Linsly blanks Beallsville

WHEELING — Linsly coach B.J. Depew didn’t feel his team played as well as it could have during the first quarter Saturday against Beallsville.

Maybe that had something to do with the temperature, maybe it had something to do with the opponent, maybe that is just “coach-speak.”

Whatever the case, Linsly scored on the first play of the second quarter to go up three touchdowns, and the defense held on for its first shutout in a 53-0 pasting of Beallsville at Lockhart Alumni Stadium.

“We did what we need to do,” Depew said. “We definitely saw some things we did well and some things we need to improve on.

“I don’t think we played our best football in the first quarter. We were a little flat, I think that is fair to say. It is a game of emotion and we had some kids step up in the second half and play a lot more football than they are used to playing. I was happy for them and happy to get a shutout with those guys on the field. We took our next step.”

The Cadets (4-1) ground attack was working all day, led by Eli Petho with nine rushes for 91 yards and two scores. The junior tailback got the scoring started in the first on a 2-yard run and added a 30-yard score in the second quarter to make it 35-0.

As a team, Linsly rushed for 273 yards and five touchdowns.

The Cadets didn’t pass much, but when they did, it was effective. Wyatt Hirt completed four passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns to Trevin Tush. Tush had three catches for 90 yards and the two scores.

The first of those touchdown connections came after a Beallsville fumble deep in its own territory. On a fourth-and-8, Hirt found Tush on a slant and the receiver did the rest, finding the end zone.

On the ensuing kickoff, Beallsville (1-4) looked like it had jumped right back in it as Koty Milosavljevic returned the kickoff 94 yards down the sideline for a touchdown, only to have a penalty thrown for illegal block in the back.

“Linsly is a strong school, strong team, class act and we knew it was going to be physical when we come here,” Beallsville coach Larry Deem said. “I wasn’t expecting it to be 90 degrees. We got some cramps, but there is no excuses. We played ball.

“We talked all week that we had to control the clock and control the ball. We couldn’t hurt ourselves. But we are young and those are the inexperienced mistakes we are going through right now. We don’t need to look at the scoreboard, we know how hard we played. We will feel it for a couple days, but we will come out Monday and get ready for Bridgeport.”

On the first play of the second quarter. Nick Falbo took a handoff up the middle and went in untouched from 30 yards out for a touchdown.

Following a Beallsville three-and-out, Hirt and Tush hooked up again a little more than two minutes later, the quarterback bought some time, avoiding a few Blue Devils defenders before finding Tush wide open in the end zone. The next Blue Devils possession resulted in a fumble and Petho made them pay with his second score of the game on the next play.

That was it for the Linsly starters, who then became cheerleaders for the final 24 minutes.

The second string was just as effective, opening the second half with a seven-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a Cyrus Hill 2-yard plunge. The final Cadets score came on a 76-yard fumble return by freshman Zachai Simmons.

“(The second string) played with some fire and emotion,” Depew said. “We thought we could maintain the shutout and it was going to require everyone on our roster to do that. I was pleased with how they took that on their shoulders and made that a priority.

“I am very happy for those guys. They put in all that time, putting in reps on scout team and get beat on by our starters. Our starters feel good for them when they get that chance as well.”