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Pick six was the play of choice for Barnesville

September 4, 2012
By SETH STASKEY - Times Leader Sports Editor (sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

Since I first heard about the way the Barnesville Shamrocks got past Meadowbrook, I've been trying to figure something out.

How in the world does a team get three interception returns for touchdowns? From what I've gathered, these weren't gift-wrapped either.

I talked to Shamrocks' head coach Matt Johnson on Sunday evening and he told me that they've stressed through camp and in practice that if the defense gets a turnover to make the offensive team pay for its mistake.

So, after the ball was picked off, Johnson said Shamrock players didn't just celebrate or relax. They sprinted the other way and looked to throw blocks to get as much yardage as possible.

Not sure how well those records are kept, but I am guessing that three interception returns for touchdowns in a single game has to rank high in OHSAA history.

It was certainly quite a way for Johnson to go about getting his first career victory as the Shamrocks' boss. We're not sure that's exactly how he drew it up in his mind when he was hired, but he'll sure take it.

OFFENSIVE JUGGERNAUTS

When it comes to offensive powers, the Martins Ferry Purple Riders have flown somewhat under the radar, but Coach Dave Bruney's team has been exceptional.

The Riders are averaging 56 points a week and are doing in it a bevy of ways as the offensive staff has the Riders clicking on all cylinders.

Senior wide receiver Cody Schau has been tremendous in both games at wide receiver and guys like Brian Styles, Brandon Laughman, Tyler Strama and Eric Flowers have also been huge for the Riders.

Ferry will receive a stern test this weekend when it makes the trip to Ridgewood to face a Generals' team, which has lost only twice on its home field in its last 35 games.

HOME SWEET HOME

Three area teams are set to make their home debuts this week after two long weeks on the road.

Harrison Central plays in Cadiz for the first time after opening the season with victories against Wheeling Central and Weir High. It will roll out the red carpets for Caldwell this weekend.

Monroe Central plays its first game in Woodsfield this Friday when River visits in a game that could be one of the area's best this weekend. The Seminoles are 1-1 after dropping a decisive decision at Shadyside last week.

St. Clairsville also makes its home debut this weekend. The 2-0 Red Devils will have to wait an extra day, however, since they play on Saturday night against Dayton Jefferson. The Red Devils have cruised to victories against Wheeling Park and Brooke to begin the campaign.

NEW COACH WATCH

Three first-year coaches got their first victories this past weekend, but overall, it was a 5-7 week for the 12 new OVAC coaches.

Along with Johnson, others getting into the win column, for the first time, were Phil Pest at Buckeye Local and Dale Broomhall at Buckeye Trail.

Oak Glen's Ian Whittington and Conotton Valley's Eric Schumacher ran their records to 2-0.

John Marshall's Rick Goodrich, Shenandoah's Kaleb Lawrence, Weir's Tony Filberto, Brooke's Sean Blumette and Beallsville's Paul Kanzigg are still seeking the initial victory.

RELENTLESS FANS

I don't watch many games sitting in the stands. This past weekend, I fully realized why.

During the off-season, I was somewhat surprised and taken aback by the amount of coaching changes that occurred in the Ohio Valley.

After spending two hours in the stands, it's not nearly as difficult to comprehend. The fans in the stands simply have no mercy on the coaches, officials and heck even the players.

It seems like it's way too early in the season to be getting into this issue, but the fans don't seem to care about what level of play or who's playing. They just let their voices be heard because they paid their $5 or whatever the cost of admission was at that respective field.

I've said, and written, time and time again, fans should go to the games and fully root and support the team or school. If you don't agree with a call, bark a little bit at the officials, but please keep things in perspective.

As for yelling at your team's coaches, do you honestly think those guys are down on the sidelines trying to call plays that don't work or lose yardage?

Personally, I don't.

And as for playing time, parents should just keep quiet. Parents aren't in practice every day to see what goes on and how hard his or her son is working. Again, in my years of following sports - at any level - I've never known a coach to not play the best players on the field, court or whatever the case may be.

In summary, show some respect to the game, your community, your school, your team and maybe most importantly, yourself.

STEUBENVILLE JUST KEEPS ON KEEPING ON

There is just no dropoff at Big Red. After running the table in 2011, Coach Reno Saccoccia's squad is off to a 2-0 start. While Big Red has had their hands full in both games - D.C. Woodrow Wilson and Cleveland Benedictine - they've found a way to get it done. That's what happens when the culture is a winning one. Regardless of graduation losses or any off-field distractions - and there have been plenty - Steubenville just keeps on winning.

Big Red players show up every day not hoping to win, but instead, expecting to prevail. And there is so much to be said for that.

CHECKING IN WITH THE LOCALS

Staskey can be reached at sstaskey@timesleaderonline.com or on Twitter at @TLSportsSeth

 
 

 

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