St. Clairsville epitomizes team effort
On paper, a matchup between 6-1 St. Clairsville and 5-1 Union Local looked like it would be one of the best football game in the area last week. In actuality, however, the Jets never stood a chance as the Red Devils ran away with a 55-7 win.
In the victory, St. Clairsville, now 7-1, ran for 434 rushing yards as a team. How the Red Devils managed that against a good UL team is anyone’s guess, as even coach Brett McLean is not sure.
“Honestly, I’m still scratching my head,” McLean said Monday. “We had a good game plan going in, but I never dreamt that we’d get that kind of total yardage for the night. I commend our offensive line coach and our o-line, they played well at all levels.”
It was not a case of one player carrying the load, either. St. C.’s leading rusher was senior Jacob Jordan with 103 yards. Drew Sefsick (77), Dino Burk (77) and Jacob Walker (53) all also finished with more than 50 yards, but 15 different Red Devils carried the ball against the Jets.
“One of our great benefits has been having some depth,” McLean said. “Not everybody is paying both ways and that’s keeping our kids fresh and helping us late in games. The more kids that are active and involved, I think the better off our team is.”
Friday’s performance put Jordan over 800 rushing yards on the season with 13 touchdowns. McLean said he has come a long way from splitting carries with this older brother Aaron two years ago.
“Jake has developed over his years with us,” McLean said. “He was toting the ball as a sophomore, splitting time with his older brother, now he’s become more of the workhorse and had a great offseason in the weight room. He’s also matured to understand and read the blocks that are ahead of him when he’s got the ball in his hands. He works to push through the holes and not try to make something out of nothing. I think it’s turned into a great senior season for him and hopefully he can stay healthy and finish it out.”
Friday’s big win over Union Local came just six days after the Red Devils handed Bellaire their first defeat of the season on. Oct 3. McLean said picking up back-to-back wins of that caliber show how well the Red Devils are executing down the stretch.
“We feel we were executing the way we should this late in the season without many self-induced errors or mistakes,’ McLean said. “We understand that every single week is a grind. We play another really, really good team this week in Wheeling Central.”
The Red Devils are not just clicking on offense either. Their defense has only allowed more than 14 points once this season and has held opponents to 10 or fewer points in five of their last six games.
“I’m proud of our defense for playing against a lot of different styles of offense,” McLean said. “From Bellaire, who will run it right down hill at you, to Union Local, who will spread it out, and then Wheeling Central has a million different things they’re capable of doing. It’s pretty stressful for that group right now but hopefully we can play sound football the rest of the way.”
The Maroon Knights will take the trip across the river to Red Devil Stadium on Thursday for a weekday game. McLean said it is late enough in the season know where teams know who they are and not a lot changes week to week.
“We’re at that point of the season in week nine where it’s just kind of polishing the car each week trying to get ready,” he said. “Wheeling Central gives us a lot to prepare for, we’re really impressed with them. There’s not been many chances to take a breath with our schedule. It just keeps on rolling at you.”