SHADYSIDE - It wasn't a work of art, but it didn't need to be.
No one expected Shadyside to bring its "A" game Friday night against winless Shenandoah. Not after the Tigers' emotional and dominating victory against rival Bellaire just six days prior.
Even when they are not at their best, the Tigers can still get it done in solid fashion, as was the case in a 41-15 drubbing of the Zeps at Fleming Field.
"Leonardo wouldn't have been real pleased with our performance, but it wasn't totally unexpected. After a game like we had against Bellaire you want to back off as coaches and let the kids enjoy it somewhat," Shadyside coach Mark Holenka said. "It starts at the top with the coaches and permeates down to the kids and it dictates in how we play. We were too robotic at times."
The triumph was the 17th consecutive in the regular season for the Tigers.
Shadyside played without the services of running back standout Chris Littell who incurred a broken hand in the victory against the Big Reds. Cushioning the blow was another strong effort by junior Eric Howell who made the most of his 12 carries, galloping for 139 yards and four touchdowns. Howell scored on jaunts of 4, 1, 13 and 57 yards.
"Eric had a big night running and then turns around and does a great job at defensive end," Holenka said.
Junior quarterback Austin Dorris, who earlier in the week received an offer from Ohio University, ran in the two other Shadyside six-pointers.
The outcome was never in doubt as Shadyside used its relentless rushing attack to forge a 21-0 advantage after the opening quarter.
Shadyside marched 57 yards on 10 plays on its opening possession, climaxed by Howell's 4-yard run.
Shenandoah proceeded to shoot itself in the foot, fumbling away the ensuing kickoff, with the hosts setting up shop at the Zeps 27. Six rushes later saw Howell bust in from the 1 with 3:29 left in the opening quarter for a 13-0 lead.
Things got no better for the Zeps on their next possession. Forced to punt, Shenandoah had the boot blocked and covered by the Tigers' Robert Newhart at the Shenandoah 15. One Howell carry, followed by two Dorris totes, the last one from a yard out, again had the Tigers in the end zone. Howell ran in the 2-pointer for a 21-0 lead with 10 seconds left.
Shenandoah continued to be plagued by miscues as Tigers senior Jake Duvall intercepted a Zeps pass and returned it 17 yards to the 18. That set the table for a 18-yard scramble by Dorris which again tasted paydirt..
The Zeps temporarily slowed the bleeding when Stephen Hannum stepped in front of a Shadyside receiver and raced 31 yards with an interception. Dakota Hornak's PAT made it 27-7 with 6:33 left in the half.
A Logan Price interception, one of his two, enabled Shadyside to score again late in the half. Taking possession at the Shenandoah 18, Howell needed two tries to record his third score, this one covering 13 yards for a 34-7 halftime lead.