East Palestine does its part to set up big finale
LISBON–Only one team now stands between the East Palestine Bulldogs and the inaugural Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference title.
Parker Sherry, Dominic Posey and the rest of East Palestine’s offense put on its familier show with 549 yards of total offense, while the defense recovered three fumbles as the Bulldogs raced away from Lisbon 55-28 Friday at War Memorial Stadium.
The victory moves East Palestine to 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the EOAC, keeping the Bulldogs in a first-place tie with Columbiana and setting up a showdown between the two teams for the conference title next week at East Palestine. Columbiana did its part by slipping by a pesky Southern squad 22-18.
While the Bulldogs were satisfied after beating the Blue Devils, they couldn’t help but start to think ahead to the Clippers.
“Everyone’s excited,” Sherry said. “We’ve wanted this game all season. Coach (Tony) Foster said at the beginning of the year, it’s going to come down to the last game and that’s what’s happened. We’re ready to work hard this week.”
In addition to having a shot at the conference title next week, the Bulldogs will also need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. East Palestine entered this week 13th in Division VI Region 21. The Bulldogs have won seven in a row after an 0-2 start.
“After we stumbled out of the gate, I told the guys that all of our preseason goals were still there for the taking,” East Palestine coach Tony Foster said. “If we stayed the course we could get there and play for them. The guys have put the work in and next week we get to play for all of our goals.”
Lisbon came in still harboring hopes of a conference title, but falls to 6-3, 4-2. The Blue Devils, though, were still able to lock up a playoff spot in Div. VII Region 25.
Jim Tsilimos’ squad hung tough for two-and-a-half quarters, but simply could not keep up with East Palestine’s offensive firepower.
“They have a lot of nice size and skill on that side of the ball,” Tsilimos said. “A lot of their kids are pretty seasoned. Sherry runs real hard and makes them go. I thought they would be the team to beat coming into this year and they showed it tonight.”
Sherry lit up the Blue Devils on the ground with 253 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries. He opened the scoring with a 22-yard run on the first drive of the game and added touchdown runs of 45 and 57 yards on back-to-back drives late in the second quarter to wipe out a 15-12 Lisbon lead and give the Bulldogs 27-15 edge going into halftime. On the 57-yard run, Sherry appeared to be hemmed in in the backfield before breaking out and shedding three more tackles on his way to the end zone.
Through the air, Sherry completed 10-of-13 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown. To top it all off, he also delivered the knockout blow with a 25-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs a comfortable 48-21 lead with 1:41 left in the third quarter.
“Our play-calling was tremenous tonight and my offensive line did a great job,” Sherry said. “They had a terrific week of practice and did a great job getting to the second level. That was the biggest key tonight. That’s why I was able to break so many tackles.”
Tailback Dominic Posey also did his part with 147 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard romp in the third quarter to make it 41-21. Posey also had two receptions for 54 yards.
“We’ve been working on communication on the offensive line and we worked really well with each other tonight,” East Palestine senior Vinnie Delaroza (who was making his first start at right guard) said. “It’s great to block for guys like Parker and Dominic, you never know what can happen. It’s fun watching those dudes run down the field.”
Aside from a 70-yard touchdown by Cam Summers (12 carries, 119 yards) to start the fourth quarter, Lisbon wasn’t able to muster many big plays on the ground. Foster said the Bulldogs began preparing for Lisbon’s option attack over the summer and was pleased with how his defense responded.
“We started practing against option football in June,” Foster said. “I used to coach with a guy who said you can’t start preparing for an option team the week you play them. You have to devote a period each week at practice to prepare. We practiced against it this week without a football so that everyone had to tackle their responsibilites and everyone did a nice job with it.”
¯Lisbon provided regular updates of the seesaw Columbiana-Southern battle over the PA system.
¯The 50/50 prize was $415
EAST PALESTINE: 6-21-21-7–55
EP –Parker Sherry 22 run (pass failed)
L–Justin Sweeney 18 pass from Logan Bell (Seth Stokes pass from Bell)
EP–Dominic Posey 1 run (pass failed)
L–Justin Sweeney 7 pass from Logan Bell (Sweeney kick)
EP–Parker Sherry 45 run (Sherry run)
EP–Parker Sherry 57 run (Aymeric Leroy kick)
L–Justin Sweeney 30 pass from Logan Bell (kick failed)
EP–Branden Kemp 8 pass from Parker Sherry (Posey pass from Sherry)
EP–Dominic Posey 67 run (kick failed)
EP–Parker Sherry 25 fumble recovery (Leroy kick)
L–Cam Summers 70 run (Sweeney kick)
EP–Parker Sherry 4 run (Leroy kick)
First downs 22 16
Total Yards 539 307
Rushes-yards 46-388 33-188
Passing 161 119
Comp-Att-Int 10-13-0 7-14-0
Punts 0-0 2-46
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 5-3
Penalties-Yards 12-85 3-40
RUSHING–East Palestine, Parker Sherry 23-253, Dominic Posey 19-147; Lisbon, Cam Summers 12-119, Justin Sweeney 6-47, Dougie Minor 2-24.
PASSING–East Palestine, Parker Sherry 10-13-161-0; Lisbon, Logan Bell 7-14-119-0
RECEIVING–East Palestine, Dominic Posey 2-54, Branden Kemp 3-34, Joey Monteleone 1-23, Jordan Fristik 2-39; Lisbon, Justin Sweeney 4-89, Seth Stokes 3-30.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES–East Palestine, Brock Cheurco, Parker Sherry, Cameron Walker.