St. C. preps for D-IV state title contest
Just two days after recording the biggest victory in school history, St. Clairsville is trying to dial down its emotions for a few days.
The 14-0 Red Devils returned to work today – both in the classroom and on the practice field – fresh off earning a berth in this week’s illustrious State Football Championship weekend.
The Red Devils are one of just 12 teams still practicing in Ohio today as preparations for Friday afternoon’s Division IV State Championship Game against Clarksville Clinton-Massie kick into full swing.
While the stakes are at the highest point, Red Devils’ head coach Brett McLean won’t change a thing on his his team prepares and approaches this week’s game.
“Our players and coaches are as excited as ever for the opportunity that is now,” McLean said Sunday afternoon. “We have scheduled normal workouts for the week. We have to work together this week for Clinton-Massie.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game is slated for 3 p.m.
While the teams didn’t trade films until Saturday, the preparations actually began on the trip home from last Friday’s 40-27 victory against defending state champion Creston Norwayne at Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium.
McLean wanted to have the logistics of the week laid out well before his team reconvened this afternoon to begin on-field work to get ready.
“We were scrambling Friday night to secure our travel plans,” McLean said.
McLean, who’s admitted numerous times during this tournament run that he likes to arrive at the venues early, is planning on his team departing at 10 a.m. for Canton.
“We want to get to Canton as early as possible,” McLean said.
There will be all sorts of fanfare surrounding this week’s game. It’ll actually be like no game the Red Devils have played before, including the regional final and last week’s state semifinal.
McLean compared it to the annual Homecoming week when kids’ focus can often drift away from the game to the dance and other activities that go on surrounding that week.
“There can be a lot of distractions from the outside, but we must protect from them and prepare to play the game,” McLean said.
It was announced Sunday evening by the Ohio High School Athletic Association that the Red Devils will be the designated home team for the game. That means St. C. will sit on the side of the stadium facing the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Fawcett Stadium is the crown jewel of Canton,” McLean said. “We are dying to get our shot to play there.”
St. Clairsville Athletic Director Kelly Rine announced Sunday evening that tickets will be on sale today through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. in the high school cafetorium/concession area. That will be the only location tickets will be sold this week. No tickets will be sold on Friday.
All tickets are reserved seats. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the gate, which will open on Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Stick with The Times Leader all week to follow the Red Devils in their pursuit of the school and county’s first-ever state football title.
Staskey can be reached via email at email@example.com