<8> It was homecoming night at Patterson Field as East Liverpool and their opponents, Buckeye Local, entered the contest with matching 0-7 records; however, in the words of The Review’s Chuck Greenwood, “There was no lack of intensity as both the Panthers and the Potters battled until the very end.” Unfortunately, the visitors battled a little bit more, coming out on top 22-12 Friday night on this mid-October evening.
Buckeye Local’s Jared Moore tossed three touchdown passes in the second quarter as the Panthers took a 22-0 lead. Moore, initially, found Eric Banal on a seven-yard scoring toss with 8:24 remaining in the quarter. Beall then ran for a two- point conversion, giving his team an 8-0 lead.
Three plays after an interception by Buckeye’s Tyler Miller at the Potters’ 30, Moore teamed up with tight end Logan Denhart on a 19-yard scoring play. Another successful Beall conversion run boosted the Panthers’ lead to 16-0.
The Potters were moving the ball on their next possession before they were flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. That turned a possible third-and-short into a third-and-19. After a pickup of three yards, the Potters were forced to punt.
With Beall carrying the ball on five of the next seven plays, the Panthers marched steadily down to the Potter 18-yard line. Once again, Moore rolled to his right, this time hitting Brandon Panecuppi, who made a diving catch in the back of the end zone. The Potters stuffed Beall on the conversion run, leaving Buckeye with a 22-0 lead with just 46 seconds remaining in the first half.
Taking over on their own 35, the Blue and White quickly marched to the Buckeye 43. With 20 seconds showing on the clock, Austin Mayfield took the snap and was flushed from the pocket. The sophomore moved around, buying time for his receivers to get deep into their patterns. Finally, Mayfield spiraled a bomb down the field, where Kade Reynolds leaped up and caught it in the end zone for the score. Trailing 22- 6, EL opted to go for two, but came up short on the conversion run.
Behind the running of Reynolds and Austyn Dozier, the Potters made it as far the Buckeye 15-yard stripe before being stopped on fourth down on the opening series of the third quarter. The rest of the quarter was a battle of field position as both teams’ defenses stepped to the forefront.
Finally. The troops of Coach Josh Ludwig’s went on a nine-play effort to open the fourth quarter, reaching the end zone when Reynolds pulled in a 20-yard strike from Mayfield with 7:48 remaining in the contest. The two- point conversion run failed, making the final 22-12 in favor of Coach Joe Pest and his down-river team.
“We had some trouble getting enough protection for our quarterback to have time to throw the ball,” said East Liverpool head coach Josh Ludwig. “We weren’t always getting the ball to the right guys. When we got it to Kade, he made things happen.
“Buckeye always seemed to get positive yards,” said Ludwig. “They played with a lot of heart and passion.
“Give all the credit to Buckeye Local,” concluded Ludwig. “They executed better than we did.”
Damion Beall led all rushers with 177 yards gained on 26 carries. Beall had positive yardage on every carry except for his final one, when the Panthers were running out the clock.
East Liverpool’s offensive attack was led by Kade Reynolds who churned out 102 yards rushing on 19 carries. He also pulled in six passes for 116 yards giving the versatile senior a total of 218 yards of offense, not counting kickoff and punt returns.
Mya Messenger was crowned homecoming queen during halftime ceremonies.
The Potters will host Beaver Local in the 36th renewal of their backyard rivalry next week. The Beavers will come in at 5-3.
Chuck Greenwood contributed to this article