Running Attack Lifts St. C. Over Linsly
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — When a game comes together upwards of 34 hours before it’s scheduled to be played, there certainly isn’t a lot of time to prepare.
Basically teams and coaches go back to what’s worked well for them and simply see if the other team can stop it.
As it pertains to St. Clairsville, the ground game has been quite effective, so coach Brett McLean and company stuck with the script against Linsly.
The Red Devils went to that running attack early and often, accumulating 312 yards on 46 carries and scoring four touchdowns en route to an impressive 35-14 win against the Cadets.
“We didn’t have enough time (to prepare) to think that we could or couldn’t do one thing or another offensively,” St. Clairsville head coach Brett McLean said. “We put our schemes, based on what we thought would be successful from what we saw on the film and the kids did the work. I praised our kids for being able to do that on such short notice.”
The Red Devils had three different players — Jacob Jordan, Drew Sefsick and Logan Shields — rush for touchdowns. Jordan was the workhorse throughout.
He carried the ball 25 times for 214 yards and scored the game’s first touchdown on a 20-yard burst.
Shields carried just four times for 38, but he scored on half of those carries. He covered 11 and 9 yards, respectively. Sefsick added 52 yards on 14 carries and scored on a 4-yard tote.
“Our offensive line did a tremendous job, especially in terms of being ready to block different schemes,” McLean said. “That can be a tough thing cause you’re not as familiar with where they’re going to align or how they’ll shift and move. Our offensive line’s maturity helped.”
On the other side, the Cadets were able to hit some big plays and moved the ball against the Red Devils. Actually, Linsly finished with 324 yards, including 205 on the ground. However, Linsly turned the ball over twice and were called for 15 penalties, many of which were drive killers.
“We definitely didn’t play our best game in any way,” Linsly head coach B.J. Depew said. “We had lots of penalties that killed drives and flat-out mistakes, which killed our momentum. We made some big plays, but we had a tough time of stringing three positive plays in a row together.”
Meanwhile, the Red Devils finished drives. St. Clairsville shot out to a 21-0 lead before the Cadets, who had an 80-yard touchdown in the first half called back, got on the board.
“We couldn’t get out of our own way and at the same time, I thought St. Clairsville played well and really executed their offense well,” Depew said. “We had a hard time tackling the run, which is a problem. We need to get better in that regard.”
The Cadets cut into the Red Devils’ lead when Aidan Sanders scored from 2 yards out. The Linsly defense forced a punt on the ensuing possession, but the momentum was short lived. The Cadets proceed to go three-and-out themselves.
St. Clairsville slammed the door shut on any thoughts of a comeback when Sefsick scored on the first play of the fourth quarter. All five of the Red Devil touchdowns were followed by a PAT kick from senior Lucas Otto.
On top of his running, Sefsick completed 7 of 12 passes for 96 yards and he threw a 15-yard touchdown to senior tight end Austin Porter. Senior wide receiver Colin Oberdick, who had an interception in the fourth quarter, caught three passes for 48 yards.
The Red Devils — quite simply — were happy to be playing. The win was just icing on the cake.
“We’re scared to death constantly that something is going to shut us down or we’re going to lose a game, so to get a game (in such short notice) was huge,” McLean said. “To play a caliber of team like Linsly was big. We’ve been challenging ourselves with our schedule and I am just proud of these seniors for how they handled everything.”
The Red Devils, who are now 4-1, will be on their home field against next Friday, taking on Harrison Central for the ‘Coal Bucket.’
“We tell our kids we want to win one game at a time,” McLean said. “We’re at the mid-way point and we’ll reset the clock and get ready for the second half like it’s a new season.”
Linsly’s meat grinder of a schedule only gets more challenging. The Cadets trek to Steubenville on Friday.