Devils down Panthers

YORKVILLE – St. Clairsville took advantage of a rash of Buckeye Local mistakes in the first quarter on their way to a 34-6 win over the Panthers at Memorial Stadium Friday.

The Red Devils stretched their record to 8-1.

Coach Brett McLean’s Red Devils return to action Friday finishing the regular season at home against Union Local.

Buckeye Local and coach Phil Pest will close the season on Friday hosting Harrison Central for the V.A.L.E.S. trophy. Buckeye won its first game of the season last week in a 20-10 decision over Western Reserve Academy and are 1-8 overall.

“We came dressed and ready when we got off the bus,” McLean said. “We challenged our kids to start off strong, but of course we didn’t expect the game to go like it did.

“There are a lot of kids on this team and we told them that we planned to play a lot of them. We didn’t expect to get those kids in that early. We wanted to get the younger kids in earlier so that they could play against the other team’s best and we expected them to play at a high level.

“We are going home pretty healthy. We have one game left and it’s against our rival, so that is going to be a big game for us and then the other season starts.

“I respect other coaches and players and would never run up a score on anybody. This team has kids who want to play and do well. We want these kids to play hard and keep their heads on straight.”

After the Panthers punted on their first possession, St. C went right to work. Quarterback Mike Monteroso threw a perfect long-range pass to Malik Gummer covering 53 yards to the Buckeye 16. Michael Ferns was stopped at the line of scrimmage before Monteroso and Gummer hooked up for 12 yards. With 8:03 on the clock, Ben Coleman ran in from the 4 for the score. Zach Musilli booted the PAT.

After another Panthers punt, St. C put together a four play drive keyed by a 29-yard run Jaylon Brown that moved the ball to the 8. Three plays later, Ferns bulled into the endzone from the 1 with 6:04 on the board. Musilli booted the PAT for a 14-0 lead.

Brendan Ferns extended the Red Devil lead to three scores with a 45-yard pass interception return for a score with 3:33 on the board.

A fumble on the ensuing kickoff by the Panthers handed the Red Devils another scoring opportunity at the 12. Monteroso threw to Gummer for the score with 3:16 remaining in the first. Musilli booted his fourth PAT.

Gummer’s 44-yard punt return set the stage for the Red Devils last score in the first. Jaylon Brown ran in from the 3 with 1:04 remaining. Josh Figurski blocked Musilli’s PAT for a 34-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Buckeye stayed primarily on the ground and drove to the St. Clairsville 3 in the final seconds, but the Red Devils kept them out of the endzone.

Buckeye finally got on the board in the fourth quarter. Steve Sable blocked a St. C punt that was scooped up by Dylan Dokes who returned it 30 yards to the 5. Four plays later, Jared Moore threw five yards to Andrew Hillman for the score with 8:12 on the game clock.

“Again, it was the mistakes,” Pest said. “We just can’t get away from the mistakes. The kids practice hard and they are trying hard, but the mistakes just seem to keep coming one after the other.

“They had a long pass play and then scored and then we fumbled the kickoff and they scored again. We just kept making mistakes too close to each other and that is just too hard to recover from.

“They are a very good football team and we knew it. We just couldn’t contain their quarterback. We have a big game next week with Harrison Central and we’ll be playing for the VALES Trophy. Our kids want to bring it back to our school.”