By RICK THORP
For The Intelligencer
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - After the way last Saturday afternoon's game in Bellaire game ended, one had to believe the focus of the St. Clairsville team that walked onto the turf Friday night at Red Devil Stadium would be a little different.
Edison’s Rich Springer tries to elude tackles by St. C.’s Mickey Beradi (14) and Dylan Alwine (37).
It didn't take visiting Edison long to find out.
St. Clairsville put on a clinic on the first half, scoring seven touchdowns, including two on defense, en route to a 49-12 pasting of the Wildcats in a contest that lost its luster early.
''I really want to commend (my players) for getting up off the tarp and being ready to play in every phase from the first snap,'' St. Clairsville coach Brett McLean said. ''If we can learn to do that and not take things for granted we can be good. We have to have that edge and desire. And that got lost a little bit (last week).
The Red Devils moved to 7-1 and improved their chances of playing host to an Ohio Division V, Region 17 opening-round playoff game in three weeks. A road trip to Buckeye Local and home date against Union Local remain on the schedule.
McLean said there was a different mood at practice last week and Friday's result reflected that.
''I didn't talk a lot,'' he said. ''I just said there's gonna be action. I just wanted them to come in and act like they're supposed to.
''They know what's expected of them. Our practices were better. We had a better attitude. I think we gained a better understanding of how important it is to have competition at practice because you just can't flip a switch and be ready to go on game night.''
Edison started with the ball but two plays in, Ethan Shannon, who ran wild for 210 yards in a three-overtime loss at Harrison Central last week, sustained a sprained ankle and was relegated to defensive duty the rest of the night.
''We just had a lot of things that went wrong and we couldn't capitalize on the things that went right,'' Edison coach Derrick Stickles said.
''We had a few kids playing sick and some injuries, etc. But that's no excuse. We just can't sit back and wait for things to come to us. We have to go take it.''
Things got worse for the Wildcats a few plays later when quarterback Nolan Marcus was picked off by the Red Devils' Malik Gummer at the St. C. 1.
From there, Jaylon Brown took over, carrying the ball four straight times and taking the Red Devils to the St. C. 24. Following an offside call on Edison, quarterback Mike Monteroso hit Ben Coleman for 7 yards and later, faced with a fourth-and-3 at their own 47, McLean gambled and handed the ball off to Brown. The senior took off up the middle 53 yards for the score. The first of seven Zach Musilli extra points made the score 7-0.
To most everyone's surprise, the Red Devils executed a successful onside kick and regained possession at the Edison 45. Again, St. C. was faced with a fourth-and-short, this time at the Wildcats' 46.
Brown got the first down on a 9-yard carry, then, four plays later, scored from 2 yards away to make the score 14-0.
''We've been aggressive,'' McLean said. ''I think our kids feed off of that attitude and that aggression and it helped them play aggressive by us coaching aggressive and making some calls.
''We were fortunate we did get the ball (on the onside kick) and all that. We have confidence in getting the ball and I think it's just a whole mentality.''
St. Clairsville added to its lead early in the second quarter when Brown capped a three-play, 66-yard drive with a 56-yard jaunt that upped the advantage to 21-0. Brown finished with 161 yards and three TDs on 13 carries.
The Wildcats muffed the ensuing kickoff and Brandon Ducker came out of the fray with the ball and raced into the end zone from 6 yards out to light up the stadium's new scoreboard again to make it read 28-0 with 6:35 left in the first half.
Edison's ensuing drive stalled on fourth down at the Red Devils' 46 and St. C. took quick advantage.
On the first play of its drive, Monteroso handed off to Brown who gave the ball to Gummer on a reverse. Aided by a block by Monteroso, Gummer reached the end zone and the St. C. ballooned to 35-0.
The Red Devils capped off the half with a 2-yard scamper by Daniel Trouten with 2:42 remaining.
Edison (4-4) got on the scoreboard with a pair of fourth-quarter runs, but for the most part, the Red Devils defense did a number on an offense that had been able to put up some big numbers at times this season.
''They do a good job with that read option and we know how slick (Marcus) is,'' McLean said. ''I just didn't want to see our kids stand around and see the whole thing thing happen."