but McMonagle's pass to Caleb Morrissey was broken up at the 1-yard line on fourth down.
Thanks to a solid defensive effort in the second half, however, Williamsburg got another chance.
The Blue Pirates used a 14-play drive during which they converted on two long fourth downs to tie the game with 1:24 left.
Sophomore Mike Biddle, who finished with 52 yards on 11 carries, scored from 3 yards out to bring Williamsburg within two. McMonagle connected with Biddle for a two-point conversion pass to even the game.
"I challenged them at halftime, and the kids played a lot better in the second half," Hearn said.
Shanholtz scored on a 2-yard run in overtime, but the Blue Pirates' celebration stopped there.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
West Branch7 2 7 0 7 - 23
Williamsburg0 0 8 8 6 - 22
WB-Speigle 6 run (Emigh kick), 6:13
WB-Safety (McMonagle sacked in end zone), 11:10
WB-Speigle 58 run (Emigh kick), 9:49.
W-McMonagle 1 run (McMonagle run), 4:02.
W-Biddle 3 run (Biddle pass from McMonagle), 1:24.
W-Shanholtz 2 run (kick failed).
WB-Speigle 10 run (Emigh kick).
RUSHING: West Branch-Speigle 21-106, K. Smeal 11-44, Sanker 4-6, Emigh 1-2. Williamsburg-Shanholtz 21-61, Biddle 11-52, T. Bookhammer 1-4, C. Morrissey 1-1, TEAM 1-(-1), McMonagle 8-(-2).
PASSING: West Branch-Sanker 4-9-0-50. Williamsburg-McMonagle 9-22-0-119.
RECEIVING: West Branch-L. Smeal 2-3, Emigh 1-33, Pennington 1-14. Williamsburg-C. Morrissey 4-34, Biddle 3-22, Snyder 1-49, T. Bookhammer 1-14.
INTERCEPTIONS: West Branch-none. Williamsburg-none.