Marhefka etches name into record book
CANTON – The St. Clairsville Red Devils came up short of the ultimate goal Friday evening when they dropped a tough 46-36 verdict to Clarksville Clinton-Massie in the Division IV State Championship Game.
However, St. C. certainly left its mark on the record books.
Senior Jerrid Marhefka, who has exceled in multiple sports time and time again for the Red Devils, had a career-best game in his prep football finale.
He caught nine passes for 272 yards and four touchdowns. His touchdowns covered 7, 9, 76 and 45 yards.
“The personal stats really don’t mean that much to me,” Marhefka said.
“I’d give up the stats for that gold trophy. Obviously, (the loss is) tough to take right now, but it’s still a great accomplishment to get here. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted, but these have been the best four years of my life playing football as a Red Devil.”
Marhefka’s yardage sets a new all-division standard in the state title game. His touchdowns equal a mark set a season ago, which is also an all-division record.
Red Devils’ senior quarterback Matt Kinnick etched his name into OHSAA history. His 437 yards is the second most all-time in Division IV in a state final. He trails only Kenton’s Ben Mauck and it was just by two yards. All told, his total was fourth most in all divisions.
St. Clairsville junior Michael Ferns was still showing the lasting effects of a knee injury he sustained last week in the semifinals against Creston Norwayne.
Ferns didn’t practice much all week, but underwent treatment and therapy to try to rehab the injury as much as possible.
He gave it a shot, but he was no where near 100 percent. Ferns actually missed a lot of the game on the defensive side of the ball and wasn’t able to run and cut like he normally did on offense.
Friday’s game drew an impressive collection of major college football coaches. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was on the field in pre-game wearing his traditional white pullover. He spent several minutes closely watching the Red Devils go through their warmup drills.
He was joined by defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. Also in attendance were OSU assistants Ed Warriner, who is a Strasburg native, and Kerry Coombs, who knows Fawcett Stadium well because he guided Cincinnati Colerain to a state title before accepting a collegiate job.
Michigan assistant coach Greg Mattison was also in attendance.
Ferns has committed to Michigan and also has an offer from the Buckeyes.
St. Clairsville senior Dan Monteroso was getting treatment on his leg at several times during the course of the game, too.
After the game, however, he didn’t want to expand or dwell on the injury.
“It’s nothing,” Monteroso said.
HOOPS UP NEXT
For Monteroso, Marhefka and junior Joel Giffin, it’s off to basketball practice at some point in the coming days as the Red Devils begin their quest to get back to the Final Four after coming up short in the state semifinals last season.
Monteroso, who was a first-team all-Ohioan and state player of the year in basketball, wasn’t in any hurry to think about the hardwood.
“Right now, I just want to think about spending a few days with this team and making sure everyone’s OK,” Monteroso said.
When St. Clairsville received its runner-up trophy, Dr. Deborah Moore of the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced to the crowd that the Red Devils were the first team from their county to make it this far in the tournament.
She obviously forgot about Bellaire and Shadyside’s combined four appearances.
Belmont County is now 0-5 in the championship game.
Weirton resident T.J. Brancazio is one of the 30 officials working the tournament this weekend in Stark County.