Shadyside tops East Hardy, 21-7
SHADYSIDE – Down but definitely not out.
Shadyside has encountered a rare rough start to the 2020 grid campaign, dropping close nods to a trio of quality programs while winning just once.
After a lethargic first half Saturday afternoon, the Tigers flashed their perennial-powerful form over the final two quarters, rolling past previously unbeaten and West Virginia state-ranked East Hardy, 21-7, at Fleming Field.
The Orange’s Homecoming victory took on added sweetness in the process. Head coach Mark Holenka reached an impressive milestone, achieving his 100th career win at the helm of his alma mater in just 11-plus seasons, a rather meteoric pace.
In addition, Abbie Brown was crowned the Tigers’ Homecoming Queen at halftime.
The Eastern Panhandle-based Cougars entered the sun-splashed contest with a 2-0 mark, good for fourth place in the most recent WVSSAC Class A state grid rankings.
Shadyside used another superb performance from all-Ohioan Wyatt Reiman to fend off the stern East Hardy challenge.
The invaders took a 7-0 lead into halftime. The Cougars, however, ran into a rejuvenated band of Tigers after intermission.
Reiman tallied all 21 Orange points via three TDs and a field goal. He finished with 212 yards rushing on 21 totes. The 185-junior also forced a fumble which led to a Tiger touchdown.
“The second half, and especially the fourth quarter, the team, the sidelines and all the coaches – it felt like old times. It felt like the floodgates finally opened it and it came back to the way it used to be,” Holenka said. “We didn’t have to make a whole lot of changes at halftime. We just said we had to play with more emotion.
“We told the players that it wasn’t us who had to make a four-hour bus ride, but it looked like we did in the first half,” he added. “But we finally played with emotion. I am very proud of our effort. We beat a quality team today.”
East Hardy drew first blood on the game’s initial possession. The Cougars drove 65 yards on eight plays. Senior Alex Miller bolted in from the 5 with 9:09 still showing in the opening chapter. Tyler Tarallo added the PAT kick.
That would prove the lone score of an uneventful first half.
Things turned quickly in the Orange’s favor after intermission as the Cougars fumbled away their initial possession of the second half with the hosts taking over at the East Hardy 39. Six snaps later, Reiman bulled into the end zone from 2 yards out. The run for the bonus points came up short, leaving the Cougars clinging to a 7-6 lead.
The ensuing kickoff proved a game-changer as Reiman stripped the ball from the East Hardy returner with Andrew Brown recovering at the Cougar 47.
The Tigers put together a 10-play march which stalled at the Cougar six. Reiman delivered a 23-yard field goal, giving the hosts their first lead of the afternoon at 9-7.
Shadyside forced an East Hardy punt on the following possession, rolling dead at the Orange 15. After a Jacob Visnic carry, Reiman broke free up the middle and raced 83 yards for another touchdown. The PAT failed, leaving Shadyside with a 15-7 upper hand with 6:52 remaining in the contest.
The Tigers regained possession on downs and salted the game away via a 10-play, 76-yard march with Reiman capping it from 25 yards out.
“Wyatt is a workhorse. His field goal was huge. He drilled it,” Holenka said. “We had a lot of players do a lot of good things, especially in the second half.”
Shadyside finished with 280 yards rushing and 45 through the air.
East Hardy managed just 61 yards on the ground and added 168 passing.
Visnic, Reiman, Ryan Florence and Brown all did yeoman defensive work for the winners. Mason Vannest pilfered a Cougar pass. Visnic also gained 46 infantry yards on 10 attempts.
“This (100 wins) isn’t about me. It is about the players. To do this in 11 and half years means that I have coached a heck of a lot of very good football players with a very good staff to help me. This is a testament to all the good players of the past.”
Shadyside Schools Superintendent John Haswell presented Holenka a plaque at midfield following the game surrounded by players, coaches and well-wishers.
Shadyside faces another stern test Friday, traveling to Hannibal to tackle Mike Flannery’s 4-1 River Pilots in a regular-season finale for both teams.