Mauro, Warriors open with 27-21 win over St. Clairsville

By Carol McIntire
Editor

Chase Flanagan (32) keeps his eyes on JT Porter (22) as he cuts through a hole opened by his offensive line during second quarter action of the Carrolton vs. St. Clairsville game.

Carrollton handed Coach Phil Mauro his first win as a Warrior Friday in a football game that kept fans on the edge of their seats the final four minutes.

With the Warriors leading 27-21 late in the fourth quarter and St. Clairsville driving deep into Carrollton territory, Carrollton junior Trevor Boggess picked off a Dustin Carrothers pass in the end zone and ran it out to the four-yard line.

A couple first downs would run out the clock and secure the win for the Warriors, but it wasn’t that easy.

The Red Devils had just scored on a 78-yard kickoff return and recovered an onside kick that led to another score four plays later and brought them to within six points at 27-21 after the Warriors had built a comfortable 20-0 lead earlier in the game.

Carrollton recovered a second onside kick by St. Clairsville, but a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct call stalled the drive and forced the Warriors to punt.

St. Clairsville came out firing passes. After two incomplete passes from their own 42-yard line, junior Justin Heatherington juggled a pass and then pulled it in to set St. Clairsville up with a first down on the CHS 30-yard line.

With 4:20 left in the final quarter, a false start on the Red Devils moved the ball back to the 47-yard line. On the next two plays, the Warrior defense nearly picked off Carrothers’ passes before Boggess got his interception in the end zone to halt the drive.

With 3:31 left in the game, the Warriors lined up with their backs to the end zone.

On first down, senior running back Chase Flanagan ripped off 16 yards to the 20 and managed to stay in bounds to keep the clock running with just over three minutes left in the game.

Flanagan lost five yards on the next play and got two of them back on second down, setting up a third-and-eight on the 22. Flanagan, who was the workhorse in the backfield all night, put the nose of the ball on the 30-yard line on the next play to pick up the first down. Flanagan ended the night with 259 yards on 28 carries.

With 1:36 on the clock, sophomore quarterback Connor Clark gained a yard on a keeper. Flanagan picked up four on the next play but was tackled short of the first down marker on third down, setting up a fourth down play with 31 seconds remaining.

Coach Mauro ran the game clock down to six seconds, the difference between the game clock and 25-second clock and took a time out.

On the final play of the game Flanagan took the handoff from Clark and avoided tacklers until the final seconds ticked away to secure the victory.

The Warriors’ defensive play, including six turnovers, drew praise from Coach Mauro.

Coach Hill has done a tremendous job on defense,” Mauro said. “We have a lot of juniors on defense and they all stepped up and played well.”

He also had words of praise for Boggess, who was credited with three of the turnovers, and for senior defensive back Parker Crim. “Parker knocked a ball loose in the end zone that was big for us, as were Trevor’s three turnovers,” he said.

The game was scoreless until midway through the second quarter when Diaz scored on a run around the right side from 17 yards out. The touchdown was set up by a 16 yard run by Flanagan with 6:28 left in the first half. The kick by Rigo Viveros was good.

The Warriors added another score before halftime when Clark scored on a three-yard keeper. Viveros’ kick was good and the Warriors took a 14-0 lead into the locker room.

The Warriors added another score on their first possession of the second half. After the three-and-out and a punt for the Red Devils, the Warriors started on their own 20-yard line. On a third-and-15 play, Flanagan took the handoff and raced 84 yards down the left sideline to the endzone. Viveros’ kick was no good and the Warriors had a comfortable 20-0 lead at the 9:15 mark of the third period.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Justin Heatherington ran back Boggess’ punt 37 yards for a touchdown. The kick was good, and with only three ticks off the game clock, the Red Devils began their comeback.

The Warriors added the score that was the difference in the ballgame just over three minutes later. The Warriors drove deep into St. Clairsville territory on runs by Flanagan but a personal foul penalty moved the ball back to the 10-yard line. Three plays netted eight yards and Carrollton was faced with a fourth-and-goal. Mauro sent his field goal kicker onto the field and took a time out. Coming out of the time out, the offense returned to the field. Clark took the ball, dropped back and fired a touchdown pass to Crim.

When asked about his decision to go for the touchdown and not the field goal, Coach Mauro gave the credit to his defense.

“Our defense was playing great so if we didn’t score they would have to go 98 yards to get the touchdown,” he said. “Sometimes you have to roll the dice.”

Defensivley for the Warriors, Crim and Teagan Mohn each had an interception and Brandon Myers recovered a fumble. Crim and Bryce Carte each had eight tackles.

He also gave credit to Clark for his performance on the play.

“He’s a young quarterback,” he said. “He did a good job during his first game and did a great job when we decided to go for it on that fourth down play.”

Mauro termed the win a “great team victory.”

“We had some kids out with injuries so other players had to move to new positions. A lot of guys stepped up and helped the team get the win. It’s great to get a win week one, but we still have a lot of things to work on.”

Special teams is one area where works needs to be done.

“It was frustrating,” he said. “They ran a punt back and successfully executed an onside kick. We probably haven’t done enough work on coverage.”

The Warriors travel to Coventry for a non-league contest Sept. 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

JUNIOR VARSITY GAME

The Warriors fell 53-14 to St. Clairsville in the JV game played Saturday morning.

For the Warriors, rady Benner had a 17-yard touchdown run, Bricke Weiland blocked a punt in recovered in the endzone for a score and Rogo Viveros kicked both extra points.

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