St. C stops Creek
ST. CLAIRSVILLE – It’s not how many plays a team runs or how much time it possesses the football, it’s the end result that matters.
St. Clairsville found itself in that position after 24 minutes of action Friday night on the artificial surface at jam-packed Red Devil Stadium against Buckeye 8 rival Indian Creek.
The Redskins (4-1) executed their game plan to near-perfection in the first half as the Wintersville-based combine ran 35 offensive plays (34 runs) to a mere dozen for the hosts.
However, the huge, spectacular scoreboard read 7-0 in favor of St. Clairsville when the teams headed to the lockerrom for the halftime break. The Red Devils tacked on a pair of Michael Ferns touchdowns in the second half in blanking the Redskins 21-0 on Hall of Fame Night.
“It’s what we did with those plays,” St. Clairsville head coach Brett McLean said of production his team made despite the lack of time his team had the ball. “We would’ve liked to have more (offensive plays), but that’s Indian Creek’s style. That’s what they do.”
After a pair of turnovers to start the game, Indian Creek opted for a fake punt on fourth-and-6 from near midfield. However, the ploy failed as Cory Goodrich could only get one yard.
On St. Clairsville’s third play, Jaylon Brown broke a run off the left side of the line and went untouched from 41 yards out. Zach Musilli was good on the first of his three placement kicks.
“Sometimes things don’t work out the way you envision them,” Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor allowed. “We told our kids all week to take their ‘O’ out of the game and we did that. Except for the one play on defense, I thought we played well. It was just one of those things. I don’t think the (final) score indicated how we competed in the game.”
Starting at its own 20 after Musilli’s kickoff bounced into the end zone for a touchback, Indian Creek marched 76 yards on 20 plays and chewed up 10:39 off the clock.
However, facing a fourth-and-goal from the St. Clairsville six, the Redskins rolled the dice and went to the air. Jonathan Woodbury rolled right and lofted the ball to the corner of the end zone, but the ball was just inches from the fingertips of a diving Zach Connor.
“The big thing was for us was to not get frustrated on offense ourselves,” McLean added. “Not being selfish and sticking to our game plan. When you get your touches, do something with them. It could be the type of game where you might not see the ball a whole lot.
“I think our kids and coaches did the right thing and not panic. They stuck to what we practiced all week.”
Malik Gummer returned the second-half kickoff 42 yards deep into Indian Creek territory at the 34. Four plays later, sophomore quarterback Michael Monteroso rolled to his left and found senior fullback Michael Ferns in the flat. The Michigan recruit plucked the ball just inches from the carpet and headed down the near sidelines. He picked up a crunching block by Michael “Zuke” Jacob en route to a 27-yard scoring play.
“That was a heck of a catch he made there,” McLean eluded to the fingertip grab. “He’s always been able to catch. He’s an athletic big kid. Zuke made a great block that got him into the end zone.”
After the St. Clairsville forced a punt, it gave Indian Creek a doze of its own medicine with a time-consuming drive of its own. The Red Devils used 16 plays (all runs) and 8:08 off the clock in marching 82 yards.
Ferns capped the drive with a 3-yard burst over the right side of the line on third-and-goal.
“We’re not just a big-shot for long distance team,” McLean advised. “We want to control it (the ball). I think we cleaned up some of the errors we’ve made in the first couple of weeks that may have set a drive back. We’re going to try and build off of that.”
The Redskins mounted their last scoring opportunity as the Jefferson Countians marched from their own 20 to the St. Clairsville 15 before ending on four consecutive incomplete passes.
However, to Woodbury’s defense, his third-down strike to a wide-open receiver in the left corner was dropped, preserving the whitewashing.
“The shutout was huge,” McLean continued. “I’m sure (defensive coordinator) Coach Frye is excited about that. That’s something that’s on our goal chart for the defense, and the kids achieved it tonight. I’m real excited about that.”
For the game, Indian Creek ran 62 plays to 37 for St. Clairsville. The Redskins led 207-189 in total yards.
St. Clairsville remains home to host Harrison Central next Friday. Indian Creek returns to Kettlewell Memorial Stadium to entertain Bellaire.