Tigers trounce Red Knights, 31-6
TORONTO – The Wellsville Tigers defeated the Toronto Red Knights by a 31-6 score on Saturday at thebrightly-lit and newly refurbished Clark Hinkle Memorial Stadium Saturday night.
This was the season openers for both teams.
“I wasn’t happy with the play of our special teams, but I’ll take the blame for that,” said Rich Wright, who was coaching his first game as the Tigers head coach. “We controlled the ball at various points in the game and against a team like Toronto you have to do that, or they can really hurt you.”
The Tigers jumped out to a 14-0 lead as they lit up the scoreboard twice in the first quarter. Zack Mellott raced 37 yards around right for the game’s first score at the 4:48 mark, capping a five-play, 60-yard drive.
The Tigers’ struck again on their next possession when Seth Bradford hauled in Jordan’s Sloan aerial from 24 yards out. Cavan Lemasters successfully connected on both conversion attempts giving the Tigers 14-point lead s the first quarter came to a close.
The Red Knights drove as far as the Wellsville 10-yard on their next series, before turning the ball over on downs.
“We need to work on our red zone offense,” said Toronto head coach Eric Meek. “We needed to make some big plays and against such an athletic team as Wellsville that’s tough to do.”
Setting up shop on the Wellsville 24-yard after a short punt, Toronto was not to be denied on their next possession. A seven-play drive was culminated when Blaze Glenn found Nate Stewart on a 7-yard toss, cutting the deficit to eight, 14-6.
Glenn completed 14 of 29 passes for 79 yards and also rushed for 76 yards on 17 carries.
“We played as hard as we could,” said Meek. “They (Wellsville) are a veteran team with a tremendous senior class. We needed to have a little more success moving the ball. We’re not a running team. We basically run to set up the pass.”
Battling a moving clock and the Red Knight defense, Wellsville hustled down the field to the Toronto 14-yard line as the second quarter clock ticked away. Two fine runs by Mellott totaling 39 yards and a 9-yard blast by Brendon Carr aided the marching Tigers.
Following a timeout, Lemasters deftly drilled a 31-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, giving the Tigers a 17-6 lead at intermission.
“We have a very good kicker,” Wright said. “I didn’t do a good job of clock management the last minute or so, and it almost cost us. I had confidence that if we could have time for the kick that he could make it.”
After a scoreless third quarter, Wellsville tallied on the first play of the fourth quarter when Sloan teamed up with Camden Douglas on a 10-yard scoring play, making the score 24-6 in favor of the Tigers.
The score soon increased to 31-6 as Marcus Moxley romped 32 yards for another Wellsville tally. Moxley led all rushers with 99 yards on eight carries. Mellott with 78 yards and Carr with 49 backed Moxley on the ground.
“Toronto forced us into making adjustments both offensively and defensively,” the Wellsville head coach said. “We had to move our quarterback up under center as our center was a little banged up.”
“I thought our kids played very hard,” Meek said. “We have another touch game next week versus Bridgeport.”
The Tigers will host next-door rival Southern Local on Friday. The Red Knights are also home that night, hosting Bridgeport.
This is Meek’s second stint at Toronto, as he was the head coach in 1993-1994 before moving on to Wellsville. Meek was the head coach at Wellsville from 1995 to 2002, before moving on to Robert Morris University and Weir. He was on Wright’s Beaver Local staff in 2009.
A few years back, Wellsville assistant coaches Dennis Bowers, Rick Stanley and Ron Busby were on the East Liverpool staff with Toronto assistant Alfred Johnson. Johnson was also on the Wellsville staff when Meek was the Tigers’ head coach, where they coached current Wellsville assistant coach Rich Sloan. Meek’s father, Bill Sr., who was on that staff is the defensive coordinator for Toronto. Bill Meek, Jr., who was on that coaching staff and is on the current Lisbon coaching staff, was in attendance last night.
Another Wellsville assistant coach, Derek Spann, played on the Ohio squad in the 1986 Penn-Ohio game with Bowers and Wright.
Toronto superintendent Fred Burns was superintendent at Southern Local during the construction of their campus a few years back.
Wellsville defeated Toronto 42-13 on their way to a 4-6 record in 2012. Toronto was 3-7, winning three of their last six games.
The Red Knights are playing in the OHSAA’s newly-created Division VII, while the Tigers remain in Division VI.
The Wellsville-Southern game will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.