St. C. beats Huskies, retains Coal Bucket Trophy | News, Sports, Jobs

Sandi Thompson ESCAPES — Harrison Central quarterback Hayden Cassidy attempts to escape from a St. Clairsville defender during Friday’s game at Wagner Field.

CADIZ — In his quarter-century of managing St. Clairsville football, Brett McLean has developed a program that doesn’t lose very often … very rarely, to say the least. But when his Red Devils do, they have the ability to bounce back in impressive fashion.

And so it was on Friday night at Wagner Field.

St. Clairsville suffered a tough 30-14 setback against a talented Linsly squad a week earlier. However, McLean’s battle-hardened charges responded with a 43-0 triumph over Harrison Central. St. Clairsville retains the coveted Coal Bucket Trophy.

Earlier this season, the Red Devils suffered a setback against high-octane Wheeling Park. St. C. then bounced back with a solid 30-20 win over Columbus Independence.

The Red Devils are now 4-2, the same mark as the Huskies.

St. C.’s recent triumph wasn’t fueled by his usual vaunted ground play, but by a solid offensive balance. The Red Devils picked up 214 yards from the ground to go with 133 airstreaks, including two TD throws from senior quarterback Andrew Vera.

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Additionally, McLean’s defensive allegations were both stifling and opportunistic. The winners forced three turnovers from Harrison Central.

“After losing Linsly, we had an unusual taste in our mouths…one that we don’t want to get used to.” McLean said. “We had a lot of fun in training this week. We loosened things up. The children should have fun playing football.

“I’m happy with how we came back. There are things that could have been done better. I get picky as soon as I watch the film.” he added. “Defensively we have had a lot of good attacks this season. It makes us better defensively and we played really well in that regard tonight. It’s always nice to get a shutout.”

The win will give St. Clairsville a big boost in the computer playoff rankings. The Red Devils entered the competition in Division IV Region 15 in seventh place.

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Senior workhorse Jacob Walker, who came into play with 460 rushing stripes, carried 13 times for 77 yards and a TD. Sophomore Gavin Schoolcraft, senior Alex Wood and freshman Ollie Muhly also provided touchdown runs. Muhly has put up 43 yards.

Vera’s touchdown passes went to dynamic junior Cole Thoburn (55 yards) and senior Drue Jozwiak (33 yards).

Harrison Central was limited to 197 yards on total offense, 106 came on the ground. The Huskies’ pass attack was hampered as ace receiver Tre Rex failed to pass. He entered the fight this fall with eight TD receptions.

“We made way too many mistakes. If you do that against a St. Clairsville-caliber team, that’s going to happen.” Harrison Central head coach Anthony Hayes offered. “We didn’t have a lot of positive things tonight. Give honor to St. Clairsville. They are a first class football team.”

Harrison Central was ninth in the Division V Region 17 before the second setback.

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St. C. took the opening kickoff and marched 63 yards in nine games to count the only TD it would take. Walker intervened of the two at 8:27 in the opening quarter. Thoburn ran in the bonus points for an 8-0 devil edge.

The Red Devils extended their lead to 22-0 at half-time thanks to two shots on goal from Vera. He speared Jozwiak from 33 yards before teaming with Thoburn for a 55-yard connection. Jacob Meager droned both PATs.

Schoolcraft’s three-yard TD followed by a conversion pass from Vera to Walker made it a 30-0 light with 2:33 in the third quarter, resulting in OHSAA mercy guidelines.

Wood fired from eight yards before Muhly’s 43-yard scoring blew for the Devils’ last two TDs. Junior MaKenna Booth added the PAT after Muhly’s goal, resulting in a 43-0 final.

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