On a night that St. Clairsville honored four great Red Devil athletes of the past, the 2012 edition of the Red Devil football team put on another offense show.
Scoring on four plays of 57 yards or better and limiting the Buckeye Local Panthers to just 164 total yards, St. C's unbeaten and state-ranked Red Devils registered a 48-6 win in a Buckeye 8 match-up on the St. Clairsville turf Friday night.
Coach Brett McLean's Devils have been scoring at will with their high-powered attack and Friday night was no different as they notched their eighth win of the season. St. C. plays host to Martins Ferry on Friday then close out the regular season the following week at Union Local.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Jay Gossett goes up between Buckeye Local’s Dakota Flaherty (20) as Andy Stock (25) looks on during Friday’s game in Belmont County. The Red Devils rolled to a 48-6 victory. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Jerrid Marhefka hauls in a pass behind the Buckeye Local defense as Shane Duncan (45) and Nathan Kirk (4) give chase. Marhefka scored on the play. The Red Devils rolled to a 48-6 victory. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
On the other side of the field, coach Phil Pest's Panthers dropped to an even 4-4 on the season. They were coming of a win at Union Local and now look to close out the campaign hosting Indian Creek on Friday before finishing up at Harrison Central in Week 10.
"The big thing for us is that we don't want to get complacent," a cautious McLean said after the win. "Our kids have worked hard to get where we are right now and we don't want to take any of this for granted."
"It's fun to win, but we keep reminding these kids that it can be gone in the blink of an eye," he added. "Getting the ball and scoring quick is a good thing, but down the road, it might not be that easy and so it is good to put together a long drive and know that we still have the ability to do that."
McLean knows his big play offense is fun to watch, but he continues to caution his team against a letdown.
"We try to instill that in them and every now and then, they let off a bit. It's a hard thing to breed in them, but these kids play hard every night. These kids have come a long way. They took their lumps and we have been waiting for this year to come around."
Buckeye's game plan was evident on its first series, running off 11 plays and just over seven minutes of clock time staying on the ground with an attack that featured Devan Pyciak, Austin Marshall and Dakota Flaherty. The Panther drive moved the ball from their own 17 to the 46 before running into a brick wall named St. C defensive tackle Corey Ernest who came up with two big stops that halted the drive.
Taking over on their own 16 with the ensuing punt, the Red Devils took little time unleashing their explosive attack.
Speedster Jaylon Brown dodged his way for 13 yards then followed that run with a seven- yarder to the 36. Matt Kinnick, the Devils rifle-armed QB, stayed on the ground tip-toeing his way through the Panther defense before breaking loose on a 64-yard scoring run with 3:43 on the clock. Zach Musilli was perfect with his PAT kick.
Midway through the second quarter, Ernest forced a Buckeye fumble that was covered by Ben Coleman giving possession to the hosts at the Panther 40.
Brown opened with six-yarder and Kinnick connected with Dan Monteroso for 12 yards to the 22. A nine-yarder by Brown and an 11-yard toss from Kinnick to Monteroso on a fourth down set up Brown's nine-yard run for a score with 7:38 left in the half. Musilli booted the PAT.
Buckeye scored with 2:06 on the board as Logan Dehnart alertly stripped the Red Devil runner of the ball and rambled 30 yards for the score. The PAT run was stopped short.
Four plays later, St. C got back on the board. With 1:11 left in the half, Kinnick found a crossing Brown, tossed a perfect pass and Brown rambled untouched on the 57-yard scoring play. Musilli added the PAT.
St. C's quick-strike offense was exactly that in the second half. On the hosts' first play from scrimmage, Brown broke off left tackle, cruised through the secondary then raced 80 yards to the score with just 12 seconds gone in the third. Musilli booted the PAT for a 28-6 lead.
Colby Lindsay recovered a Panther fumble just minutes later that set the stage for the next Red Devil score. Kinnick found a speedy Jerrid Marhefka on a sideline pattern and connected on a 62-yard scoring play with 8:05 on the clock. Musilli's boot extended the lead to 35-6.
Buckeye threatened late in the third, driving to the St. C five with the aid of a 24-yard Nathan Kirk to Shane Duncan pass. A Ben Coleman stop thwarted the drive and set up a Red Devil scoring drive.
A 17-yard run by Brown, a 13-yard pass from Kinnick to Jay Gossett and 15-yard Panther penalty set the stage for Kinnick's 26-yard scoring pass to Monteroso with 11:52 on the fourth quarter clock.
St. C closed out the scoring with 1:58 remaining on a seven-yard Mike Monteroso run. Haylee Skukan booted the PAT.
"Big plays are killers," Pest said after the loss. "But I'm pleased with our kids. They played hard tonight and never quit."
"Their skilled kids are really good, but we were able to gain some yards on them," Pest added. "I expect Buckeye Local kids to play hard-nosed football and play clean and our kids did just that."