49, Weir 33
Frank C. "Digger" Dawson
<10>For those who like to recall such things, the 2013 East Liverpool was a never-say-die contest with each team battling it out to the very end. There were 952 combined yards racked up by the two teams in that one with the Potters coming out on top 49-33.
The 2014 game was replete with the same intensity and hard hitting as last year, but, unfortunately for the Potters the result was not as favorable with the Red Riders winning 40-19 on the last day of October – Halloween, 2014 no less.
For Coach Tony Filberto and his visiting crew, it didn’t take long to light up the score board after Kameron Davis took the opening kickoff back to his own 34. From that point, the Riders needed only four plays to find the end zone with senior quarterback William Larch doing the honors from the five-yard line, a little more than one minute into the game. Mike Ceralo’s conversion kick made it 7-0.
The savvy Filberto then called for an onside kick, which his team snagged on the East Liverpool 46, but the Potter rejected the Red and Black in four plays and it was punt time with Kade Reynolds hauling in the kick on his own 14. Four plays later, after picking up minimal yardage, Austin Mayfield returned the favor by punting to Weirton’s 40, a 45-yard beauty. He would later kick a 52-yarder at 10:34 in the second quarter, the fifth longest in the school history.
Advancing mainly on the arm and legs of Larch, who carried on five and passed twice on the ensuing drive, the Riders made it 14-0 following Ceralo’s kick with 6:18 left to play in the initial quarter. A little more than four minutes later they would hit pay dirt once again at the end of a seven-play 63-yard effort, mostly through the air with Zahir Hicks plunging the final yard to make it 20-0. A two point conversionattempt failed.
Weirton went to the well once too often on their next kickoff with Kade Reynolds taking the ball back to the EL 42. The versatile senior back would then carry the ball to the 17 with his cousin, Dillon Reynolds, taking it the rest of the way to make it 20-6. The conversion attempt failed.
The teams then jockeyed back-and-forth until 2:36 remained in the second quarter when
Kameron Davis found the end zone from 18 yards out, and it was 26-6 following Ceralo’s conversion kick.
However, the scoring wasn’t over with 49 seconds remaining before the intermission, Marcello Magnone hauled in a 12-yard pass from Larch, and it was 32-6 following Ceralo’s conversion boot.
The Riders would score only one additional TD in the second half on a three-yard plunge by Larch who then found Jonathan Rice for a two-point conversion bringing his team’s total to 40.
Coach Josh Ludwig and his crew were able to put an additional pair of touchdowns on the board, the first coming following a Ryan Bombich mid-field interception with 9:47 remaining in the third quarter. Kade Reynolds then found Dillon Reynolds who took the ball down to the five from where Austyn Dozier took it to the house. A two-point conversion attempt failed at it 32-12.
The final Potter points of the night came onan Austin Mayfield 67-yard run, followed by RyanLilly’s conversion kick to give the Blue and White their highest offensive point total of the year at 19.
East Liverpool coach Josh Ludwig said that even though his team was winless, he felt somewhat surprised by Weir and the intensity with which they played.
“I was really proud of our kids,” Ludwig said. “Theyplayed with a lot of emotion,and left it all on the field.”
After nine weeks of nice weather, this game was played in a cold, wet rain with temperatures in the 40s, but it was not bad enough to discourage the players and the marching band, who performed their halftime show dressed in full Halloween costumes.
Weirton led in first downs 19 to 6, and held a 427 to 232 edge in total yards. William Larch rushed 19 times for 117 Weirton stripes while Kameron Davis covered 125 yards in 12 carries. Kade Reynolds, who will likely end his ELHS career as the fifth all-time total offense leader, rushed for 37 stripes and caught four passes good for another 72 yards.
Ryan Bombich with two interceptions ended up the season as the team leader with five picks on the year.
Austin Mayfield’s 52-yard at 10:34 in the second quarter ties him with Kevin Smith for the fifth longest in the school history. Fred Mountford with an 85-yarder in 1904 against Wellsville is still tops.
||Fred Mountford vs. Wellsville
||Bill Booth vs. Cleve Holy Name
||Eddie Oliver vs. Steub Big Red
||Lou Ward (jr.) vs. Salem
||Kevin Smith vs. West Branch
||Jimmy Wood vs. Poland
||Cody Anderson vs. Wheeling Park
||Austin Mayfield vs. Weirton