WINTERSVILLE - Football is a game played in three phases. St. Clairsville dominated all three phases in its 48-6 victory Friday against Indian Creek at Kettlewell Stadium.
"I think we did what we had to tonight," St. Clairsville head coach Brett McLean said. "We ran the ball pretty good and we played good defense and on special teams.
"There were so many big plays on special teams early in the game that I can't keep them all clear in my head," he admitted. "But we work on them every single day in practice. We put a lot of time into them, and that's the benefit of it.
TOUGH NIGHT — Indian Creek quarterback Alex Young hands the ball off during the second quarter of Friday’s 48-6 home loss to St. Clairsville.
"Special teams is a huge phase of the game that can change the outcome."
Special teams became the first area where the Red Devils excelled.
Indian Creek forced a quick punt during St. Clairsville's first possession or so the Redskins thought. Dan Monteroso received the long snap as the punter, rolled to his right, and fired a pass to Luke Smith for an 18-yard gain and a Red Devils' first down.
St. Clairsville was able to string together a few pass connections before it was in the redzone. An eight-yard pass from senior quarterback Matt Kinnick to junior Michael Ferns placed the ball on Indian Creek's one-yard line. Tailback Jaylon Brown ran untouched behind his right guard and right tackle into the endzone. St. Clairsville led 7-0 after a Zach Musilli extra point conversion.
"We made some mental mistakes early in the game to really put us behind the 8-ball," Indian creek head coach Andrew Conner said. "Preparation for a football game falls on the head coach. I'm certainly not taking anything away from St. Clairsville. They're a good football team. But you can't aid a good football team. And we did early."
Brown's name would be called again shortly.
Indian Creek tried to respond to the Red Devils opening score. The Redskins were moving the ball initially via its ground attack, but penalties quickly stalled the drive.
The Redskins were set to punt. St. Clairsville obviously saw something it liked within Indian Creek's blocking scheme. Ferns came screaming through the center of Indian Creek's line. He was eventually blocked by the Redskin's up man, but Brown followed on Ferns' heels. Brown blocked the punt, quickly scooped the ball in one motion and rumbled 15 yards into endzone.
"You go over (special teams) in practice," Connor said. "I take the blame. Maybe it's one of those things where you have to get to your line on special teams. They got a block on us, and it was a big deal. They faked a punt on us. And that falls entirely on me."
Musilli's second extra point extended St. Clairsville lead 14-0 after less than seven minutes of play. The Red Devils never looked back.
The teams traded possessions with good defensive stops well into the second quarter, but St. Clairsville again took command of the football.
With 8:51 on the clock before halftime, St. Clairsville mounted its third scoring drive. A reception by Brown in the flats which turned into a 17-yard gain set the table. The Red Devils were on the three-yard line. Four plays later, including a pass caught by Titus Lepic on a deflected ball, Kinnick scampered away from Indian Creek's defense and squeezed past the goal line for a 21-0 lead after a Musilli kick.
Indian Creek responded with a quick three-and-out on offense.
St. Clairsville took the opportunity to add its lead. Eight plays and 75 yards were needed, but the Red Devils extended their lead to 28-0 courtesy of Browns second rushing touchdown of the evening.
The Red Devils took the lead into halftime. Their quick strike offense came into play during the second half.
St. Clairsville needed exactly four plays to score its next two touchdowns, before Indian Creek finally lit up the scoreboard.
"We had a tendency in our first three games to shoot ourselves in the foot," Connor stated. "We were then able to overcome that. The problem is, when you're playing somebody that is a quality program like St. Clairsville, you can't do that. You can't give teams second and third opportunities, because they come back to haunt you."
Running back Tran Huynh gave a strong effort during the second half for the Redskins. He ran the ball 15 times for 52 yards. An 11-yard sweep as the fourth quarter started resulted in Indian Creek's only touchdown of the night.
"I told the kids they have to deal with adversity," Connor said. "We had a bad outing. We were thumped. And a good football team has to make a decision. Are we going to come back this week and prepare for a very good Bellaire team, or are we going to mope? I told them that no one feels sorry for us.
"I feel we are better than the way we played. We learned a lesson tonight. We got to buckle up and be ready to play every time we step on the field. The Buckeye 8 is a tough conference. And it won't get any easier for us the rest of the season."
Indian Creeks (3-1) continues conference play this week as it travels to Bellaire Saturday to face the Big Reds.
St. Clairsville 48, Indian Creek 6
St. Clairsville 14 14 13 7 - 48
Indian Creek 0 0 0 6 - 6
StC: Brown 8 run (Musilli kick)
StC: Brown 15 punt block (Musilli kick)
StC: Kinnick 1 run (Musilli kick)
StC: Brown 1 run (Musilli kick)
StC: Ferns 1 run (kick blocked)
StC: D.Monteroso 25 run (Musilli)
IC: Huynh 11 run (kick missed)
StC: Gummer 1 run (Skukan kick)
RUSHING: St. Clairsville 31-73-6x (Brown 10-30-2x, D.Monteroso 1-25-1, Nemeti 1-24, Gummer 6-8-1, Ferns 3-2-1, Busby 2-(-5), Kinnick 8-(-11)-1); Indian Creek 43-123-1 (Huynh 16-53-1, Woods 10-51, Gribble 3-29, Roar 5-2, Puerro 1-1, Hinerman 2-0, Brandon 1-(-1), Young 4-(-5), Williams 1-(-7).
PASSING: St. Clairsville 10-18-134 (Kinnick 9-17-116, D.Monteroso 1-1-18); Indian Creek 4-16-50-0-2x (all by Young).
RECEIVING: St. Clairsville (Brown 3-57, Coleman 4-55, Smith 1-18, Ferns 1-8, Marhefka 1-7; Lepic 1-6); Indian Creek (Goodrich 1-23, Roar 1-12, Kamarec 1-11; Woods 1-4).
FIRST DOWNS: St. Clairsville 12; Indian Creek 11
PENALTIES: St. Clairsville 7-61; Indian Creek 7-48
TURNOVERS: St. Clairsville 2-0; Indian Creek 4-3