Shamrocks find tough sledding in opener

NEW CONCORD – Matt Johnson likely won’t watch the tape of his head coaching debut many times, especially the first quarter which took 44 minutes.

Homestanding John Glenn scored on the first play of the game Friday night and never looked back in putting up 24 first-quarter points en route to a 49-6 shellacking of the youthful Shamrocks on the turf at Muskingum University’s McConaha Stadium.

“The first snap of the game they (went) the distance, and then the two long punt returns. That’s been our problem in our scrimmages,” Johnson said. “We just can’t get up to game speed. It just seems like it takes us a while to get started.”

Not only did Barnesville give up points in bunches, but it lost two players to serious injuries during the opening 12 minutes. Included in that were freshmen quarterback Isaac McGee (left shoulder) and freshman tailback Dylan Burkhart (concussion).

“We lost our tailback and our quarterback,” he noted. “It’s hard for us to overcome losses like those.”

The Shamrocks really never did get untracked as they totaled 149 total yards. However, 56 of those came on the lone touchdown when Colton Pritchard found Jacob Anderson wide open down the middle of the field early in the fourth quarter.

John Glenn’s Brett Atkins accounted for the first two six-pointers of the season as he sprinted untouched for 54 yards. He then returned a punt 40 yards.

Following 1-of-2 PATs by left-footed Ross Mathews, and a 35-yard field goal that hit the crossbar and bounced over, Atkins fielded a punt at his own 28 and weaved his way down the middle of the field until he found the end zone. Mathews kick made it 24-0.

The Little Muskies made it 30-0 at the half when Grant Hall scampered 57 yards to paydirt in the second quarter.

“We went in (to the half) down 30-0 and tried to re-group, but we fumbled the second-half kickoff and gave them the ball inside our 20,” Johnson added. “We’re not good enough to overcome things like that.”

Hall completed his fine night with a 48-yard gallop in the third quarter, which followed a Cole Bennett 3-yard jaunt. Ben Van Wey completed the scoring with a 9-yard scamper.

The Little Muskies finished with 372 infantry yards on 43 carries. However, they misfired on all six passing attempts. Hall finished with three totes for 124 and a pair of scores.

“I told the kids that it is easy to lead when things are good,” Johnson admitted. “It’s easy for people to come out and say good things because you’re winning. Things aren’t good right now, but we’re going to get it fixed.

“I feel we will bounce back,” Johnson continued. “I feel that we have a resilient bunch, and we’re going to come to practice tomorrow (Saturday), watch the tape and get to work. That’s the only option our guys have.”

Barnesville will make its home debut at refurbished Shamrock Stadium next Friday when rival Meadowbrook visits.

North can be reached at