St. John falls to CB

BLACKSVILLE – Friday’s Clay-Battelle vs. St. John Central football game seemed more like it belonged in a Madden EASports video game commercial than on the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference schedule.

There were enough rushing touchdowns and passing touchdowns and defensive scores and kickoff returns taken to the house to fill a season’s highlight reel.

In the end, though, it was some old-school, power football offense, running downhill behind C-B’s dominating line that put some fourth-quarter order to a wild and crazy one, the home team prevailing, 47-27.

The Cee-Bees (5-0) seemed in complete control with touchdowns on their first two drives – a 10-yard pass from Tristan Haught to tight end Ben Wade, and an impressive 42-yard burst from running back Shane Hinkle.

The Fighting Irish used a no-huddle, spread offense to engineer two drives deep into C-B territory after each score. However, the C-B defense forced the Irish to turn the ball over on downs both times.

Perhaps the most important sequence was a first-and-goal from the 6-yard line with the score 14-0. The C-B defense held on four tries.

Especially since Haught then took advantage of the Irish secondary’s aggressiveness to find split end Nathan Tolley alone across the middle on a deep post pattern. Haught hit the speedy senior in stride, and he outsprinted the defense on a spectacular 93-yard score.

But the Irish, sticking to the game plan, cranked out their third straight 10-plus play drive, this one ending with a 1-yard TD run from quarterback D.J. Shoemaker.

C-B responded with a fourth consecutive score, a 3-yard run from Trent Dille. St. John’s struck back on Shoemaker’s 13-yard run with just over a minute left in the half, keeping the score close at 29-14.

The two teams had combined for exactly 500 yards in offense, while lighting up the scoreboard for 43 points.

But as the second half began, it was clear that Clay-Battelle looked to slow the game and let its offensive line control the line of scrimmage and the clock. Tight formations, off-tackle runs and occasional sweeps pounded the Irish, leading to a deep drive. While it stalled, Haught’s punt was downed at the 3-yard line.

St. John’s fumbled on the first play and Dille recovered in the end zone to extend C-B’s lead to 19. Haught found Wade open on another post route from 40 yards to stretch the lead to 41-14, but the stubborn Irish scored late in the third on a long pass play after a missed tackle.

Enough was enough for Wilson, who went into grind-it-out mode, and Dille finished a 13-play drive with his third score of the game, a 6-yard run. St. John’s Devon Hennesy returned the kickoff 60 yards for a TD, but C-B wound down the remaining time.

“It took a long time to play this one,” Wilson said, grinning, “but I don’t care how long it takes, as long as we get the W. And believe me, this was a tough game. The boys really earned this one.”