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McCrate Strong In Jets’ 3-0 Start to 2021

Junior RB ran for 210 yards and two TD’s last week

Photo by Joe Lovell Union Local’s Hayden McCrate, right, is off to a strong start to the season and so are the Jets, who visit Shenandoah this week.

MORRISTOWN — Union Local junior running back Hayden McCrate and the rest of the Jets have been preparing for takeoff for several years.

McCrate missed half of last season due to OHSAA transfer rules and he also dealt with a slew of injuries, while Union Local had just two wins in the past two seasons combined.

Now, the skies look to be clearing up. The Jets are flying high to start the campaign with a 3-0 record and are coming off a 41-18 victory at Harrison Central.

In that win, McCrate ran wild for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.

“It’s been a long ride and a long time coming,” McCrate said. “This is what we expect of ourselves and I’m so happy just to be playing and for our team to come together as brothers.”

While the speedster has certainly put in the work, he credits the success to outstanding blocking from his teammates.

“Coming out of track last year helped with my speed and agility and I’ve worked on my spin move and balance in the offseason but our line has opened up some big gaps and our wide receivers do a great job of blocking down field for me,” McCrate said. “I have to credit them.”

McCrate’s athleticism makes those around him better, as well, with the defense being forced to key in on him.

“Hayden makes our offensive line better, our quarterback Carter Blake better and our wide receivers better,” UL coach Bernie Thompson said.

“When he is clicking and doing his thing, it gives them the ability to get open. He is a tone setter, he’s extremely fast, he’s a weight room guy and he’s just a good kid.”

When McCrate joined the Jets, he also joined fellow junior Jaksan Price in the backfield. The two have become great friends but an injury to Price has forced him to watch from the sidelines. Nonetheless, they have still continued to support each other through thick and thin.

“We have our talks on the sideline,” McCrate said of Price. “There is a lot of communication with him during a game. He will tell me what he sees out there and I’ll tell him what I see and I love the relationship between us. I can’t wait until he is able to come back.

“When I first came to UL there wasn’t really any competition between us. We just wanted to see each other succeed.”

The camaraderie between the two hasn’t gone unnoticed by Thompson either.

“It kills me that Price isn’t out there,” Thompson said. “It was a great thing that we saw in camp. They both made each other better and they are best friends, too. They push each other. Even with Price out, he’s on the sidelines and shows up at practice. He has taken it upon himself to be more like a coach to help Hayden, as well.”

McCrate also tries to learn from another running back on Sundays.

“I’m a huge Cleveland fan and I love watching Nick Chubb,” McCrate said. “I love his running style. He’s a hard-nosed, downhill runner who can make yardage out of anything. I’m not much of a juker so I enjoy watching him play.”

Offensive Player of the Week

Gage Cline, Edison

The Wildcats’ QB threw for 206 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 120 yards and two more scores.

Defensive Player of the Week

Dakotah Hess, Union Local

Hess turned in 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2.5 TFL in a win over Harrison Central.

Ground Gainers

∫ Isaac Ball, Colson Wichterman, Cameron: Ball was rolling with 161 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries, while Wichterman raced for 40 yards and a trio of scores.

∫ Jacob Jordan, St. Clairsville: Jordan couldn’t stay out of the end zone as he ran for 55 yards and three touchdowns.

∫ Skyler Ebright, Trey Hoover, Buckeye Local: Panthers ran wild as Ebright charted 147 yards and a TD on 15 touches and Hoover racked up 118 yards and two scores on 22 carries in a victory.

∫ Spencer Ostovich, Savier Faulks, Steubenville: These two couldn’t be stopped as Ostovich garnered 116 yards and two TDs and Faulks accounted for 101 yards and a score.

∫ Corey Lyons, Weir: The Red Riders’ QB ran for 105 yards and a touchdown in the team’s first victory.

∫ Talan McClurg, Edison: On 19 carries, McClurg ran for 119 yards.

∫ Andrew Dorsey, Steubenville Catholic: On 24 attempts, Dorsey ran for 165 yards and a TD.

Aerial Attack

∫ Ben Wach, Shadyside: On just six completions, Wach fired for 148 yards and three touchdowns.

∫ Drew Sefsick, St. Clairsville: Sefsick was nearly perfect, going 8-for-11 for 142 yards and a TD.

∫ Aiden Mick, Toronto: Mick connected on 14 of 23 passes for 203 yards and a score.

∫ Phaeton Hill, Steubenville: The Big Red QB threw for 142 yards and two scores.

∫ Payton Hildebrand, Wheeling Central: The Knights’ signal caller threw for 178 yards and a touchdown.

∫ Carter Blake, Union Local: Blake threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns.

Mr. Everything

∫ Wyatt Reiman, Shadyside: The all-state back ran for 90 yards and racked up 95 yards receiving and three touchdown grabs in a win.

∫ Alex Taylor, Luca DiLorenzo, Linsly: Taylor ran for 100 yards and two scores, while also forcing a fumble and making five tackles on defense. DiLorenzo ran for 76 yards and two TDs and threw for 107 yards and another score.

∫ Garrett Hornick, Brooke: Hornick caught four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown and also recovered a fumble.

∫ Hayden Cassidy, Harrison Central: Cassidy fired for 137 yards and a TD and ran for 61 yards and another score.

Good Hands Team

∫ Colin Oberdick, St. Clairsville: The all-state receiver tallied 84 yards and a TD catch.

∫ Dom Bouscher, Shane Keenan, Toronto: Bouscher recorded seven grabs for 103 yards, while Keenan tallied two receptions for 83 yards and a TD.

∫ Brenton Jones, Steubenville: Jones needed just two grabs to collect 76 yards and a touchdown.

∫ Sam Coleman, Indian Creek: Coleman caught every pass completed by Creek quarterbacks as he turned in six grabs for 84 yards and a touchdown.

∫ Tyler Griffith, Edison: Griffith charted 90 yards and a touchdown in a win.

∫ Cam McAfee, Harrison Central: The Huskies’ wide out went for 87 yards on seven catches.

Wrecking Crew

∫ Jaiden Zebbs, St. Clairsville: In a strong effort, Zebbs made eight tackles and had two QB hurries.

∫ Cam Fanke, Indian Creek: Franke charted six stops, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

∫ Brodie Selmon, Stef Landwier, Linsly: Selmon made 11 stops and Landwier garnered nine tackles with an interception.

∫ Andrew Johnson, Ayden Baker, Wheeling Central: Johnson turned in 12 tackles and recovered a fumble, while Baker made nine stops and supplied two TFL.

∫ Ray’Shad Pettigrew, Bellaire: Pettigrew took an interception 50 yards for a touchdown.

∫ Preston Curry, Dylan Higgenbotham, Union Local: Curry had a solid night of 8.5 stops, one sack and 3.5 TFL and Higgenbotham added 8.5 tackles, .5 sacks and two TFL.

Big Boot

∫ Lucas Otto, St. Clairsville: Otto-matic. The St. C. kicker delivered on five extra points in a win.

∫ Mateo Dimitrioski, Linsly: The Cadets’ kicker knocked through five extra points in last week’s win.

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