RICHMOND If fans at Cartwright Memorial blinked Friday night, they might have missed a touchdown or two. Seven touchdowns of 30 yards or more were scored in St. Clairsville's 56-27 victory over Buckeye 8 rival Edison.
"The effort was there for 48 minutes," Edison head coach Mike McKenzie stressed. "They simply made plays where they had more speed than us.
"We had a tough week this week. We had about 12 starters out. Our kids stepped up and played. I'm very proud of them and their effort all night long. St. Clairsville just had a few better athletes than us.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Matt Kinnick runs for a big gain during Friday’s game in Richmond against Edison.?The Red Devils rolled to a 56-27 victory.
"They are one of the top teams in the state, and there is a reason for that."
Edison surprised the undefeated Red Devils to open the contest.
During Edison's opening drive, the Wildcats converted two third-and-longs. The second conversion was on third-and-13. Edison quarterback Nolan Marcus dropped back to pass and then swung back to his left to throw a screen to running back Chris Graziani. The running back set up his blockers beautifully and the play culminated in a 55-yard touchdown gallop. A Marcus extra point conversion gave the Wildcats' a 7-0 lead with less than three minutes being expended in the game.
St. Clairsville didn't waste any time in responding to Edison's opening salvo. The Red Devils needed one play and 13 seconds to counter.
An onside kick attempt by Edison was easily handled by St. Clairsville at the Red Devils' 49-yard line. Quarterback Matt Kinnick dropped back to pass on the team's initial offensive play of the game and found Dan Monteroso on a post route. Monteroso cut against the grain which prevented two Edison defenders from getting proper angles. The 51-yard strike and corresponding extra point from Zach Mussilli quickly tied the game.
St. Clairsville's quick strike offense plagued Edison throughout the contest. The Red Devils only needed 15 total offensive plays in the first half to score 28 points.
The Red Devils' second possession was a little longer than its first. It took three plays and a Jaylon Brown 50-yard romp to score the team's second touchdown.
Edison wasn't prepared to back down from after building a 14-7 deficit. The Wildcats responded with an 18-play drive. The key play came on fourth-and-15 from St. Clairsville's 28-yard line. A pass interference call on a Marcus pass intended for the endzone gave Edison the ball at the 14-yard line and a first down.
Marcus found wide receiver Rich Springer along the seam for his second touchdown pass of the evening. Marcus missed the extra point, and Edison trailed 14-13 at the 8:48 mark in the second quarter.
Edison entered the game with a puncher's chance, and McKenzie's squad definitely delivered a few body blows. Unfortunately, St. Clairsville proved too much.
The Red Devils rattled off four unanswered touchdowns. Each was of the big play variety. Another Monteroso reception in the endzone this time a leaping snag with the ball behind him was followed by a Michael Ferns' 17-yard romp and a forty-yard run from Brown just after half. Add a Jarrid Marhefka 60-yard interception return into the mix, and Edison was down 42-13 with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter.
"We reacted well to being down," McLean said. "That shows the maturity of this team. We want to put our pants on each week and go full throttle the entire time. We have to learn that lesson. When you get down the road where we hope to be, you can't spot people points and try to work your way back into games."
Springer added his second receiving touchdown for Edison after St. Clairsville's blitzkrieg. The Wildcats' receiver finished with 127 yards as the team's primary offensive threat.
"We were trying to hit a few quick seam (patterns) on them," McKenzie detailed. "We always run a lot of verticals. It's a staple of our offense. We connected more tonight than we have earlier in the year."
St. Clairsville wasn't finished. A Monteroso reverse went for 32 yards to paydirt. And a Logan Thompson 1-yard touchdown plunge rounded out the evening for the Red Devils.
"Overall, we did what we had to do to win," McLean stated. "I think it's great for us to be in an environment early in the game where we had to take punches. We haven't played a lot of four-quarter games this year.
"Are we upset or mad that we didn't play a certain way? No. This is a high school football game, and anything can happen."
Anything might happen next week when St. Clairsville (7-0) hosts Buckeye Local, and Edison (1-6) travels to Martins Ferry.