ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Senior Night is always a special moment for athletes, whatever sport they may be competing in.
St. Clairsville's 15-member senior class has had a memorable 4-year career in which they became the first class to advance to the state playoffs in each of its four seasons.
Friday night at Red Devil Stadium for the first of November, seniors accounted for all but six of St. Clairsville's points in a 41-7 rout of visiting Union Local in Buckeye 8 action.
T-L Photo/MIKE PALMER
ST. CLAIRSVILLE’S Jaylon Brown busts off one of his three long touchdown runs in the first half against Union Local. Brown ran for 197 yards and three touchdowns on six carries. The Red Devils rolled to a 41-7 victory. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
"This senior class is tough to see go," St. Clairsville head coach Brett McLean said. "You never know from here on out. You could be on borrowed time ... it could be the last time you're going out on the field with them.
"I want to honor them," he added. "They are a great group of kids. I certainly hope that they keep their heads level and get ready for next week (the playoffs). It's been hard for us to keep ourselves down and not look ahead to what's coming for us, but we really don't know anything right now and won't until after Martins Ferry and Bellaire play (today)."
Fleet-footed senior tailback Jaylon Brown got things rolling for the Red Devils on their first two plays from scrimmage. Lining up in the wildcat formation, Brown, the Youngstown State commit, took the first direct snap and went left where he found a seam. A shifty move at the UL 40 and he was off to the races untouched for a 61-yard scamper.
Following a Jets (3-7) punt, Brown took the direct snap and went around right end from 47 yards without a UL player laying as much as a fingertip on him.
"Those first two plays were drawn up especially for Jaylon," McLean admitted. The two TD sprints took :09 and :08, respectively.
Union Local cut the deficit in half with a 11-play, 74-yard drive that was capped by Tater Blake's 1-yard leap into the end zone. Eric Dunfee converted the point-after for a 14-7 reading with 3:32 left in the first quarter.
However, that was as close as the Morristown-based squad would get as Brown ripped off a 68-yard scoring jaunt on the Red Devils' second play of their third possession. That scoring drive took 44 ticks.
Sophomore linebacker Jake Stewart, who returned to the lineup after missing two weeks with injury, pounced on the first of three UL fumbles to give the Red Devils the ball at the Jets' 16. On the second play, Michael Monteroso rolled right and fired a strike to Ben Coleman at the 10. Coleman carried a defender to the one before spinning his way across the goalline.
"We're clicking on all cylinders right now," McLean noted. "It was a great job of play calling by the coaches, especially early in the game. Without giving too much away, we've got some things we can do."
On the opposite sideline, first-year UL head coach Bruce Stiles, who coached at St. C. for 12 years before leaving after last season, was in a bittersweet mood.
"I'm very disappointed in the way we came out and played in the first quarter. There's no excuse for it. We didn't compete at all," he lamented.
"I'm happy for St. Clairsville in the fact that they are going on to the playoffs, and hopefully our kids will realize what a playoff-caliber team looks like."
Senior placekicker Zach Musilli also got into the scoring act as he drilled a pair of field goals (35 and 25) and five PATs, while junior wideout JC Coleman hauled in a 70-yard scoring strike from Monteroso.
Brown, who didn't carry the ball after early in the second quarter, finished with half-a-dozen totes for an eye-popping 197 yards and three scores.
St. Clairsville totalled 332 yards of offense, with 237 on the ground. Monteroso was 8-for-13 for 95 yards and the two aforementioned scores.
The Jets, meanwhile, managed 193 yards, with 117 of that on the ground behind 90 by Dunfee.
Union Local closed out the season on a seven-game losing skid after going 3-0 to start the season. St. Clairsville awaits for the Division V playoffs to begin.