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Football Lookahead: Shadyside Looks to Wrap Up Second Straight Perfect Season

October 31, 2013
By SETH STASKEY , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Prior to last season, Shadyside's lone 10-0 season came in 1977.

The Tigers find themselves on the brink of repeating the feat.

However, one test remains before any celebrating of perfection can take place.

Shadyside will look to cap its eighth undefeated season in school history Friday night when Barnesville visits Fleming Field. Kickoff is slated for 7.

"We need to make sure we slow down and enjoy the moment of having the chance to play in a game like this again," Shadyside coach Mark Holenka said. "The kids are looking at this as the crown jewel of the 10-game season, and they don't want to let what they've done the first nine weeks just evaporate."

While the Tigers know they'll be playing at home in Week 11 when the Division VII tournament opens against an opponent to be finalized this weekend, the Shamrocks (2-7) will conclude their season. The Tigers have already clinched the OVAC 2A title.

"We have nothing to lose, so we can play loose and go down and throw everything and the kitchen sink at (Shadyside) and hopefully do something that no one else expects us to do," Barnesville coach Matt Johnson said.

To be able to pull off the shocker, the Shamrocks will have to find a way to slow down the Tigers ground express offense that's averaging 334 yards and 41 points a game.

"Shadyside is an exceptional team," Johnson said. "They're well coached, disciplined and don't hurt themselves with turnovers. This is going to be a tremendous challenge for us."

The Tigers offense is paced by junior quarterback Austin Dorris, fullback Chris Littell and tailback Eric Howell.

Dorris has accumulated 1,017 yards and 16 touchdowns. Littell has run for 836 yards and 10 touchdowns and Howell has 801 yards and 17 touchdowns.

While the running game has been especially effective, the Tigers passing game is an area where Holenka hopes to see more as the postseason rolls around.

Dorris has completed 32 of 63 passes for 553 yards. He's thrown five touchdowns.

Scott Hammond and Littell are the top receiving threats. They've combined for 21 of the Tigers' receptions.

The offense functions so well because of the an offensive line comprised of Zach Meadows, who Johnson believes might be the best lineman he's seen on film this season, Hunter Hammond, Cory Banco, Jacob Spencer and Colton Campbell.

The Shamrocks offense has been hampered by turnovers and is averaging 13.1 points a game.

"I think they've got nice speed," Holenka said. "The tailback runs hard and has good speed.

"Plus, the quarterback is quick if he gets outside of containment."

Austin Hannahs triggers the Barnesville offense at quarterback. He's thrown for 416 yards and three touchdowns.

Dylan Burkhart is the Shamrocks' top option in the ground game. He's run for 565 yards and five touchdowns on 84 carries. David Brown is a solid option and lead blocker from the fullback spot.

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