St. Clairsville dismantles UL
OVAC Championship? Check.
Home playoff game? Check.
And now you can check off a 10-0 season.
St. Clairsville closed out the perfect regular season with a convincing 54-12 victory over Union Local Friday night in Morristown.
However, Brett McLean’s Red Devils realize that there are still a lot of goals left to be accomplished.
“We were a little worried about our kids looking past this week and thinking about the playoffs,” McLean admitted. “But our kids came out and got out of it right from the start and played well. We didn’t stumble around and struggle, we got right after it.
“We still have a lot to play for,” McLean added. “We realize Week 11 is probably going to be against a rival (possibly Harrison Central or Martins Ferry). We’ll find out who we play, refocus and get back to work.”
The undefeated season is the second St. Clairsville has put together under McLean’s guidance. The other came in 2007.
“They are very good,” UL boss Mark Cisar explained. “They have a legit shot to go all the way if they stay healthy and have a few things go their way. They have great athletes and very good speed.
“It’s not just one guy you have to concentrate,” Cisar added. “They have multiple weapons that you have to try to contain and that makes it tough.”
While the Red Devils skill players get all the credit McLean knows games are won and lost in the trenches.
“It’s awesome to go 10-0 and a lot of the credit goes to two groups that get no attention,” McLean said. “My assistant coaches work their butts off and are extremely loyal.
“And our O-line and D-lines get no press,” he added. “They are a great group of kids that work their butts off all summer. We know we got good skill buys but nothing gets accomplished without those guys up front.”
St. Clairsville’s offensive line consists of Corey Ernest, Joel Giffin, Cole Stephen, Nick VanVoltenburg and Tom Parker. The defensive front has Jay Gossett, Colby Lindsey and Derek Shunk.
The Red Devil skill players shared the wealth in limited time.
Senior Dan Monteroso scored on the Devils first play from scrimmage, hauling in a 33-yard TD pass from classmate Matt Kinnick. The Boston College recruit finished with three grabs for 54 yards and also had a beautiful 60-yard interception return for a score.
Kinnick completed 5-of-8 attempts for 71 yards and two scores, the second of which went to sophomore J.C. Coleman covering 20 yards. Kinnick also scrambled i for a three-yard TD.
“Their QB does a nice job,” Cisar said. “He throws a nice ball and gets it in the hands of his playmakers.”
Junior Jaylon Brown had limited work scoring on a 10-yard run.
The Red Devils also got scores from junior Ben Coleman (5-yard run) and freshman Brendan Ferns (17-yard run).
Another key component is special teams. Not only do the Devils have great return teams, Zach Musilli (25-yard FG) and Hayley Skukan converted all seven extra points.
St. Clairsville’s defense also played well, with Jared Marhefka, Tanner Nemeti and Titus Lepic joining Monteroso with interceptions.
Young Devils who played well included Jake Stewart and Zach Dopkiss.
Union Local got touchdowns from sophomore Tater Blake (8-yard run) and junior Travis James who caught a 19-yard TD from senior Brandon Winesickle.
The Jets were forced to use Winesickle at QB after losing starter Gavin Porter (shoulder), backup Eric Dunfee (foot) and freshman Trenton Tipton (illness).
“Brandon has never taken a snap in his life,” Cisar said with a smile. “He stepped in there and did a nice job. He played hard and gave us everything he had.”
Union Local got good defensive efforts from Jacob Fijalkowski, Justin Pabin, Blake, James and Austin Kemp.
The Jets, who finished 1-9, bid farewell to five seniors including Winesickle, Josh Smith, Jesse Keith, Pabin and Adam Nicholes.
“This group didn’t finish with the best record, but I hope their work ethic and never quit attitude wears off on our younger kids,” Cisar said. “We have some young kids that have a chance to be good players. They battled all season and I am pleased with their effort week in and week out.”