Wildcats ground Jets

RICHMOND – Thanks to a solid all-around performance, the Edison football team managed to get back over the .500 mark for the season with a victory of Union Local.

The Jets led 3-0 less than three minutes into the game, but the Wildcats scored touchdowns in each of the first three quarters en route to a 20-9 victory Friday night at Cartwright Memorial Field on Homecoming.

“We played pretty well,” first-year Edison (3-2) head coach Derrick Stickles said. “We have to cut down on our mistakes. We had some penalties. We need to cut down on our penalties. We need to continue to work on the small things week to week.”

First-year Union Local (3-2) head coach Bruce Stiles said his team struggled to find a rhythm on offense.

“The game didn’t go well for us. We lost,” he said. “Edison played well. Offensively, they did a nice job of spreading us out on defense. They made us do things we didn’t want to do.

“Offensively, we never found a rhythm. It was not a great showing for us offensively. Edison had a lot to do with that, but so did we. We did not execute the way we can.

“They spread us out, and they made us cover the whole field. That is tough to do.”

Edison standout quarterback Nolan Marcus completed 18 of 24 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns.

Marcus is a dual-threat quarterback, but the Jets did a good job of shutting Marcus down on the ground. He was held to 5 yards on 15 carries. He was sacked a few times, and he took four knees. He knelt down once at the end of the first half, and three times at the end of the game to run out the clock.

Defensively, Marcus intercepted two passes.

On special teams, he kicked two extra points, and he punted four times for a 34.8 yard average.

Junior running back Ethan Shannon ran nine times for 91 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Shannon also caught two passes for 41 yards.

Richie Springer led the Wildcats’ receivers with six catches for 54 yards. Devan Tennant tallied two catches for 63 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Carter Andreozzi snagged three passes for 22 yards and a 4-yard touchdown in the second stanza.

Union Local used two quarterbacks in the game. Freshman Shane Smolenak started the game, and he was replaced by senior Travis James after the first drive of the game.

James completed 10-of-24 passes for 134 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. James also rushed for 44 yards on eight carries.

“We started our freshman,” Stiles said. “Our senior was cleared Thursday. We wanted to hold him out for a little bit. We wanted to make sure he was OK. I don’t want to risk a kid who is injured. We put him in there. We kept an eye on him. We wanted to see how he was doing. He seemed to be doing well. That is always a good sign. Our freshman did a nice job when he was in there. He just needs to get some more experience.”

Jake Leishman led the way on the ground for the Jets with 67 yards on 16 carries.

Ware led the team with six receptions for 63 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

“It was nice to come back with a win after a tough loss to Bellaire last week,” Stickles said. “Bellaire played a really good game. It was nice to come back and get a victory over Union Local.

“We faced a lot of adversity this week. It was a short week. It was homecoming. We had to cut a couple practices short because of it being homecoming. I think the kids did well. They handled all of the festivities well.”

The Jets caught the Wildcats a little off-guard at the start of the game. Union Local began the game with an onside kick, and the Jets were able to recover the ball at the Edison 49 after the ball bounced off one of the Wildcat players.

“That was planned,” Stiles said. “It was something we saw on film. We were able to take advantage of it. We will take whatever we can get. It worked for us this week.”

Smolenak drove the Jets down the field. Union Local was able to reach the Edison 15, but on third down Smolenak was sacked.

The Jets were able to get something out of the drive as Eric Dunfee booted a 38-yard field goal to put the visitors from Belmont County out in front, 3-0, with 9:21 left to play in the first quarter.

“Our defense played really well,” Stickles said. “We ran to the ball. We missed some tackles. We need to do a better job of tackling. Our kids were disciplined. We just need to work on our tackling.”

After being forced to punt on its first possession of the game, Edison ended up taking the lead on the Wildcats’ second possession of the night.

After a touchback on a Union Local punt, the hosts took over at their own 20 yard line. The Wildcats drove 80 yards on seven plays, and the drive was capped by a 56-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Tennant on a pass from Marcus. Marcus converted the extra point, and the Wildcats led 7-3 with 37 seconds left to play in the first.

The Wildcats added to their lead in the second stanza.

Marcus hooked up with Andreozzi from 4-yards out to cap a 79-yard scoring march. Marcus missed the PAT, but the Wildcats still led 13-3 with 4:41 left to play in the first half.

In the third quarter, the Jets drove 61 yards for their only touchdown of the game. The drive was capped off by a 22-yard catch-and-run from James to Ware. The extra point was no good, and Edison led 13-9 with 3:40 left to play in the frame.

The drive was keyed by a 37-yard catch-and-run by Leishman on a shovel pass from James.

The Wildcats countered the touchdown with one of their own.

Edison drove 53 yards for its third touchdown. This one came on a 9-yard by Shannon. Marcus made the PAT, and the boys from Jefferson County led, 20-9, with 1:08 left in the quarter.

Both teams play at home next week in Buckeye 8 action. Edison plays Buckeye Local, while Union Local faces off against Martins Ferry.

“We are going to come in tomorrow and correct our mistakes,” Stickles said. “We are going to watch some film and get ready for Buckeye Local. We are going to get our game plan together for next week.”

Stiles said he knows the Purple Riders will provide a stiff test for his team.

“It is never easy in the Buckeye 8,” he said. “Every week is a challenge in the Buckeye 8.”

Edison three-sport standout Katelyn Pollock was crowned the 2013 Homecoming Queen at halftime.

“It is nice to win on homecoming,” Stickles said. “Winning on homecoming always makes Saturday night sweeter. It makes it more special. It makes it more fun. It is nice to win on homecoming, but you always want to win no matter what week it is.”