<9> In this, the 35th renewal of the East Liverpool – Beaver Local football game, it was virtually two games in one with the Potters coming out on top 20-16, after scoring all their points before their hosts were able to find the end zone.
Zach English, who paced the Potter attack with 107 yards on 23 carries, set his team up for their initial score on their second possession with three runs that placed the ball in position for a two-yard plunge by John Miscuk from the two at 5:06. The conversion failed and it was 6-0. It looked as if Coach Jeremy McElroy’s crew would come back in the second quarter when his quarterback, Trevor McLaughlin, completed four passes, three to Tyler Stratton and one to Hayden Grafton, that got the Red and White inside the 20-yard line.
Enter Kaleb Tallent, who at this juncture picked up a McLaughlin fumble caused by an aggressive EL defense and romped 75-yards to pay dirt. English was called on by Coach Rick Prescott to make it 14-0 on a two-point conversion run.
The Blue and White made it, seemingly, a comfortable lead when they opened the third quarter with a 63-yard drive that was capped when Miscuk bulled his way in from two yards out for his second score of the game. Runs of 13 and 14 yards by English and a 23-yard scamper by QB Kade Reynolds set up the power house fullback’s score. After the conversion failed, it was 20-0; time to start the second part of what turned out to be an unofficial double-header that would bring the Beavers to within four points.
The first BL score came when Cory Riddle pulled in a McLaughlin pass from 15 yards out, and Justin McCoy connected on the conversion, leaving East Liverpool with a 20-7 lead. A big play in the drive was fullback Cody Martsolf's 23-yard run on fourth-and-two from the Potters' 42, which carried the ball to the Potter 19. Two plays later, McLaughlin and Riddle connected for the score.
Moving to the fourth quarter, Beaver Local took over on the Potter 42, following a punt. A 17-yard pass to Stratton was followed by workhorse Robert Johnston’s toting of the ball five consecutive times. His fifth carry took him into the end zone for Beaver Local's second score of the night. Once again McCoy connected on the point after kick, bringing the Beavers to within six, 20-14.
As the fourth quarter was winding down, it looked as though the Beavers would score again when they took over on the East Liverpool side of the field at the 45-yard line. From this point, Johnston carried the ball six consecutive times, getting as far as the Potter nine. Two more plays put the ball on the East Liverpool five, setting up a crucial fourth-and-one. The Potter defense then threw Johnston back for a four-yard loss, presumably securing the game.
However, it wasn't over yet, as the Potters were unable make a first down and were faced with having to punt from their own end zone. Prescott directed his punter, English, to run out of the end zone for the safety.
Following a free kick from their own 20, the Potters were able to stop the Beavers on downs, taking over for the final time with just 1:07 remaining.
"Our kids played hard and to the end," said East Liverpool head coach Rick Prescott. "We let them hang around and we made it too exciting.
"We were in poor field position much of the second half," Prescott concluded. “We wanted to force them make the long drive and force them to throw."
Kaleb Tallent’s 75-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown was the sixth longest in ELHS history. He joins the following elite list:
Tallent was not supposed to play because of a knee injury in last week’s contest at Oak Glen, but he showed up big time for this one.
This was the first time in a number of years that the game was played this late in the season; however, despite each team coming in with a losing record coupled, with exceptionally cold temperatures, the crowd was good.
The two teams, who actually share the same zip code, first met in week two on September 15, 1962 with Coach Jack O’Rourke and his visiting Beavers defeating an East Liverpool High School team, coached by Bob Hedmond, 16-12. The game was the season opener for the next three years prior to the series being dropped from 1966 to 1981 when it returned as the season finale for both teams through 1984.
Many of the fans from both sides ate prior to the game at a pasta dinner sponsored by the Beaver Local Volleyball team.