GREENSBORO -- Bentworth and Mapletown traded punches all game long in a high-scoring Tri-County South Conference battle full of big plays on Friday night.
The final, deciding blow delivered by Bearcats running back Owen Petrisek was the most spectacular of the them all.
With Bentworth trailing 42-41, the 5-foot-7 junior took a pitch and seemed to be hemmed in by the Maples defense, but he somehow broke free and scampered down the left sideline for a 25-yard touchdown that provided the Bearcats with the winning score with 2:14 left on the clock.
Bentworth's defense snuffed out Mapletown's final drive to secure a 47-42 victory, the first of the season for the Bearcats and first-year coach JJ Knabb while spoiling the Maples' homecoming night.
"The work that these guys have put in, just seeing their work come to fruition, it means a lot," Knabb said.
George Messich has witnessed plenty of wild games over his 39-year career as coach at Mapletown but put Friday's high on his list of thrillers.
"This one ranks up there near the top," Messich said. "It was almost like who got the ball last would win."
Trent Cavanaugh led a strong Bentworth ground game with 169 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries and Petrisek added 77 yards on 14 attempts. Bearcats quarterback Shawn Dziak gave the running attack balance by completing eight of 14 passes for 190 yards, although he was intercepted twice.
"This is the game plan we wanted to execute from the beginning of the year and offensively it finally I think clicked for these guys," Knabb said. "We've got two fantastic running backs with Owen and Trent. Shawn's great at quarterback. He controls those guys. And to see them respond every time we needed to was just absolutely fantastic."
Bentworth (1-2, 1-4) led 27-18 at halftime and then the first five possessions in a roller-coaster second half resulted in touchdowns.
Mapletown freshman Landon Stevenson, who had a stellar game with 195 rushing yards and four touchdowns, scored on an 11-yard run and ran in the two-point conversion early in the third quarter to pull his team within one, 27-26.
Bentworth responded with a five-yard TD run by Petrisek, and Trevor Richardson, who was five-for-five on extra-point kicks, made it 34-26.
Stevenson answered with a 17-yard scoring run and another two-point run to knot the score at 34-34 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter, but Dziak found Dylan Farkas open for a 68-yard touchdown pass just 29 seconds later to give the visitors a 41-34 advantage heading in the fourth quarter.
Mapletown (0-3, 1-4) fired right back with another touchdown drive capped by Stevenson's one-yard run behind the block of fullback Zach Greene. Maples quarterback Max Vanata tossed a two-point pass to Lance Stevenson and suddenly the hosts were on top, 42-41, with 9:15 left.
Both defenses finally stepped up in the waning moments of the game.
Bentworth marched from its own 33 to the Maples four-yard line but was stopped when Chuckie Lash broke up Dziak's fourth-down pass to Austyn Pistilli.
The Bearcats in turn forced a crucial three-and-out with the key play being Dziak dropping Landon Stevenson for a six-yard loss on third and two.
"That was huge," Knabb said. "That was one of the biggest plays of the game. When the defense needed to step up they did. They were huge at the end of the game."
Mapletown was missing a key part of its running attack on the play.
"Right before we snapped the ball our fullback (Zach Greene) came out of the game," Messich said. "He got hurt right there and we were planning on him blocking for us."
Mapletown was forced to punt and two plays later Petrisek made his clutch run.
"It was 19 option and the quarterback pitches straight to me and I was looking just find the hole," Petrisek said. "I hit the outside and I watched the corner go to the top and I knew I could cut back so I took off and cut back one more time and scored a touchdown."
Petrisek came perilously close to going out of bounds but barely managed to stay inside the line.
"I thought it was very close but I don't stop until I hear the whistle, I just keep going," he said.
"It felt amazing to get out there and do that for the team and help lift them to this win."
Mapletown advanced into Bentworth territory on its final drive but turned the ball over on downs in the final seconds.
"I give Bentworth credit," Messich said. "Their running backs I thought did a tremendous job for them. They ran, they broke tackles."
Mapletown took a 6-0 lead on its first possession with a 16-yard run by Lance Stevenson and a 32-yard burst by Landon Stevenson igniting an eight-play, 59-yard drive capped by Vanata's one-yard sneak.
Two plays later, Dziak completed a 61-yard touchdown pass to Petrisek who, as he did on the winning TD, fought free after it looked like he was penned in near the sideline and raced into the end zone.
Landon Stevenson's interception and 22-yard return set up his own six-yard touchdown run on the following play to give the Maples a 12-6 lead after the first quarter.
Cavanaugh's 30-yard touchdown run put Bentworth in front, 13-12, early in the second quarter, but Lance Stevenson's interception and 31-yard return to midfield led to six-play TD drive capped by Greene's eight-yard run to give Mapletown an 18-13 lead.
The Bearcats struck twice late in the half as Cavanaugh scored on a 49-yard run and then found the end zone again on a 10-yard run six plays after Ethan Luketich recovered a Maples fumble for a 27-18 halftime lead.
Lance Stevenson rushed for 55 yards on seven carries and caught two passes for 18 yards. Landon Stevenson had two receptions for 28 yards and Clay Menear made two catches for 10 yards. Vanata completed six of 11 passes for 56 yards.
Mapletown lost seven starters to injury two weeks ago in a defeat at Jefferson-Morgan but got most of those players back for Bentworth.
"Once again we made a lot of freshmen-sophomore mistakes," Messich said. "We start three freshmen, and actually five sophomores tonight. They're young and they're being competitive and it's still a bright future for us."
Tri-County South Conference
Bentworth 6-21-14-6 -- 47
Mapletown 12-6-16-8 -- 42
M: Max Vanata 1 run (run failed), 7:42
B: Owen Petrisek 61 pass from Shawn Dziak (pass failed), 6:50
M: Landon Stevenson 6 run (pass failed), 0:46
B: Trent Cavanaugh 30 run (Trevor Richardson kick), 11:14
M: Zach Greene 8 run (run failed), 4:03
B: Trent Cavanaugh 49 run (Trevor Richardson kick), 2:49
B: Trent Cavanaugh 10 run (Trevor Richardson kick), 0:41
M: Landon Stevenson 11 run (Landon Stevenson run), 8:09
B: Owen Petrisek 5 run (Trevor Richardson kick), 4:55
M: Landon Stevenson 17 run (Landon Stevenson run), 0:30
B: Dylan Farkas 68 pass from Shawn Dziak (Trevor Richardson kick), 0:01
M: Landon Stevenson 1 run (Lance Stevenson pass from Max Vanata), 9:15
B: Owen Petrisek 25 run (run failed), 2:14.
Records: Bentworth (1-2, 1-4), Mapletown (0-3, 1-4)