Red Devils Best Skins

Photo by Sherri McAninch St. Clairsville’s Brady Kolb looks for running room Friday night against Indian Creek.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — St. Clairsville and Indian Creek battled for four quarters Friday night, but after a physical contest that saw the hosts run the ball 60 times, the Red Devils came out on top of a 34-28 contest.

“I think we wore on them a little bit. Obviously, for both teams, it was a war of attrition with health,” St. Clairsville coach Brett McLean said of a game that saw a number of players for both teams exit. “It was the kind of night where we felt like we needed to wear them down for the holes to start opening a little wider or getting a little bigger.

”Credit to the offensive line and fullbacks that are blocking and leaning on people and doing a phenomenal job. And Brady Kolb, he’s done it three weeks now in a row. He’s really turned into a workhorse and it opens up other things for other kids on the field.”

The junior back finished with 214 yards and a pair of scores on 42 carries.

“It was just a well-played football game, both sides came out and strapped up and played football,” Indian Creek coach Andrew Connor said. “It’s what you’d expect from a high school football game. Kudos to them, they played hard and our kids never quit and they played hard.”

The Red Devils (4-1) saw their first opportunity cut short when Derrick Eakle picked off a Dustin Carrothers pass attempt and returned it to the Indian Creek 41-yard line. Six plays later, Tyler Smarrella found the end zone from a yard out. Evan Merryman’s placement put the Redskins (3-2) up 7-0.

The hosts battled back on their next drive, marching 69 yards in 13 plays, all of them rushes, capped off by a 1-yard burst up the middle from Kolb for the score. Freshman Jake Bolyard, making his varsity debut, split the uprights on the point-after to tie the game.

Creek struck back on its next drive with quarterback Brennon Norris finding tailback Trevor Fante on a short pass that the swift sophomore took 12 yards for a touchdown. Merryman was true again for a 14-7 lead for the visitors.

The teams each struggled to find traction in the second quarter until the hosts dented the end zone with 3.9 seconds remaining before the half ended.

Carrothers found speedster Justin Heatherington streaking down the field for a 33-yard strike for six and Bokyard’s second kick knotted things at 14-14 headed into halftime.

Following the break, St. Clairsville’s defense stepped up its effort by forcing a three-and-out the Red Devils capitalized on, as Heatherington found the end zone again, this time on a 52-yard rush that saw him use his speed to burst past the line of scrimmage and go untouched.

Following another punt by the visitors, St. Clairsville doubled its lead as Carrothers found Craig Bober in the back of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown grab and Bolyard’s kick put the St.C. lead at 28-14.

St. Clairsville had an opportunity to increase its lead after senior defensive end John Hawley took a pass tipped by teammate Isaak Myers to the Creek 28, however a halfback pass by Heatherington was picked off by Richie Gualtiere in the end zone and taken out to the 5 to end the threat.

Indian Creek mounted an 11-play 95-yard drive at that point, capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Fante to close the gap to 28-21.

St. Clairsville mounted one more scoring drive, eating the clock with nine rushes covering 48 yards, capped by a 7-yard scamper from Kolb. After a procedure penalty, Bolyard’s kick was low leaving the hosts up 34-21.

The visitors struck fast after the teams traded possessions with Norris passing the ball to Matt Maumula for a 69-yard touchdown, and Merryman’s placement closed the gap to 34-28, however the Red Devils were able to ground out the final 2:58, converting three first downs to run out the clock and secure the win.

In addition to Kolb’s effort, Heatherington added 164 yards, with 87 of those coming on the ground, and a pair of scores for the Red Devils. Norris finished with 360 yards passing and a pair of scores on 22 completions, while Mamula snagged six of those passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.