Red Devils close out Potters
EAST LIVERPOOL–The East Liverpool football team fought hard to the end, but could not come up with a victory on senior night Friday at Patterson Field.
Playoff-bound St. Clairsville rolled out to a 35-0 halftime lead and held on for a 35-20 victory.
The Red Devils, who came into the game having already clinched a playoff spot in Div. IV Region 15, finish the regular season 8-2. The Potters close the season with a record of 3-7.
Although things did not always go their way on the scoreboard, East Liverpool coach Josh Ludwig never doubted his squad’s tenacity as the season played out.
“These kids play hard,” Ludwig said. “They’re tough kids and they fight to the end. Never once this year did they give up and I’m proud of the effort they gave this year.”
St. Clairsville started fast and scored on each of its first four possessions. The Red Devils took the opening kickoff and put together a 12-play 66-yard march, capped off by running back Brady Kolb muscling his way into the end zone from 10 yards out.
Kolb also scored on runs of 5 and 2 yards in the first half and led all rushers with 71 yards on 14 carries.
St. Clairsville southpaw quarterback Dustin Carrothers was largely efficient through the air, completing 10-of-14 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Red Devils receiver Craig Bober hauled in four passes for 82 yards.
Bober produced a highlight-reel touchdown catch late in the second quarter when he extended all of his 6-foot-3 frame to snare a 7-yard pass from Carrothers with one hand while somehow also managing to get a foot down as his momentum was carrying him out of bounds.
“They just gashed us in the first half,” Ludwig said. “There wasn’t much trickery involved, they just came downhill right at us and we weren’t able to stop them. That’s probably the most talented team we’ve faced this year. They have a heck of a tailback and their offensive line fires off the ball hard.”
Bober’s touchdown made it 35-0 at halftime and allowed St. Clairsville coach Brett McClean to begin resting his starters in the second half as the Red Devils look towards the playoffs next week.
“We wanted to be crisp with our execution and get out of here healthy tonight and we did that,” McClean said. “I have all the respect for East Liverpool, I’ve been where they are. I’m proud of my team, going 8-2 is a great thing for our seniors. Now we have to go home and see what awaits us next week.”
The Potters kept playing hard in the second half and were able to produce some highlights of their own.
Senior defensive lineman Ian Smith picked off a pass from St. Clairsville backup quarterback Brett Vike and strolled a couple of yards into the end zone to take away the running clock with 1:37 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Lane Kopras saw a deflected pass from Peyton Adkins fall right into his hands on a 4th-and-13 and was able to race off with a 30-yard touchdown.
With the clock ticking down on his senior season, East Liverpool senior linebacker Michael Loy scored the first touchdown of his varsity career on a 10-yard run to cap off the scoring.
“That felt great, I think it was my first touchdown since junior high,” Loy said. “I loved playing with these guys. We all supported each other no matter what. No matter what the circumstance is, everybody picks each other up.”
¯Friday was the last game at Patterson Field for 10 East Liverpool seniors.
“Our senior have been loyal to this program and we were able to get them all some time at the end tonight. I’m proud of them,” Ludwig said.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE: 21-14-0-0–35
EAST LIVERPOOL: 0-0-6-14–20
SC–Brady Kolb 10 run (Jake Bolyard kick)
SC–Brady Kolb 5 run (Bolyard kick)
SC–Kyle Storer 18 pass from Dustin Carrothers (Bolyard kick)
SC–Brady Kolb 2 run (Bolyard kick)
SC–Craig Bober 7 pass from Dustin Carrothers (Bolyard kick)
EL–Ian Smith 3 interception return (kick failed)
EL–Lane Kopras 30 pass from Peyton Adkins (Dominik Vallera kick)
EL–Michael Loy 10 run (Vallera kick)
First downs 15 8
Total Yards 336 158
Rushes-yards 43-176 24-41
Passing 160 117
Comp-Att-Int 11-15-3 8-17-1
Punts 2-26.5 4-33
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 4-30 4-50
RUSHING–St. Clairsville, Brady Kolb 14-71, Justin Heatherington 5-20, Matt Butkus 3-16, Aaron Jordan 11-27, Kenya Robinson 4-31; East Liverpool, Derek Carter 9-13, Peyton Adkins 7-12, Michael Loy 1-10, Aidan Watkins 1-7.
PASSING–St. Clairsville, Dustin Carrothers 10-14-147-1; East Liverpool, Peyton Reed 2-9-21-1, Peyton Adkins 6-8-96-0.
RECEIVING–St. Clairsville, Craig Bober 4-82, Kyle Storer 2-36, Greg Norman 2-30; East Liverpool, Noah Wheaton 3-30, Lane Kopras 3-36, Blayke McCloud 1-39.
INTERCEPTIONS–St. Clairsville, Ethan Duggan; East Liverpool, Troy Croskey, Ian Smith, Levi Turner.