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Potters bounce back

East Liverpool’s Howie Williams tries to escape Beaver Local’s Jacob Kane (23) and Nate Sprouse (45) on Friday at Beaver Local High School’s field. (Photo by Jimmy Joe Savage)

CALCUTTA–Coming off of two straight tough losses, the East Liverpool football team went a long way towards smoothing over its disappointment in Friday’s rivalry clash at Beaver Local.

The Potters overcame a halftime deficit with some clutch offensive plays and sturdy defense in the second half to pull away from the Beavers 26-7.

East Liverpool rights the ship and evens its record at 2-2, while the Beavers fall to 2-2.

“We were down after those last two games, but we stayed together as a team,” East Liverpool senior Nick Woodyard said. “We realized it was now or never for us this week and we put in the extra work.”

The Potters found themselves trailing 7-6 entering the third quarter, but two big pass plays lifted them over the top.

Facing a 4th-and-10 at the Beaver 25 with just over six minutes left in the third, East Liverpool quarterback Nate Davis lofted a 25-yard touchdown pass to Timmy Neal to put the Potters ahead to stay. Neal was blanketed on the play by Beaver Local’s Devon Salsberry, but made an acrobatic grab in the end zone. The play put the Potters up 12-7 and restored momentum to the East Liverpool side.

“That was a huge play, what a great catch,” East Liverpool coach Josh Ludwig said. “Timmy does it in practice every day. I kept telling him, you’re one of our main guys and we’re going to keep coming to you. We did and he capitalized.”

On the ensuing possession, East Liverpool faced a 3rd-and-12 from the Beaver 14 when Davis took an end-around handoff from Woodyard (who lined up at quarterback on the play) and tossed an 11-yard touchdown strike to Braidyn Wright, making it 19-7 Potters with 10:56 left in the game. The 90-yard drive was keyed by a 39-yard run from running back Derek Carter.

The Beavers marched to the East Liverpool 12 on the next drive, but quarterback Ethan Lewis’ 4th down pass fell incomplete with 7:36 left. With five minutes left, Woodyard came up with a back-breaking 50-yard interception return. Carter put the icing on the cake with a 46-yard touchdown run with one minute left.

“Rivalry games always help you focus,” Woodyard said. “We know each other well and we always play each other tough,”

Carter had a steady 164 yards on 23 carries for the Potters, while Davis was 11-for-22 for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Woodyard got East Liverpool on the board first with 7:58 left in the second when he took a snap out of the wildcat formation raced 4 yards around the left side to make it 6-0.

“We had to show some resilience and keep fighting tonight,” Ludwig said. “When we watch the film we’re going to be upset about some chances we missed, but our guys kept plugging away.”

For most of the night, Beaver Local had trouble establishing consistent offense.

The Beavers’ lone score came on a methodical 13-play 68-yard second quarter march that took up 7:17. Lewis capped it off when he rolled right and found fullback Daniel Wirth for a 6-yard touchdown just before halftime. The Beavers reached the East Liverpool 19 late in the third quarter before a crippling holding penalty and a fumbled snap killed the drive.

“It stinks to lose, but I’m proud of our kids, I love these guys,” Beaver Local coach Mike McKenzie said. “We played our tails off tonight, they just made more plays than we did.”

The rushing tandem of Tanner Johnston (10 carries, 55 yards) and Jacob Kane (10 carries, 53 yards) led the Beavers on the ground. Lewis finished 13-for-28 for 102 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Beavers had 11 penalties for 100 yards.

“It’s going to hurt tonight,” McKenzie said. “This will be the toughest loss that they have. But we’re going to stick together. Our senior will lead us and we’ll regroup. We made some mistakes we’d like to have back tonight and that’s on me. I need to do a better job of getting us into a rhythm offensively.”

The Beavers host Edison next week, while the Potters must gear up for another big game when they welcome high-powered and unbeaten Oak Glen to Patterson Field.

“They have a heck of an offense and we have a lot of work to do to get ready for all their formations and some of their playmakers,” Ludwig said. “We’re going to start tonight.”

Game notes

¯The game was played at high intensity all night and emotions spilled over into a minor skirmish after a hard hit along the Beaver sideline late in the game.

¯East Liverpool starting offensive lineman Jayce Frank was helped off the field in the first half with a leg injury.

“I don’t have an update as of now, it seemed like he was hurting pretty bad,” Ludwig said.

¯The Potters have now won three of their last four against the Beavers.

EAST LIVERPOOL: 0-6-6-14–26

BEAVER LOCAL: 0-7-0-0–7

SCORING

EL –Nick Woodyard 4 run (kick failed)

BL –Daniel Wirth 6 pass from Ethan Lewis (Chase Flati kick)

EL–Timmy Neal 25 pass from Nate Davis (run failed)

EL–Braidyn Wright 14 pass from Nate Davis (Austin Deering kick)

EL–Derek Carter 46 run (Deering kick)

——

EL BL

First downs 9 14

Total Yards 278 233

Rushes-yards 32-179 31-111

Passing 99 122

Comp-Att-Int 11-22-1 14-32-1

Punts 2-41 4-36

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-1

Penalties-Yards 6-70 11-100

——

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

RUSHING–East Liverpool, Derek Carter 23-164, Nick Woodyard 6-11; Beaver Local, Tanner Johnston 10-55, Jacob Kane 10-53, Daniel Wirth 4-6.

PASSING–East Liverpool, Nate Davis 11-22-99-1; Beaver Local, Ethan Lewis 13-28-102-1, Tanner Johnston 1-4-10-0.

RECEIVING–East Liverpool, Timmy Neal 4-39, Braidyn Wright 3-39, Nick Woodyard 2-9; Beaver Local, Logan Krulik 4-42, James Monte 3-28, Dorian Jackson 2-14, Dylan Moore 3-9, Daniel Wirth 1-6.

INTERCEPTIONS–East Liverpool, Nick Woodyard; Beaver Local, Nate Sprouse.

FUMBLE RECOVERIES–East Liverpool, Tresean Jackson.

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