St. Clairsville, Indian Creek both looking to get to 5-0
In the Buckeye 8, there are no nights off.
Just ask St. Clairsville.
One week after going into Martins Ferry for a battle of the unbeaten against the Purple Riders, the Red Devils return home for, guess what, another battle of the unbeaten. This time against Indian Creek.
“There’s no rest in the Buckeye 8,” Red Devils head coach Brett McLean said. “We have to get ready for a tough Indian Creek team.
“You have to stay focused.”
Redskins head coach Andrew Connor, who also has his team at 4-0, agreed.
“They’re all big games (in the Buckeye 8),” he said. “And, they’re all rivalries.”
St. Clairsville will unveil its new state-of-the-art scoreboard Friday night. And McLean hopes his team can put some points on like it has during its first four games.
In those games, the Red Devils have faced a variety of attacks. And McLean hopes it will help his team down the road.
“Our non-conference schedule has helped prepare us, I hope,” he said. “Now, in the Buckeye 8, there a lot of great coaches and teams. So far, so good.”
The Red Devils went into the Dave Bruney Football Complex last week and got the job done on the road against a Ferry squad that is potent in many areas.
“We got behind early and then the character of the team showed up and we kept battling and fighting,” McLean said.
Senior Jaylon Brown led the way for St. C., rushing for 213 yards and four TDs in the 35-14 victory, the Red Devils’ 15th straight in the regular season.
“He’s quiet and reserved and leads by example,” McLean said of Brown, the Youngstown State recruit. “He’s not loud and vocal, but he just works hard and he does a lot of good things. He’s a good player and he shows the younger players how to act and carry yourself.
“He’s not a big rah-rah guy.”
Brown and fullback Michael Ferns are the keys to the St. C. offense, according to Connor.
“It pretty much starts and stops with them,” he said. “They are very well-coached and well-disciplined. And they do a good job of getting people involved.
“I’ve also been impressed with their offensive line. They do a good job opening holes for Brown and Ferns.”
While St. Clairsville’s playbook varies, the Redskins hang their hat on the running game.
“We’ve been able to run the football and that’s what we hang our hat on,” Connor said. “That’s been our bread and butter.”
Blake Roar leads the attack. He carried the ball 13 times for 113 yards and a touchdown in a victory against Buckeye Local last week.
“It’s no secret we like to run the ball,” Connor said. “We feel comfortable doing it. We’re a running football team.”
McLean has impressed by that, but more than that, the Redskins’ defense.
“They’re flying to the ball,” he said. “They’re aggressive and they’re physical. I think you’ve got to protect the football. They’re sound in every scheme they have.”
It’s true that Indian Creek’s defense has played a key role in the Redskins’ perfect start.
“Overall, we’ve had a really good effort by our defense,” Connor said. “The proudest thing, for me, are the goal line stands we’ve had.
“At East Liverpool we had two of those in one quarter and they’ve helped an inexperienced defense gain some experience.
“One of the things we worried about coming into the season were our linebackers and they have really stepped it up.
“We graduated some really good players from a year ago and it’s been a pleasant surprise to see how quickly some of the younger players have stepped up for us.”
Thorp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org