Dave Bruney was pleased with opening night at the football complex that bears his name.
As well he should.
Bruney saw his Purple Riders put on an offensive show in posting an exciting 49-27 triumph over a talented and big-play Allderdice team from Pittsburgh. Martins Ferry piled up nearly 500 yards, with the majority of the damage coming via the ground with no less than seven Purple Riders toting the mail.
T-L Photo/JOE LOVELL
MARTINS FERRY’S Marcus Sutton looks to turn the corner during Friday’s game against Allderdice at the Dave Bruney Football Complex. The Purple Riders for 367 yards as a team en route to a 49-27 victory.
"I am happy with how we performed tonight. Anytime you score 49 points in your opener, it's a good night, especially against a team of their caliber," Bruney said. "Allderdice has some very talented skilled players, mixed with seven or eight seniors. It is a nice starting point for us."
Ferry was dominant on the ground, pounding for 367 infantry stripes. Marcus Sutton, Bruce Burger and Arjay Burress fueled the attack, as all three backs had huge nights.
Sutton, a shifty 175-pound senior, galloped for 124 yards and one TD on 11 carries. Burger, a 197-pound tough-minded junior, bulled for 108 yards and three TDs on just eight carries while the ultra-promising Burress, a 191-pound sophomore, garnered 86 stripes and one TD on 10 totes.
"I was pleased with our backs," Bruney said. "We got real good production from a lot of different kids."
The Purple Riders' offensive line was highly efficient. Providing the running daylight were Robert Vargo, Nick Bain, Cody Beavers, Luke Straub, Brian Sadosky, Jonathan Bodkin and Mark Douglas.
Martins Ferry's impressive ability to move it on the ground countered the Dragons' big-play ability. The visitors passed for 245 yards, including strikes of 94 and 63 yards.
"We played a very tough and strong football team tonight. Our kids got down early but we fought back and made it a game," said Allderdice head coach Jerry Haslett, whose brother Jim is a former NFL head coach. "I told our coaches going into the game that I didn't know if we could stop them, but I wasn't sure they would be able to stop us.
"They stopped us a couple more times than we did to them. But our kids hung in against a quality opponent," he added. "We are going to win our share of games this year. We had a lot of bright spots tonight."
Ferry jumped on top 14-0 six minutes into the game, courtesy of touchdown runs by Burress and Burger, covering 26 and 9 yards, respectively. The second score was set up by an Andrew Watts' interception.
Matt Hill scored on a sweep to get Allderdice on the board before the Dragons tied the affair on a bizarre play.
Allderdice had the ball on its own 5. Timothy Jackson found brother James on a quick slant which broke wide open. Martins Ferry senior stalwart Bryan Stiles never gave up on the play, sprinting some 80 yards to catch Jackson at the one and strip the ball free. It bounded into the end zone with Allderdice's Dujuan Dugger covering for the game-tying score.
Ferry responded in championship fashion, tallying the next three touchdowns, coming on runs of 9 and 53 yards by Burger and 37 from Sutton, providing the Purple breathing room at 35-14.
Allderdice didn't go away, relying on its quick strike ability to make matters interesting. A 63-yard bomb from Jackson to Hill made it 35-21 with 9:14 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Martins Ferry fumbled and the Dragons' Jalen Ledbetter covered at the Purple Riders' 37. A 30-yard pass play from Jackson to Dugger set up a 5-yard scoring run from Jackson. Burger intercepted the conversion pass, however, to keep it a 35-27 reading.
Allderdice's momentum was short-circuited by the quick feet of Ferry junior Jake Barritt as he hauled in the kickoff and rambled 57 yards down the sideline to the Dragons' 28. Six plays later, Watts rolled in from the five. Burress' boot made it 42-27 with 4:35 left in the third session.
The hosts iced the verdict via 2-yard Eric Flowers run with less than two minutes to play.
Ferry will host Wickcliffe Friday in a 7:30 p.m. start.
"We will be facing a completely different look. Allderdice had a lot of speed and athleticism. Wickcliffe uses a Wing-T offense with a big strong fullback," Bruney said. "They were 3-7 last year and bring back a very experienced team."
Wickliffe defeated Richmond Heights, 42-20, in its opener.
Allderdice takes on Brooke Friday.
Defensive stickouts for Martins Ferry were several. Turning in yeoman efforts included Hondo Palmer, Vargo, Burger, Barritt, Straub and Douglas.