By SETH STASKEY
For the Intelligencer
SHADYSIDE - Shadyside has had six undefeated teams in its history, but only one - the 1977 squad - finished the season with a 10-0 record.
Shadyside’s Chase Kinemond (5) picks up a block from teammate Ian Baker (24) as Wheeling Central’s Nick Naumann (24) closes in during action of their game Friday night in Shadyside.
Ironically, that team was formally honored with a reunion for the first on the same night the Tigers cleared another huge hurdle toward a possible second Friday night.
With 20 members of that squad back at Fleming Field, the current Tigers turned in an opportunistic 14-0 victory against perennial West Virginia power Wheeling Central.
"This is big," Tigers coach Mark Holenka said. "The kids did a heck of a job and we stood up to the test even as we faced a little adversity in the second half."
With all of the hoopla surrounding the reunion, the 2012 Tigers turned in a brilliant defensive performance, limiting the Maroon Knights to 114 yards rushing yards and 208 total. If that wasn't enough, the Tigers forced two turnovers, including a 13-yard scoop and score by Austin Dorris just before halftime.
"We played good defense in crunch time and we made some plays," Holenka said. "In big games, you've got to be able to rise to the occasion, and I thought we did that on both sides of the ball."
The Maroon (4-3) face a more than four-hour bus trip to Mingo Central a week from today.
"We shot ourselves in the foot too many times (Friday night) Central coach Mike Young said. "We've got a young football team with an inexperienced quarterback. Our kids are working like heck, trying to do good things, but we didn't play with a lot of poise at times."
The Knights made their deepest penetration into Tigers territory, until a muffed punt in the fourth quarter, on their first drive when they got to the 36.
The Tigers made a defensive stop when Scott Hammond pounced on the first of three Knights' fumbles.
The game was scoreless after one quarter as the teams traded punts, following the turnover.
Shadyside made the Knights pay on their second possession. Central was called for a roughing the passer on a third-and-long, which gave the Tigers a first down on the 20.
Quarterback Chase Kinemond then hit Dorris in stride, who used his 6-foot, 5-inch frame to stretch the ball across the plane.
Central continued to struggled to get untracked against the Tigers defense.
"Our offense isn't built to where we can afford to fall behind the chains too much," Young said. "We had bad snaps, some poor exchanges or lost yardage. We have to chip away at it."
Wheeling Central's next three possessions resulted in punt, lost fumble and lost fumble, which proved to be the ultimate game changer with Dorris reaching the end zone on the defensive touchdown.
"We got the lead and the defense just hung on for us," Holenka said. "I remember being ahead 10-0 a few years back (at Central) and we were on our way in for our 17th point, but the tide turned with a 100-yard return. We knew we had to play four quarters and we couldn't afford to lose a quarter, which we didn't."
Central only threatened once more the entire night. After Shadyside turned the ball over on its 11, the Knights went out on downs.
"We had good field position and we just didn't take advantage," Young said. "I am disappointed in the loss, but give Shadyside credit because they had a nice scheme. Our heart was in it, but the body, at times, wasn't."
Shadyside limited hard-running Central quarterback C.J. Burch to 80 yards on 25 carries. He did surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season in the game.
The Tigers, meanwhile, accumulated only 200 yards of offense. Kinemond finished with 103 yards passing on 7 of 13 attempts. Hudson caught five passes for 67 yards. Brooks Ramsey was the Orange's leading rusher with 48 yards on seven tries.
Shadyside's quest for another trip to the Region 21 playoffs, OVAC title, and that possible perfect season resumes next Friday when Buckeye Trail visits.