Shadyside blanks Barnesville, 35-0

The Shadyside High School football program has a list of accomplishments that stretches all the way around the loop on Central Avenue.

Whether it’s trips to the playoffs, OVAC titles, two berths in the Division VI state championship game and regional championships, the Tigers have a laundry list of accomplishments, but what they achieved Friday night in Barnesville was 35 years in the making.

By virtue of their convincing 35-0 victory against the Shamrocks, Shadyside put the finishing touches on a brilliant 10-0 campaign and wrapped up their 10th first-round home game in the process.

“This is especially nice for the seniors, the entire team, the community and fans,” said Shadyside head coach Mark Holenka. “I feel good for all of those people because I know how much it means to everyone. It’s nice to know that one day, before we’re 6-feet under, that we can look back and feel good about something.”

While the victory marks only the second 10-0 season and first since 1977, it’s actually Shadyside’s seventh undefeated season in school history. They also finished without a loss in 1922, 27, 34, 54 and 73.

“We’ve had 13-win seasons and a 15-game season, but not too many 10-0s,” Holenka said. “But, the way high school football is now with the playoffs, the 10-0 is kind of forgotten and you’re more worried about what happens afterward. But, now being 10-0, maybe we wish there wasn’t a postseason, so we could walk away with this smile and this feeling. I am proud of these kids.”

On top of all that, Shadyside has wrapped up its 10th OVAC title and will now wait patiently for the points to be officially calculated to see who will pay a visit next Friday in the opening round of the Region 21 tournament.

“We want our kids to enjoy the moment tonight and for the weekend,” Holenka said. “It’ll eventually set in and they’ll savor it for a long time. We’ll get back to work Monday.”

While the Shadyside fans and students rushed onto the field to celebrate with the Tigers, the players were soaking it up in the lockerroom, and according to senior Cody Hudson, the undefeated season is something they had envisioned since the end of last season in the regional final.

“This was our first goal, but we’ve still got some other goals out there,” Hudson said. “We wrote this on our goal card before the season. We wanted a 10-0 season, a home playoff game, OVAC title and we’ve got all of those so far.”

The outcome was really never in doubt as the Shamrocks dropped their fifth straight game and finished their first season under head coach Matt Johnson at 4-6.

“Shadyside is 10-0 for a reason,” Johnson said. “Mark (Holenka) and his staff do an outstanding job. They’re a good football team, and I wish them all the best in the playoffs.”

The Shamrocks found themselves down only 14 at the half after junior Chris Littell and senior Brooks Ramsey scored on runs of 14 and 60, respectively in the first half.

“We came out a little sluggish and (defensively) we need to get a little tougher against the power game,” Holenka said. “Barnesville was moving the ball on us a little bit. We got re-focused a little bit at halftime and got our ducks in a row. I thought we were running around like secret servicemen in the first half, just running close them, but not attacking the ball.”

The Tigers took the second half kick into Shamrocks’ territory, but were stopped on downs. The Shamrocks’ momentum was short-lived, however.

On a third-and-long play, Tigers’ defensive back Chase Kinemond read the eyes of Shamrocks’ quarterback Isaac McGee and picked off an attempted screen pass and returned it 15 yards for a pick six.

“I thought that was the biggest play of the game,” Johnson said. “Up until that play, we still had a belief that we could do some things, which kind of broke our backs.”

The Shamrocks tried the same play in the first half and Kinemond just saw it develop and made a break on the ball from his safety spot.

“We had the defense designed to where I pick up that screen coming back into the middle and we executed it perfectly,” Kinemond said. “This is just a great feeling. We’ve taken it the whole season one game at a time and that’s what we’ll continue to do in the playoffs.”

After the Tigers’ defense bent, but didn’t break once again thanks to the play of talented senior Alex Quinn, who was constantly in the Shamrocks’ backfield, the Orange took over late in the third.

Ramsey, who had his number called early and often, responded. He took the handoff and raced 73 yards to the 2-yard line, setting up Jacob Spencer for the touchdown plunge. Ramsey led the Tigers with 223 yards on 18 carries.

“Brooks broke off some nice runs, and I wish he was able to get in on that last one,” Holenka said. “I know that meant a lot to him, but he hurt his knee against Strasburg, so looking back, tonight was a good night.”

Sophomore Austin Dorris closed the game’s scoring when he hauled in a simple out pattern from Kinemond, stiff-armed a defender and raced 27 yards. Jacob Haswell was true on the PAT, taking over for Hudson who nailed the first four.

The Tigers’ defense limited Barnesville to 146 yards of total offense. Colton Pritchard led the Shamrocks’ attack with 74 yards rushing on 19 totes. He also completed the lone Shamrocks’ pass.