YORKVILLE - St. Clairsville's high-powered Red Devils came to town Friday looking to unleash their explosive offense.
Instead it was a team that took advantage of a rash of Buckeye Local mistakes in the first quarter on its way to a 34-6 victory against the Panthers at Memorial Stadium.
"We came dressed and ready when we got off the bus," St. Clairsville coach Brett McLean said. "We challenged our kids to start off strong, but of course we didn't expect the game to go like it did.
"There are a lot of kids on this team and we told them that we planned to play a lot of them. We didn't expect to get those kids in that early. We wanted to get the younger kids in earlier so that they could play against the other team's best and we expected them to play at a high level."
After the Panthers' first possession resulted in a fourth-down punt that handed the Red Devils the ball at their 31, St. C. went right to work. QB Mike Monteroso threw a perfect pass to Malik Gummer covering 53 yards to the Buckeye 16. Michael Ferns was stopped at the line of scrimmage before Monteroso and Gummer hooked up for 12 yards. With 8:03 on the clock, Ben Coleman ran in from the 4 for the score. Zach Musilli booted the PAT.
St. C regained possession following another Panthers punt and put together a four-play drive keyed by a 29-yard run Jaylon Brown that moved the ball to the hosts' 8. Three plays later, Ferns bulled into the end zone from the 1 with 6:04 on the board for a 14-0 lead.
Brendan Ferns extended the Red Devils lead to three scores with a 45-yard interception return for a score with 3:33 on the board.
A fumble on the ensuing kickoff by the Panthers handed the Red Devils another scoring opportunity at the 12. Monteroso threw to Gummer for 12 yards and a score with 3:16 remaining in the first.
Gummer's 44-yard punt return set the stage for the Red Devils' last score in the first. Brown ran in from the 3 with 1:04 remaining for a 34-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Buckeye stayed primarily on the ground and drove to the STC 3 in the final seconds, but the Red Devils kept them out of the end zone.
Following a scoreless third, Buckeye finally got on the board in the fourth quarter. Steve Sable blocked a St. C punt that was scooped up by Dylan Dokes who returned it 30 yards to the 5. Four plays later, QB Jared Moore threw 5 yards to Andrew Hillman for the score with 8:12 on the game clock.
"Again, it was the mistakes," Buckeye Local coach Phil. "We just can't get away from the mistakes. The kids practice hard and they are trying hard, but the mistakes just seem to keep coming one after the other.
"They had a long pass play and then scored and then we fumbled the kickoff and they scored again. We just kept making mistakes too close to each other and that is just too hard to recover from.''