Tigers Rout Fighting Irish

You can’t give up one big play after another and expect to win a football game.

St. John Central found that out the hard way in Friday night’s game with Shadyside.

Starting with a Ross Palicka 28-yard interception return for a touchdown, the Tigers (9-1) had four scores of 46 yards or better to hand the Fighting Irish (0-10) a 55-0 setback in Shadyside

”We wanted to get a couple things done and we were able to get our starters out of the game early,” Shadyside coach Ty Fleming said. ”We only ran 10 plays on offense in the first half and 10 in the second half so we weren’t really able to get a lot of time with our offense, but our defense and special teams did the bulk of our scoring.

”We wanted to get the young kids in the game and the kids came out pretty focused there in the first quarter and that’s important for us this time of the year.”

”We’re pleased with the effort they gave out there.”

Irish coach Scott Holt had conflicting emotions following the game.

”It’s bittersweet, but I’m also sad to see the season end,” Holt said. ”I got tired of getting beaten around each week. I’m looking forward to next year and the offseason in the weight room.”

Following Palicka’s INT return, senior speedster Nathaniel Haney returned a punt 68 yards, setting up the Tigers offense at the Irish 4.

One play later, senior tailback Dustin Sadlowski bulled his way in to make it 14-0 Shadyside with 8:23 left in the first.

Another St. John punt gave Shadyside the ball at its own 26.

Johnny Merryman and Sadlowski combined for 15 yards before senior quarterback Billy Merryman drilled a well-covered Haney in the seam for a 59-yard scoring toss to make it 21-0 Shadyside with 4:18 to play in the first.

After forcing yet another St. John punt, Johnny Merryman capped a four-play, 38-yard drive with a 10-yard jaunt to make it 28-0.

Haney scored his second TD of the game, taking the ensuing punt back 59 yards to make it 35-0 at the end of the first.

Taking the ensuing kickoff at its own 10, St. John marched 56 yards in 17 plays, chewing up 9:42 of the second quarter, before Carl Piper was stopped on fourth-and-2 from the 34.

Two plays later, Johnny Merryman went 46 yards to the house to make it 41-0 Tigers at the half.

Brandon Elliott fielded the second-half kickoff and took it back 85 yards to make it 47-0 Shadyside.

Neither team generated much offense the rest of the half as both teams emptied the benches after Elliott’s score.

Robbie Gable closed out the scoring with a 3-yard run with 10:27 left in the game.

”We played well, got done what we needed to get done and got the kids out of there,” Fleming said.

Johnny Merryman rushed for 83 yards on five carries and the two scores, while Sadlowski chipped in 18 yards and one score.

The Billy Merryman to Haney scoring toss was the only attempt and completion for Merryman.

Piper led the Irish with 57 yards rushing on 13 carries. Clark Kasprowski completed 3 of 14 passes for 39 yards and the one pick.

The Tigers await their first-round foe in the Ohio Division VI, Region 23, most likely Steubenville Central.