St. Clairsville Falls to John Glenn
NEW CONCORD — St. Clairsville had done its homework on John Glenn. It was well aware of how strong of a defensive unit the Little Muskies boasted.
Being aware of it one thing. Being able to solve it was a completely different thing.
That was on full display Saturday night inside of McConagha Stadium on the campus of Muskingum University during the opening round of the Division IV, Region 15 tournament.
Outside of the initial drive of the second half, the Red Devils offense struggled all evening to gain traction against a physical John Glenn defensive unit and the Little Muskies found enough offense to post a 23-6 win.
“We all win together and we all lose together, so it’s frustrating for us, as a group, that we didn’t play just a little bit better,” St. Clairsville coach Brett McLean said. “We played a very good opponent and I don’t want to take anything away from them, but we had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on.”
The Red Devils, who finish at 8-3, mustered just 215 yards of total offense and their ground game, which had been their bread and butter much of the season, was limited to just 82 yards on 29 carries.
“They really did a good job of keeping you off guard defensively, and I thought they flew to the ball,” McLean said. “Their back end tackled as well as anyone we’ve seen and that’s a powerful thing. We had a few chances to beat them over the top, but we didn’t make it happen.”
After spotting the Little Muskies a 14-0 lead in the first half, the Red Devils took the second half kickoff and proceeded to march 80 yards in 10 plays. St. C. was able to mix run and pass. Tyler Tonkovich, who was solid as a runner and passer, had a 17 yard run during the march and found senior wide receiver Brett Vike for 35 earlier in the drive.
The Devils capped it when senior Aaron Jordan went into the end zone from 10 yards out. The PAT was wide, leaving it at 14-6.
St. Clairsville appeared to have swung the momentum as its defense forced a punt, which was downed inside the 1-yard line. On the ensuing play, the Little Muskies were back in control.
Tonkovich slipped down as he rolled out, giving up a safety and pushed the John Glenn lead to 16-6.
The Red Devils only truly threatened one more time and the drive stalled when they dropped a pass in the end zone on fourth down. John Glenn, meanwhile, capped the scoring and salted the game away when senior quarterback Evan Williams, who is playing on an injured knee, found senior Reece Perkins for his second touchdown of the night.
The win sends the Little Muskies into the regional semifinals against top-seeded Newark Licking Valley at a site to be announced today by the OHSAA.