By Jordan Miller
The final score of the Carrollton vs. St. Clairsville game Friday at Community Field didn’t reflect the effort put into the game by the Warriors. On the scoreboard, the Red Devils beat the Warriors 30-20, but on the field, the Warriors won in several categories. Not only was it the season opener for both teams, it was a historic night for Carrollton football. When Taylor Keefer kicked an extra point, she became the first female to score a point in a football game at CHS.
The Warriors held an edge in first down, time of possession, passing yards and the number of plays. Adam Shaw passed for 225 yards on 12 completions and Drake Anderson put on a show with 6 receptions for 119 yds. Carrollton won the coin toss and deffered to the second half, providing St. Clairsville with their first shot at the endzone.
St. Clairsville’s Shane Peroni returned the opening kick off to the Red Devil 31-yard line where quarterback Zach Bigelow and the offense took over. A 34-yard pass to Brendan Ferns moved the Red Devils into Warrior territory at the 35-yard line. Bigelow used his feet to set up the Red Devils at the 2. Ferns rushed for a 2-yard touchdown a minute and 42 seconds into the first quarter. Matt Greenwood missed the point after attempt (PAT).
Carrollton’s Parker Crim returned the kickoff to the 50-yard line to set up the Warrior’s first possession. On the first play from scrimmage Shaw r
ushed 19 yards on a quarterback keeper to put the Warriors in Red Devil territory. Shaw, who played slot receiver last season, made the switch to quarterback to fill in for Zade Dietz, a 2015 graduate of CHS. Junior Brenton Miller rushed for a first down to set up the Warriors at the 7-yard line. Shaw rushed to the 1-yard line setting up a third and goal.
Jake Grubbs was injured on the play. It took several minutes for emergency personnel to attend to his injury and cart him off the field on a stretcher.
When play resumed Miller carried the ball across the goal line from 1-yard out to tie the game at 6 with 6:23 left in the first quarter. Keefer, a junior, kicked the extra point to put the Warriors up 7-6.
The Warrior defense forced a Red Devil punt on the next possession. Carrollton took over at their own 19-yard line. Shaw got in a rhythm with his receivers and connected with Drake Anderson on a 17-yard pass down field and later in the drive Kyle Bullard caught a pass for 34 yards and a first down at the Red Devil 29. Shaw hit six different receivers during the game. Miller followed his blocks to the left and carried the ball to the 15-yard line. On the first play of the second quarter, Shaw scored on a quarterback keeper from the 9-yard line. The ball was mishandled on the extra point attempt and the Warriors led 13-6.
During the next Red Devil possession, Miller forced Ferns to fumble and Anderson recovered the ball as his teammates jumped on top of him to protect him. The Warriors marched down the field to the Red Devil 7-yard line. An illegal motion call moved the ball back to the 12-yard line. A quarterback sack on fourth-and-six turned the ball over to the Red Devils at the 19-yard line.
The Warrior defense forced a Red Devil punt on the next possession. Carrollton drove the ball to the Red Devil 8-yard line before a false start penalty moved the ball back to the 13. Shaw was sacked for an 11 yard loss while looking for an open receiver on a third and 13 play. The Warriors failed to convert on the fourth down attempt.
St. Clairsville threatened late in the second period, but the defense held and forced a field goal attempt. Greenwood kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter. The Warriors led 13-9 at the half. The Warriors received the second half kickoff, but a three-and-out series gave the ball to the Red Devils. Six offensive plays later, Bigelow rushed for a touchdown from 16 yards out. Greenwood’s kick was good and the Warriors trailed 16-13. The Warriors answered with a 54-yard touchdown drive highlighted by a 42-yard catch by Anderson to set See FOOTBALL, B-2 up the Warriors at the Red Devil 3. Shaw scored from 3 yards out. The kick by Keefer was good. The Warriors regained the lead at 20-16 with 7:15 left in the third quarter.
Bigelow was injured during the next drive and replaced by Ferns who carried the ball himself on the next four plays, capping off the drive with a 3 yard touchdown run. The extra point was good and St. Clairsville led once again 23-20.
Shaw cramped up on the next drive and was replaced by Crim. Crim attempted to throw a screen pass to Jose Diaz, which was intercepted by St. Clairsville’s Greenwood and returned 10 yards for a touchdown. The kick was good and the Red Devils led 30-20, a score that held up to the end of the game. “We have to go back to the tape, watch our film and see the mistakes that we made because we left two touchdowns off the board,” said Carrollton Coach Eric McCort. “We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. We had so many mistakes but we are young. The mistakes we made are because we put kids in a position they haven’t been in yet and sometimes you have to be in those fires before you can handle those fires.” Talking about the injury to Grubbs, a junior tackle, McCort said, “We have guys who are wanting to seize their opportunity. Obviously you hurt for him but you better believe were going to move forward and we can handle those things.” McCort was pleased with the play of Shaw. “I am so proud of the way he handled himself and showed leadership,” he said of his junior quarterback who made his first start at the position in a varsity game. “I couldn’t ask for anything more out of these guys except to fix those mental mistakes.” Carrollton will be on the road Friday to take on the Edison Wildcats. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. Edison lost their opening game against the East Liverpool Potters.
TEAM STATISTICS: RUSHING: St. Clairsville – 40-210, Carrollton – 42-108. PASSING: St. Clairsville – 7-11-1 130, Carrollton – 13-25-2 235. FIRST DOWNS: St. Clairsville – 17, Carrollton – 19. TOTAL YARDS: St. Clairsville – 51-340, Carrollton – 67-343. PENALTIES: St. Clairsville – 7-60, Carrollton – 7-39. FUMBLES/LOST: St. Clairsville – 1-1, Carrollton – 0-0. DEFENSIVE SACKS: St. Clairsville – 5-33, Carrollton – 1-9. TIME OF POSSESSION: St. Clairsville – 22:10, Carrollton – 25:50.
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS: RUSHING: St. Clairsville – Brenden Ferns 15-72, Zach Bigelow 8-55, Nick Falbo 8-44, Shane Peroni 6-30, Jake Stewart 3-9. Carrollton – Brenton Miller 16-57, Adam Shaw 19-37, Chase Flanagan 5-12, Drake Anderson 1-2, Jacob Knipp 1-0. PASSING: St. Clairsville – Zach Bigelow 7-11-130, Carrollton – Adam Shaw 12-23-225, Parker Crim 1-2-10. RECEIVING: St. Clairsville – Brendan Ferns 3-101, Christian Witchey 3-17, Logan Williams 1-12. Carrollton – Drake Anderson 6-119, Kyle Bullard 2-68, Brody Robinson 2-28, Jacob Knipp 1-8, Brenton Miller 1-6, Cory Leonard 1-6. QUARTERBACK SACKS: St. Clairsville – Joey Maroon 2, Jake Stewart 1, Cole Skaggs 1, Matt Greenwood .5, Blake Peroni .5. Carrollton – Brenton Miller 1.