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Park Puts On Clinic To Take Down Linsly

Patriots Rack Up 558 Total Yards

Photo by Kristin Mazgaj Wheeling Park’s Nate Shelek (10) intercepts a pass while covering Linsly’s athletic wide receiver Luca DiLorenzo during Friday night’s game at Wheeling Island Stadium.

WHEELING — As he stood outside of the locker room, Chris Daugherty almost had to do a double take when he heard the offensive statistics.

And who could blame him?

Wheeling Park clicked on all cylinders Friday evening at Wheeling Island Stadium putting on an offensive clinic against Linsly in the first meeting between the two Ohio Co. schools.

The Patriots accumulated 558 yards, including 363 in the passing game, and accumulated 28 first downs en route to a convincing 56-20 victory.

“Wow! I didn’t realize that,” Daugherty said as he heard the numbers. “And you know I felt like when we stalled (offensively), it was us. It was our fault.”

Daugherty isn’t exaggerating when he says that. Park, quite simply, did basically whatever it wanted to do offensively. Whether it was Beau Heller in the passing game, Stevie Mitchell on the ground or the plethora of wide receivers, all of whom seemingly got involved, Park made it look easy for much of the night.

“Give Park all of the credit in the world for how they played,” Linsly head coach B.J. Depew said. “Their kids came out, played hard and executed. They just beat us for four quarters.”

The Patriots wasted little time in setting the tone. They marched 80 yards in just 2:23 of the game clock before Heller threw the first of three touchdowns. This one went to senior Shaheed Jackson from 28 yards out. Andrew Glass, the Patriots’ impressive senior kicker, connected on the first of his eight PAT kicks, making it 7-0.

However, Linsly flashed its ability to make a big play on the ensuing possession. Senior quarterback Hunter Kelley found talented sophomore Luca DiLorenzo behind the Patriots’ secondary for a 71-yard pitch and catch. Jao Lima’s PAT knotted the game at 7.

That was about it for any Cadets’ momentum.

“We blew a coverage (on Linsly’s first touchdown), but we still felt good because anytime you drive the ball, you’re effective offensively,” Daugherty said. “We told the kids to just keep playing. They settled in and got back after it.”

Indeed they did.

This time, the Patriots drove 80 yards and operated mostly on the ground for eight plays before Mitchell, who rushed for 151 yards on 28 carries, found a crease from 8 yards out for his first score.

With the lead and an adjustment made, the Patriots’ defense settled in. Junior Nate Shelek picked off a Kelley pass. Linsly went five consecutive possessions and produced only two first downs and had four punts following the pick.

Meanwhile, the Patriots’ offense kept churning.

A 21-point onslaught in the second quarter blew the game wide open. Heller threw a 46-yard touchdown to speedy senior Sincere Sinclair and then on the next possession he found senior Carson Namack for a 65-yard score and the barrage was capped when Heller plunged in from 4 yards out.

Linsly closed the first half with a touchdown with 17 seconds to go when Kelley found Kobe Hill on a 51-yard touchdown.

“It’s hard to see it right now, but we’ll be better because we came (to Wheeling Island) and played (Park),” Depew said. “But, that will only happen if we learn from it and take a hard look at ourselves and think about how we could have done things differently and responded differently. In the locker room, at halftime, the talk was about whether we believed in ourselves enough to come out and do it. I think we didn’t have an entire locker room full of guys who did that.”

The fourth quarter was played with the mercy rule in effect because Park struck up the band twice more in the third. Heller, who was an efficient 17-of-23 for 363, found Sinclair for a 65-yard score. Mitchell scored from 3 yards out during the third, too.

Heller spread the ball around quite impressively, too. No fewer than five different players caught a pass. Sinclair hauled in 5 for 141 and Jackson caught 6 passes for 110 yards.

“Hopefully, we’re able to keep (spreading the ball around),” Daugherty said. “It’s easy (for a defense) when you only have to stop one or two kids, but it’s a little bit different when you can spread the ball out and make a defense worry about five or six.”

Linsly added a score in the fourth when Kelley, who was 13-of-28 for 210 yards, found senior Zachai Simmons for 27 yards.

Park capped the scoring with its backups in the game. Sophomore Brett Phillips scored from a yard out.

Assuming Ohio County comes off of its gold standing on the ever-important West Virginia color-coded map, the Patriots (3-1) will welcome undefeated Oak Glen next Friday in a showdown. Linsly, meanwhile, continues its road swing by heading to McGuffy, Pa.

“We don’t have that inside-the-city rivalry anymore, so this was both different and fun for us,” Daugherty said. “I don’t know, without COVID, if this game would have ever happened, but it did and it was a fun atmosphere. I just wish it could have been jam-packed.”

Wheeling Park 56, Linsly 20

Linsly 7 6 0 7 — 20

Wheeling Park 14 21 14 7 — 56

WP — Jackson 28 pass from Heller (Glass kick).

L — DiLorenzo 71 pass from Kelley (Lima kick).

WP — Mitchell 8 run (Glass kick).

WP — Sinclair 46 pass from Heller (Glass kick).

WP — Namack 65 pass from Heller (Glass kick).

WP — Heller 4 run (Glass kick).

L — Hill 51 pass from Kelley (kick failed).

WP — Sinclair 65 pass from Heller (Glass kick).

WP — Mitchell 3 run (Glass kick).

L — Simmons 27 pass from Kelley (Lima kick).

WP — Phillips 1 run (Glass kick).

Rushing: Linsly 20-49 (Knight, 6-14; Kelley, 5-(-9); Simmons, 3-15; Hill, 5-14; Felton, 2-11; Dolata, 1-4). Wheeling Park, 41-195-4td (Mitchell, 28-151-2td; Heller, 6-25-td; Mundy, 3-14; Diehl, 2-7; Phillips, 1-1-td).\

Passing: Linsly, 14-29-214-3td-2x (Kelley, 13-28-210-3td-2x; Hill, 1-1-4). Wheeling Park, 17-23-363-4td (All by Heller).

Receiving: Linsly, 14-214-3td (DiLorenzo, 3-75-td; Hill, 5-92-td; Reitter, 3-14; Felton, 1-2; Simmons, 1-27-td; Kelley, 1-4). Wheeling Park, 17-363-4td (Walker, 1-23; Sinclair, 5-141-td; Namack, 4-87-td; Jackson, 6-110-td; Mitchell, 1-2).

First Downs: Linsly, 9; Wheeling Park, 28.

Fumbles: Linsly, 2-0; Wheeling Park, 2-1.

Penalties: Linsly, 9-65; Wheeling Park, 6-45.

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