PIKEVILLE - Look at it any way you want, but the bottom line is this: It was your typical Pikeville-Lambuth football game.
In a rivalry that has seen Pikeville rally from 27 points down in the third period to win and score 26 unanswered points in the final 5:49 to have a conversion pass to tie fall short, the Bears built a 24-7 lead with 1:31 left in the first half only to see the eagles rally for a tie.
In the end, the Bears pulled out a 34-27 win to improve to 3-4 on the season. The Eagles are now 2-5 after dropping their third straight decision.
The Bears scored first with 4:33 left in the opening period when freshman quarterback Dan Wideman finished off a 71-yard, 11-play drive with a 20-yard run that saw him cross the entire field en route to the end zone. Sophomore Kyle Chilton's kick made it 7-0.
The Eagles responded with a nine-play, 72-yard drive that ended with 30 seconds left in the period when Kevin Haynes scored from 11 yards out to tie the score.
From there, the Bears posted 17 unanswered points. They came on a 39-yard field goal by Chilton, a seven-yard run by Wideman and an 11-yard run by De'von Joseph. The last of those came with 1:31 left in the half and put the Bears on top 24-7.
But Lambuth began its rally before the half ended when junior Landon Talley caught a five-yard pass from junior Mark Kelly with 42 seconds left to send the teams to the half with Pikeville on top 24-13.
The Bears got on the scoreboard first in the second half when Chilton booted a 34-yard field goal at the 10:21 mark to make it 27-13. But Lambuth needed no time to respond, as Kelly hit Talley on the first play of the ensuing drive for a 76-yard touchdown pass only 18 seconds later to make it a seven-point game.
Kelly tied the game when he ended a 16-play, 80-yard drive that took 7:06 off the clock by hitting junior fullback Shane Smith on a 13-yard score with 13:09 left in the game.
The Bears turned the ball over on their next drive and then forced a Lambuth punt that went out of bounds after covering only 23 yards, giving the Bears the ball at their own 47. Only six plays were needed to regain the lead, coming on Joseph's second touchdown of the game. This one covered three yards and Chilton's fourth PAT made it 34-27.
Lambuth had three opportunities to tie the game in the final nine minutes. The first two ended in turnovers - a fumble recovered by Travis Norris and an interception by John Brown - before regaining the ball at its own 13 with 2:45 remaining.
The Eagles ran 10 plays and converted on fourth down twice before running out of time with the ball on the Pikeville 23-yard line.
Wideman, the redshirt freshman from Greenwood, S.C., was a one-man wrecking crew offensively. He was 28-of-41 for 259 yards in the air and ran for 76 yards on 17 tries with two touchdowns on the ground. In the last two weeks, he has completed 67.7 percent of his passes - 44-of-65 - after completing only 42.7 percent - 61-of-143 - in the first five weeks.
Joseph, a sophomore from Ladson, S.C., had 111 yards and two scores on the ground as the Bears finished with 190 yards rushing. It was his first 100-yard rushing game this season after chalking up five last year. He also led the Bears in receptions, hauling in seven for 57 yards. Antwan Surratt had five catches for 52 and Demarco Anderson five for 50.
Lambuth struggled on the ground, finishing with only 27 yards on 28 carries. In the air, the combination of Kelly and sophomore Loviett Dixon finished 30-of-46 for 410 yards with three scores and an interception.
Kelly, the starter who left with an elbow injury, was 26-of-39 for 363 with all three touchdowns and the pick. Talley had 102 yards on only three catches, with two ending in scores, while Smith hauled in 11 balls for 92 yards and senior Dustin Hargrove catching six for 88 yards.
On the defensive side, sophomore linebacker Lee Yandell of Lambuth and Pikeville junior linebacker Sean McKinley each had 11 tackles. Yandell had eight solos and the blocked field goal; McKinley had 10 solos and a tackle for loss.