Beallsville awaits playoff fate

BEALLSVILLE – Beallsville High lineman Dalton Secrest has all-Ohio credentials and Friday the Big Blue defensive end closed his outstanding career in record-breaking style on Senior Night.

A quick 6-2, 275-pounder with an eye for quarterbacks, Secrest eclipsed the OVAC’s all-time mark for sacks with his 26th midway through the third quarter in a 39-0 Blue Devils whitewash of short-handed St. John Central.

“I’m proud of my seniors and Dalton (Secrest) certainly has made his presence felt here for four years,” said Beallsville mentor Paul Kanzigg, hopeful his club’s 6-4 regular season record is good enough for a Division VII playoff slot in Region 25.

Ironically, the old quarterback sack mark (25) was held by former Blue Devil Andrew Ashland in 2006.

“Hopefully, we’re in (the postseason) for an 11th game next Saturday night,” added Kanzigg, in his second year at the Big Blue helm. “I’m just pleased with our effort on both sides of the ball. (St. John) had a few players out, but played hard to the end.”

The Fighting Irish tried some trickery with an onside kick at the outset, but sophomore Dawson Weekley covered the oval for the hosts at his 46.

After a holding call, Beallsville drove the distance for a 6-0 lead at 10:14. Sophomore quarterback Levi Phillips, subbing for injured starter Chase Mercer, threw to senior Derek Lucas for 35 on his first attempt.

Frosh running back Joey Cunningham, who finished with a game-high 106 yards on 14 carries, toted twice for 12 and 16, before senior stalwart Bruce Sefert found the end zone with a four-yard jaunt.

On the ensuing kickoff, St. John failed to cover the boot and junior Mikey Palmer pounced on the oval at the Irish 22.

A Phillips-to-Lucas pass on third-and-8 gained 16 to the four-yard line, where Beallsville scored on 4th-and-6 when Lucas pulled in a Phillips rainbow aerial in the left corner at 7:44.

Senior Lane Bedford’s point-after made it 13-0 as her soccer-style boot was perfect.

St. John, which finished 0-10, went three-and-out to set up a third Big Blue TD.

From the 29, Cunningham gain eight for the hosts, Sefert twice for 18, before a holding call backed Big Blue to its 45.

Phillips found Lucas on the right side and the six-footer made a nice over-the-shoulder grab to take it 55 yards for a touchdown. Bedford’s PAT boot made it 20-0 at 5:25.

The hosts forced another punt, leading to a 77-yard, four-play TD drive for the Blue Devils.

Lucas, uncovered on the right side, caught a short toss from Phillips at his 35 and scampered 66 yards to the SJC 15. Sefert bulled his way for the score on the next play with 40 seconds left in the first. The PAT sailed wide to leave it 26-0.

Beallsville scored on its second possession of the second when Palmer hauled in a Phillips aerial and took it the distance, covering 79 yards with 3:27 left in the half. Bedford’s boot was down the middle for a 33-0 lead.

Secrest set his record when he sacked Irish QB Dario Paolina at his 28 on the first series of the second half. Big Blue’s Zac Daugherty intercepted a pass three plays later, but Paolina covered a BHS fumble on the next play.

The hosts closed the scoring with 1:49 left in the third after Cunningham’s gain of 28, and Phillips’ keeper for 29 to the one. Senior Cole Beckett earned the TD call on a dive on the next play.

Sophomore Cole Susac and senior Aaron West were instrumental on the defensive side for the hosts, as was senior Robert Valentine. Injured Val Wallace also closed out his Devils’ career.

St. John received solid play from seniors Devon Hennesey and Kyle Whorton, as well as Paolina and Jonathan Bossell, but the Irish wouldn’t quit despite the short numbers.

Frosh Cameron Opic also made his presence felt on the defensive end.