Shadyside rolls to 8th straight win
MORRISTOWN – Mark Holenka wants his Shadyside Tigers playing with urgency every week, especially as the Division VII postseason draws closer, regardless of who the opponent is.
He saw plenty of it last week in the victory against Wheeling Central. It took until the Tigers’ second possession Friday night against Union Local before it kicked in.
When the Tigers get it cranked it up, they’re a tough outfit to slow down as the Jets learned the hard way as Shadyside ran its record to 8-0 by virtue of a 46-7 beatdown of the Jets, who’ve lost five in a row since a 3-0 start.
“Once we got the momentum, we were able to run the ball and get some things going,” Holenka said. “This was more of a workmanlike game where we gathered intensity through the game. This wasn’t a goose bump game prior to the game, but we need to start feeling those goose bumps more and earlier as we go into what’s ahead.”
What lies ahead in the immediate future for the Tigers is home games, against Bridgeport and Barnesville, to conclude the regular season and possibly the school’s third 10-0 season and second in a row.
“The journey should cause goose bumps rather than just the opponent,” Holenka said. “I think the first drive was kind of a wake-up call because we had to crank it up a little bit more. We can’t take breaks.”
The staunch Tigers’ defense – with Scott Hammond leading the way – ignited the offense by forcing a three-and-out on the Jets’ first possession. Not only did it force a punt, but the Tigers sent the Jets’ backward 20 yards.
“We made big, big mistakes (offensively) and right now we’re not a very good football team,” said Jets’ first-year head coach Bruce Stiles. “There are things we’re not doing well that we were doing early in the season. Plus, Shadyside’s a really good football team.”
Junior quarterback Austin Dorris capped the first scoring drive with a 3-yard plunge. A big play on the drive came on third-and-long when he lofted a beautiful aerial right into the arms of senior Jake Duvall for a 37-yard gain.
Mason Campbell’s PAT made it 7-0.
The Jets’ failed to get anything going once again offensively as Zach Meadows blew up a play in the backfield, forcing a punt.
Dorris, who is drawing Division I interest and has an Ohio University offer, got free around the left side and outraced the Jets’ defensive back for a 76-yard touchdown.
The Tigers’ defense kept bringing the pressure to UL starting quarterback Travis James. Meadows and junior Eric Howell teamed for a sack, which led to another punt.
This time it was senior Chris Littell who was off to the races. He took a Dorris hand off and raced 85 yards untouched to the end zone. Campbell was perfect again and it was 20-0.
“I thought our game plan worked pretty well early, but they hit a couple of big plays,” Stiles said. “It goes back to our offense, too. We have to be able to get something going offensively. We lost like 12 yards on our first possession and that really puts a lot of pressure on our defense.”
The Tigers’ defense got into the scoring act on the next possession. Junior defensive back Luke Nardo stepped in front of a James’ pass and raced it back 27 yards for a pick six.
“That was nice for Luke because he works hard in his preparatory work,” Holenka said. “It was nice to see him get rewarded.”
The Tigers added another touchdown just before half, making it 34-0 at the intermission. Dorris found Littell all alone from 13 yards out. Earlier in the drive the duo hooked up on a 37-yard gainer.
“We didn’t compete at times tonight,” Stiles said. “We’re the old Woody Hayes’ kind of team right now. We’ve just got to keep working hard and find a way to get better.”
The Tigers’ first string played just one possession on each side of the ball in the second half. Dorris, who ran for a game-high 126 yards and added 87 through the air on 3-of-6 accuracy, notched his third touchdown from 8 yards out with 6 minutes to go in the third.
Both teams’ backup players scored. Freshman quarterback Billy Johnson found junior Bryce Clark on a 28-yard strike.
Union Local avoided the shutout when sophomore Dale Mann got into the end zone from 4 yards out. Bobby Stewart was perfect on the PAT kick.
Shadyside finished with 463 yards of offense, including 348 on the ground. Dorris’ effort was complemented by Littell’s 96 yards on 6 totes. Howell gained 47 yards on 12 carries.
Once again, the Tigers’ offensive line did solid work. The group is comprised of Cory Banco, Hunter Hammond, Meadows, Jacob Spencer and Colton Campbell.
Union Local returns to Buckeye 8 play next week when Bellaire visits.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org