Potters blank Golden Bears, keep them winless
NEW MANCHESTER – Faced with being unable to stop a powerful running attack and beset with four turnovers, the winless Oak Glen Golden Bears fell for the eighth straight time this season, this time to East Liverpool Friday night, 27-0. It was the third time the Bears have been shut out this season.
Scoring a touchdown in each quarter the Potters piled up 452 total yards of offense, 371 of them on the ground. The Potters, however, kept shooting themselves in the foot with 12 penalties for 110 yards.
In contrast, the Golden Bears, playing their final home game of the season, rushed for 85 yards and got 87 more stripes through the air for a total offense of 172 yards.
East Liverpool led in first downs 23-9.
“We knew coming into the week that our goal would be to sustain long drives and run the ball down the field,” said Rick Prescott, whose Potters chalked up win No. 3 in eight starts. “We came out doing that, but I got away from it for awhile, but we came out in the second half and stayed on the ground. We should have stuck to that all the way through.”
Potter senior Zach English had a monster night gaining 193 yards with 27 carries and scored twice. One of his touchdowns was on his longest gain of the night, a 25-yarder.
“English had a nice game, but we had a nice game all around. A good, quality game,” Prescott continued. “The only drawback was the penalties. You can’t have over 100 yards in penalties and expect to score a lot of points.”
Prescott was proud of his defense that pitched a shutout.
“Our defense played well tonight. We’ve played well all season long,” he said. “We gave up a couple of long screen passes, but that’s the risk when you gamble and put pressure on like we did tonight.”
The defense had Oak Glen sophomore quarterback Zac Porter scrambling a lot. The screen passes that Prescott referred to were 37 and 32-yard passes to Nate Bebout and an 18-yarder to senior David Campbell.
Porter was intercepted three times, all by English, who had a big night on both sides of the ball.
Oak Glen fell behind by only 13-0 at halftime and got the kickoff to open the second half. They put the ball in play at their own 20 and methodically drove down the field 79 yards to the East Liverpool 1-yard line with a first down.
On the first play, Porter attempted a quarterback sneak over left guard and was stood up by the East Liverpool defense. Before he went to the ground, the ball popped out of Porter’s grasp and was recovered at the Potter 3 by freshman Devin Streets.
The Golden Bears never threatened after that.
“We have a young team out there and one of the things I think we need to work on more as a team and as a coaching staff is our tackling,” said Oak Glen interim head coach, Jason Kekseo. “I think that was our weakness and it showed tonight. East Liverpool did a good job exploiting it. They ran hard, but we have to learn to get in front of people and make a tackle.”
The Golden Bears were limited to only eight rushing yards in the first half, but made some halftime adjustments and came out with the long drive and moved the ball more consistently in the second half.
Senior tailback, David Campbell, who had no carries in the first quarter and gained only seven yards in the second, got the call 11 times in the second half and responded with a team-high 68 yards on 17 carries.
“Our staff made a lot of great adjustments at halftime and I think you saw that when we came out on the field,” Kekseo explained. “We try to make those adjustments and put our players in the position stop the other team and move the ball as an offense.
“You have to be able to put the ball in the end zone from the one yard line and when you don’t do that-that’s a momentum killer. Zac is a young quarterback who played exceptionally well last week, but he’s a sophomore and he’ll get better. He’ll get back to practice tomorrow and he’ll work on those mistakes.”
In fairness to Porter, the East Liverpool front seven put pressure on the young quarterback throughout the game.
“We need to a better job up front blocking, but we’re getting better at the fundamentals,” Kekseo continued. “You know, blocking and tackling. That’s just fundamental football.”
After Porter’s fumble at the goal line, the Potters put together a 97-yard, 10-play drive that put the game out of reach. English finished the drive with a 6-yard power run over the right side and when Justin Barr drilled the kick from placement through the uprights (he made 3 of 4 in the game), the Potters were in command 20-0.
John Miscuk, East Liverpool’s 218-pound battering ram of a fullback, blasted into the end zone on a trap play over left guard from eight yards out for the final score of the game on the third play into the fourth quarter.
That touchdown was set up by English’s third pick of a Porter pass at the Potter 19. The Potters marched 81 yards with eight running plays.
Senior Night honors went to ten Golden Bear players playing their final game at the Bear’s Den – Colton Speece, Chris Burnham, Josh Cornell, David Campbell, Cody Wishon, Mike Shenton, Dalton Champ, Keith Orr, Skyler Fluharty and Tyler Campbell.
The Golden Bears won’t return to the gridiron for two weeks because of a bye next week. They will travel to play currently unbeaten Point Pleasant on Nov. 2. East Liverpool has another rivalry game next week when they travel to Beaver Local.