Football: Linsly Seniors Can Take a Bow

WHEELING – Heading into Saturday afternoon’s season finale with visiting Landmark Christian Academy, Linsly coach B.J. Depew was looking for Cadets to make something special happen.

All that was going to take was a victory to make his 10-player senior class the winningest under his direction.

Jameson Murray passed for 227 yards and three touchdowns, Eric Dodd caught three passes for 117 and two scores, and Chimechi Oparanozie rushed for 147 and two more touchdowns as Linsly celebrated Senior Day with a 43-14 thumping of the Eagles at Lockhart Alumni Field.

It marked the 30th time that this season’s 10-member senior class had celebrated a victory and the eighth time in 10 outings this season for Depew’s squad.

“I am so happy that our seniors were able to go out like this,” Depew said. “And it was even nicer that we were able to have all 10 of them on the field for the final play of the game.

“It has been a very nice season and this was the end we were hoping for. I am very sad to see these kids end their careers here. They have been part of 30 wins. These kids learned from great leaders and they learned how to become great leaders.”

Saturday, the Cadets were able to get it done on both sides of the football, finishing with 459 yards, while allowing 10 to Landmark Christian, including minus-27 on the ground.

Offensively, it took the Cadets all of one play for the onslaught to begin. Following a 26-yard Jay Mascara punt return, Murray found a wide open Dodd racing down the middle of the field for a 38-yard score.

Murray’s second touchdown pass of the opening quarter, this time on a short-toss to the left to Benton Nanners, made it 13-0. Nanners started the drive with an interception.

The Cadets’ second one-play drive pushed the mark to 20-0 when Chimechi Oparanozie busted off a 32-yard scoring run with 1:32 showing.

After turning the ball over deep in Eagles (2-7) territory midway through the second quarter, junior Chukwu Chukwudi provided a pair of points by sacking quarterback Will Patrick in the end zone for a safety and a 22-0 margin.

Three plays later, Tyler Ashbrook bullied his way in from 19 yards away to take advantage of the short, free-kick.

Overall in the first half, the Cadets outgained Landmark Christian by a 238-minus-27 margin while allowing one first down.

Linsly’s first offensive play of the second half was a mirror image of its first play of the game. Dodd’s second touchdown catch, this one from 55 yards away, looked familiar as the Cadets upped the count to 35-0, 12 seconds into the third quarter.

The Eagles got on the board just 16 seconds later when Zihao Barton took the ensuing kickoff at his own 8, broke to the outside and headed down the sideline 92 yards. Holder Will Patrick picked up the snap on the conversion and rolled in for the 2-pointer and a 35-8 score.

Oparanozie’s second score, this time from 7 yards away midway through the third quarter, and Jacob Murray’s 2-point pass to Nick Aprea after a bad snap, made it 43-8.

Zihao Barton’s 45-yard scamper down the sideline, with a failed 2-point conversion, made it 43-14.

“We played well,” Depew said. “I believed we were the better team and I think we played like it. Our offensive line dominated and has been tremendous all season long. It was a senior orientated line and they were able to open up so much for us.”