St. Clairsville sees winning streak snapped, 46-28

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Brett McLean just wasn’t blowing smoke when describing South Range’s offensive weapons this week.

St. Clairsville’s head coach gave glowing reviews of the Raiders’ terrific trio of Aniello Buzzacco, Peyton Remish and Mathias Combs. And all three came as advertised Friday night, helping lead South Range to a convincing 46-28 victory in a battle of Ohio region leaders inside Red Devils Stadium.

”I don’t tell lies,” McLean offered. ”I think a lot of times people think coaches inflate these teams in the public for their own benefit, but this team is as good as they come. If they stay healthy, they’ll do big things in the playoffs.”

The Raiders stayed unbeaten (9-0) and clinched the top seed in Division V, Region 17 with triumph, which came after jumping out to a 13-0 first-quarter lead.

”I’ve seen a lot of good football teams and they’re very good,” McLean went on to say. ”They’re coached really well. They have a good mix of kids that keep you off-balance. They run with power with their running back, and their quarterback is lights out and as advertised.

That quarterback — Aniello Buzzacco — had another stellar night, rushing for 201 yards and three touchdowns, while throwing for 131 yards and another score. Peyton Remish surpassed the 100-yard plateau, too, with 129 yards, and equalled his quarterback with three scores.

Mathias Combs caught six balls for 104 yards and Buzzacco’s lone TD strike.

”Our kids played fantastic,” South Range head coach Dan Yeagley said. ”I’m very proud of them.”

St. Clairsville, meanwhile, saw its seven-game winning streak snapped and lost for the first time since a Week 1 setback at Carrollton.. At 7-2, the Red Devils dropped back to the No. 2 spot in Division IV, Region 15 behind unbeaten Licking Valley. The Red Devils wrap up the season next Friday at East Liverpool (3-6).

”Coach McLean does a super job and that’s a fantastic team,” Yeagley said. “This is a match-up that needed to happen because it’s getting us ready for Week 11. It was an awesome ballgame.”

McLean agreed.

”It was a good game for us to play,” he said. ”If you want to be a playoff team, you want to play those games to win. If you’re just happy to be in, that’s fine. But we want to working toward the goal of making postseason wins happen. So, I felt this helped.”

The Raiders jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead, but the Red Devils rallied starting with the opening drive of the second half.

A 19-yard screen from Dustin Carrothers to Justin Heatherington on third-and 18 keyed a 75-yard march that culminated with a 32-yard strike down the left sideline from Carrothers to Craig Bober. Jake Bolyard’s extra-point made the score 21-14 with 8:32 left in the third quarter.

But the Raiders answered quickly, going 63 yards in just five plays. Buzzacco’s 3-yard run put South Range back up 13, 27-14, after its extra-point try missed.

The Red Devils ate into the Raiders’ lead again a short time later. And, again, it was Carrothers and Bober connecting for the score, this time from 31yards out. The TD made the score 27-21.

But just like they’d done all night, South Range answered. Keyed by a leaping 30-yard catch by Combs on third down, the Raiders drove down and scored, this time on a 4-yard scamper by Remish and went up 12, 33-21, with 2:46 left in the third.

”That’s what we try to do,” Yeagley said. ”That was our goal. If they made something happen we had to answer because we knew (St. Clairsville) could score at any time because they had too many big-play people. We just had to keep playing hard.”

St. Clairsville scored once more — a 3-yard run by Brady Kolb (81 yards) in the fourth quarter — but the Raiders tacked on two more scores. South Range scored on every second-half possession and punted for the last time with eight minutes and change left in the first half.

”Our offense was clicking,”Yeagley said. ”It did a great job. The offensive line was super.”

McLean was proud of his team kept fighting back. He said his squad simply got beat by a better team.

”I think our kids gave an emotional effort,” he said. ”They didn’t let down.

”We’re gonna lick our wounds and get ready to play more ball.”