WHEELING - Linsly's coaching staff figured it would have trouble moving the ball and sustaining drives on the ground against a tough Allderdice defense as Saturday's game approached.
They figured they'd have to slay the Dragons some other way, perhaps with a trick play and maybe something positive with the special teams to come out on top of this one.
They admit they drew up only one of those but both happened in the Cadets' 26-7 victory against an Allderdice team that was playing its third OVAC team this season (more than eight actual OVAC clubs have played) Saturday at Halloway Field.
Photo by Alex Kozlowski
Linsly's Chimechi Oparanzoie breaks free against Allderdice.
Tied at 7-7 as the first-half clock ticked under a minute, Linsly got the ball back when Austin Whipkey scooped up the first of three lost Dragons fumbles at his 38.
With the exception of Jameson Murray's 20-yard touchdown run, the Cadets (3-2) had little success bashing into the the Allderdice line (they had 47 yards on 17 carries at that point). That's when Coach B.J. Depew and his staff showed a little imagination.
Murray handed off to Chimechi Oparanozi, who flipped it to Isaiah Harvin as the two were headed in opposite directions. Harvin then turned and tossed it back to Murray, who heaved it deep downfield to a lonesome Zak Kriechbaum, who took it the final 25 yards for the score, totalling 62 in all.
''We just put that play in this week,'' Depew said. ''We knew they were a tough defense with a bunch of hard-nosed kids. It wasn't a game where we thought we could pound it at them all day. We were beating each other up, which has been happening a lot lately. It was the same way at Martins Ferry (last week).''
A hair more than a minute of scoreboard time later - though halftime came between it - Oparanozie returned the second-half kickoff 84 yards to put Linsly up 20-6.
Check. And check.
Oparanozie later added a 13-yard touchdown run one play after Murray hit Jay Mascara in the flat for a 57-yard gain. Mascara was every bit as open on that one as Kriechbaum was on his.
''Three plays,'' Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett said. ''That's all they got. But they were big ones.''
Allderdice, which has lost all three trips to the Ohio Valley (also Brooke and Martins Ferry), got its lone score when Trevon Williams burst in from 20 yards out with 2:35 left in the third quarter.
He wound up as the Dragons' leading rusher with 86 yards on 14 carries.
Oparanozie was the game's leading rusher with 90 yards on 24 carries, evidence that the Linsly coaching staff was onto something as early as last Sunday. Murray completed four passes for 142 yards. Mascara had two of those for 79.
Allderdice turned the ball over four times. James Cartwright recovered two of the three fumbles for Linsly as he and fellow linebacker and Hayden Gaus spent half the day in the Dragons backfield.