ASHTON, W.Va. — They started the year without helmets.
When they took them off in defeat Friday night, the Wildcats still managed to hold their heads high.
A season that almost wasn’t ended Friday night as the Hannan football team came up short in its quest for a Senior Night upset of visiting Tolsia during a 42-6 decision in a Week 11 matchup at the Craigo Athletic Complex in Mason County.
The Wildcats (1-9) were simply overmatched against the Class A playoff-bound Rebels (7-3) as the hosts mustered only four first downs and 96 yards of offense while ending the year on a 5-game losing skid.
Tolsia — which churned out 420 yards of total offense — built a 14-0 first quarter lead and was ahead 36-0 with a shade over four minutes remaining in the first half.
The Blue and White, however, made their lone big play of the night pay off late in the second quarter. After taking over possession with 1:02 left following a defensive stand, HHS needed only one play to cover 55 yards while putting its only points on the scoreboard.
Logan Barker hit Brady Edmunds on a sideline pass, then Edmunds remained upright following a hit — then spun back towards the middle of the field before outracing the THS defense to the end zone.
Edmunds’ 55-yard catch-and-run came with 43.7 seconds left before halftime, cutting the Hannan deficit down to 36-6 at the intermission.
It was also the only other first down for the Wildcats in the first half, with the very first movement of the chains coming on Hannan’s second play from scrimmage in the opening quarter.
HHS committed four turnovers in the contest and finished the night minus-3 in turnover differential, with Devrick Burris coming away with the lone Hannan takeaway during a second quarter fumble recovery.
The Rebels — who tacked on a third quarter score that led to a running fourth quarter clock — produced 345 rushing yards on 44 attempts, an average of 7.8 yards per carry. The guests also had 20 more passing yards and claimed a sizable 17-4 advantage in first downs.
John Wilson started the scoring with a 50-yard run to paydirt with 5:50 left in the first period, making it a 6-0 contest. Gavin Meadows followed with an 8-yard run at the 2:24 mark, and a Jesse Muncy 2-point conversion run gave the guests a 14-point edge after 12 minutes.
Meadows then covered 58 yards on the next touchdown run, which came 11 seconds into the second quarter. Tanner Copley hauled in a 2-point conversion pass from Muncy for a 22-0 lead.
Muncy then found Zachary Ball on a 38-yard bomb down the left sideline, and Muncy added a 2-point conversion run for a 30-point edge with 7:38 left until halftime.
The Rebels took their first 36-point advantage of the contest with 4:03 left in the half as Muncy rumbled in from a yard out. Muncy also scored on an 11-yard scamper with 9:06 remaining in the third canto.
William Newsome, David Dingess and John Wilson respectively recovered a fumble apiece for THS in each of the first three quarters. Josh Muncy also picked off a pass late in the fourth stanza.
The Rebels were penalized 12 times for 90 yards, while the hosts drew flags only seven times for 52 yards. The Wildcats rushed the ball 31 times for only 41 yards in the setback.
Jordan Fitzwater led the HHS rushing attack with 23 yards on 11 carries, followed by Barker with 15 yards on 10 attempts. Chris Exline also had 11 totes for three yards.
Barker completed only 1-of-6 passes for 55 yards, which included one touchdown and one interception. Edmunds hauled in the lone Hannan pass for 55 yards and a score.
Tolsia had seven different rushers produce double-digit yardage, with Wilson leading the way with 115 yards on eight carries. Meadows was next with 102 yards on four attempts.
Muncy completed 3-of-4 passes for 71 yards, while Dingess was 1-of-4 passing for four yards. Ball led the THS wideouts with two grabs for 64 yards.
It was the final football game for seniors Chris Exline, Devrick Burris, Jordan Fitzwater, Noah Montgomery and Zachary Plants in the Blue and White.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.