Shadyside runs record to 7-0

Shadyside has had six undefeated teams in its history, but only one – the 1977 squad – finished the season with a 10-0 record.

Ironically, that team was formally honored with a reunion for the first on the same night the Tigers cleared another huge hurdle toward a possible second Friday night.

With some 20 members of that squad back at Fleming Field, the current Tigers turned in an opportunistic 14-0 victory against perennial West Virginia power Wheeling Central.

“This is big,” said Tigers’ head coach Mark Holenka. “The kids did a heck of a job and we stood up to the test even as we faced a little adversity in the second half.”

With all of the hoopla with the reunion, the 2012 Tigers turned in a brilliant defensive performance, limiting the Maroon Knights to just 114 yards rushing and 208 total. If that wasn’t enough, the Tigers forced two turnovers, including a 13-yard scoop and score for talented sophomore Austin Dorris just before halftime.

“We played good defense in crunch time and we made some plays,” Holenka said. “In big games, you’ve got to be able to rise to the occassion and I thought we did that on both sides of the ball.”

The Maroon Knights are now 4-3 on the season and face a more than four-hour bus trip to Mingo Central a week from today.

“We shot ourselves in the foot too many times tonight,” said Central head coach Mike Young. “We’ve got a young football team with an inexperienced quarterback. Our kids are working like heck, trying to do good things, but we didn’t play with a lot of poise at times.”

The Knights made their deepest penetration into Tigers’ territory, until a muffed punt in the fourth quarter, on their first drive when they got to the 36.

The Tigers made the defensive stop when sophomore Scott Hammond pounced on the first of three Knights’ fumbles.

The game was scoreless after one quarter as the teams traded punts, following the turnover.

Shadyside made the Knights’ pay on their second offensive possession. Central was called for a roughing the passer on a third-and-long, which gave the Tigers a first down on the 20.

Senior quarterback Chase Kinemond then hit Dorris in stride, who used his 6-5 frame to stretch the ball across the plane. Cody Hudson booted the first of his two PATs, making it 7-0.

Central continued to struggle to get untracked against the Tigers’ defense.

“Our offense isn’t built to where we can afford to fall behind the chains too much,” Young said. “We had bad snaps, some poor exchanges or lost yardage. We have to chip away at it.”

Its next three possessions resulted in punt, lost fumble and lost fumble, which proved to be the ultimate game changer with Dorris reaching the end zone on the defensive touchdown.

“We got the lead and the defense just hung on for us,” Holenka said. “I remember being ahead 10-0 a few years back (at Central) and we were on our way in for our 17th point, but the tide turned with a 100-yard return. We knew we had to play four quarters and we couldn’t afford to lose a quarter, which we didn’t.”

Central only threatened once more the entire night. After Shadyside turned the ball over on its 11, the Knights went out on downs.

“We had good field position and we just didn’t take advantage,” Young said. “I am disappointed in the loss, but give Shadyside credit because they had a nice scheme. Our heart was in it, but the body, at times, wasn’t.”

Shadyside limited hard-running Central quarterback C.J. Burch to 80 yards on 25 carries. He did surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season in the game.

The Tigers, meanwhile, accumulated only 200 yards of offense. Kinemond finished with 103 yards passing on 7-of-13 attempts. Hudson caught five balls for 67 yards. Brooks Ramsey was the Orange’s leading rusher with 48 yards on seven tries.

Shadyside’s quest for another trip to the Region 21 playoffs, OVAC title and that possible perfect season resumes next Friday when Buckeye Trail visits.

“Buckeye Trail is now our biggest rival,” Holenka said. “The following week is the next biggest rival. We’ve come too far to lose focus. We’re going to take it a week at a time. The train left the depot and it’s still moving.”