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State Semifinal Game Will Be Remembered

November 24, 2012
By TRACY WATSON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MASSILLON - It may not have been the greatest performance anyone has ever had in a football game, but it was a game that the players, coaches and fans of St. Clairsville High will remember for a very, very long time and one of those game that in 20 years the entire town will have claimed to have seen.

While the bottom line is that every member of the Red Devils' roster will be given at least a little credit with the school reaching its first ever Ohio Division IV state championship game, there is one name that will stand out, and all you have to do is pick up the box score to figure out who it is.

Senior Dan Monteroso, a Boston College recruit, just could not be stopped - on either side of the football. And with that, the Red Devils will attempt to bring home the first football state championship in Belmont County history next at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon against Clinton-Massie at Canton's Fawcett Stadium.

"We're going dancing," an elated Brett McLean told his team just moments after singing the school alma mater with the packed stands. "We had a feeling at the beginning that this was something that could happen, but we kept it close in the locker room.

"But the mission isn't done, we are in it until the end. I am just so happy for these kids and this town."

In the end, it was the normal list of names responsible for the victory. Senior Matt Kinnick was amazing, throwing for 430 yards and four touchdowns while also racking up three 1-yard scoring bursts along the way; senior Jaylon Brown, who was contained for much of the game but still managed 81 yards rushing and some key first downs.

There was Jerrid Marhefka who had two catches for 92 yards, including a 76-yard scoring strike from Kinnick; Michael Ferns who as usual was a force on defense with four unassisted tackles and four assists and an offensive line that paved the way for everything on that side of the football to come to fruition.

But while McLean will tell you it was a team effort, and while there were so, so many contributors, it was Monteroso who seemed to be at the right place, at the right time whenever a big play was needed.

There were the seven catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns that he caught - in the first half. There were the two interceptions that came at the most opportune of times, a huge sack that turned a third and five into a fourth and 14 in St. Clairsville territory late in the third quarter and the Devils leading by seven.

Not to mention the leaping grab between two defenders at the Norwayne 6-yard line for a 31-yard completion that led the Kinnicks third touchdown run late in the fourth quarter that provided the icing on the cake.

In all, Monteroso finished with 10 catches for 264 yards and two touchdowns, two interceptions, the huge sack and five unassisted tackles.

"On one of the biggest stages he has been on, Dan Monteroso did what everyone knew he was capable of doing," a smiling McLean added. "You have to have your athletes make plays at this level and he did, repeatedly. A couple of kids showed what they could do and the chemistry they have, but we like to spread the wealth.

"You never really know whose number we are going to call, but whoever we need usually comes up big for us."

And when it appeared that the Bobcats' defense didn't know exactly who they were dealing with in the first half, Monteroso made them pay dearly. At times, it almost looked like he was a player that McLean tried to sneak onto the field that no one had time to evaluate on film or in person.

"Jaylon (Brown) has run wild for us all season, and when it looked like they were going to try and stop him, I knew I had to step up," Monteroso said. "We all know what we have to do when the coaches call our number, we are expected to make plays, so when they called my number I did.

"And when they call Jaylon's number he always does, it really doesn't matter whose number they call, someone always steps up and that is why we have made it to this point.

"But we are not finished. There is one more game to go and our goal is go out and become the first Belmont County team to ever win a state football championship."

St. Clairsville has already put its name with the likes of Shadyside and Bellaire, each of whom have advanced to a pair of state football championship games, but each of whom have come back with silver instead of gold each time.

Friday afternoon in Canton, the Red Devils will get their crack at it, and if Dan Monteroso and company have any say about it Belmont County will be celebrating its first football state championship ever by sometime that evening.

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