EAST LIVERPOOL - Friday the 13th was not an unlucky day for the homestanding East Liverpool Potters as they rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit to post a thrilling 20-14 win over the Salem Quakers last night at Patterson Field.
The win improves East Liverpool's record to 1-2 while Salem drops to 2-1 on the campaign.
East Liverpool captured the win when John Miscuk banged his way in from the 1-yard line with 4:12 remaining in the game.
The big plays on the 60-yard scoring drive were a 13-yard catch by D.J. Austin, 13-yard keeper by Kade Reynolds and a 23-yard pass reception by Jacob Kutzner.
It seemed as though East Liverpool opened the second half with a renewed purpose and vigor, despite being down 14 points.
"Our offensive line really stepped it up in the second half," said Potter head coach Rick Prescott. "We had talked all week about leading by example and guys protecting each others' backs. I am so proud of our guys."
The Potters opened the third quarter with a 14-play drive, encompassing 70 yards. Zach English was a workhorse on the march, toting the ball eight times for 50 yards, including the final four for the touchdown. East Liverpool stayed on the ground for 13 of the 14 snaps. The extra point attempt was wide, leaving the Potters trailing by a 14-6 count.
"I just wanted to help our team get out of the hole," said English in describing his play in the third quarter. "I kept thinking that we had to keep getting a yard here and a yard there."
English finished the night with 82 yards rushing and two catches for 26 yards.
"We had opportunities to make plays in the second half, but we didn't," said Salem head coach Ron Johnson. "We didn't make the plays when it was important to do so."
East Liverpool inched even closer when D.J. Austin scored by racing down the left sideline behind some solid blocking on a 60-yard punt return. The subsequent try-for-two failed, leaving Salem with a 14-12 lead at the 9:58 juncture of the fourth quarter.
"D.J. did a great job of getting to the sideline and picking up his blockers," said Prescott. "We had tried to put some pressure on the punter and I think that made more of their blockers stay in to help."
The Quakers opened the scoring when Blake Hochadel snagged a Trace Jenkins' pass from 13 yards out with 10:47 showing on the second quarter clock. Jenkins completed two of three aerials on the nine-play drive that covered 57 yards. Caleb Quinn connected on the first of two successful conversion kicks for a 7-0 Salem lead.
"I am very disgusted with our performance in the second half," said Johnson. "I am not disgusted with our team, just our performance."
With just 6.6 seconds remaining in the first half, the Quakers called a timeout and then lined up for an apparent field goal attempt by Quinn. As soon as the ball was snapped, holder Matt Weingart leaped to his feet and found Max Wolfgang in the end zone for the score. Quinn's extra point attempt bounced off the crossbar and through for a 14-0 halftime lead for the Quakers.
The big play in the nine-play drive was a 32-yard run by Haedan Panezott. A 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty was tacked on to the play for tackling the Salem runner after he was out of bounds.
"Haedan is a real football player," said Johnson of Panezott who led all rushers with 129 yards on 22 carries."
The visitors compiled 186 yards in total offense (127 rushing, 59 passing) in the first half. The hosts notched 91 yards in first-half total offense (54 rushing, 37 passing).
Salem finished the night with 221 yards in total offense, while East Liverpool finished with 262 yards in total offense. The Potters picked up 12 first downs in the second half after accumulating just five in the first half.
The Quakers will open Northeastern Buckeye Conference play on Friday at Louisville. The Potters will host Cambridge on the same night.
Former Salem and Ohio State coach Earle Bruce was in attendance last night. Bruce coached the Quakers from 1956-59, compiling 28-9 ledger. Bruce was 3-1 versus East Liverpool, losing in 1956, but winning the next three years. He was 86-26-1 at Ohio State from 1979-87.
Bruce departed the Potter game to watch a horse he co-owns compete in Mountaineer's eighth race on Friday. My Friend West, a 15-1 longshot, finished fifth in the six-horse field of that race. Viewtown took the win with Northern Bridge second and Santelli third.
The Potter jayvees will play at Martins Ferry at 10 a.m. today. The Quaker jayvees will play at West Branch.
This was the 87th game in this rivalry, dating back to 1911. Salem won that first game 22-5. This was when touchdowns were only worth five points. ELHS picked up their first win the following year 12-6. The all-times series record stands at 45-40-2.
EAST LIVERPOOL: 0-0-6-14-20
S- Blake Hochadel 13 pass from Trace Jenkins (Caleb Quinn kick)
S- Max Wolfgang 4 pass from Matt Weingart (Quinn kick)
EL- Zach English 4 run (kick failed)
EL- D.J. Austin 60 punt return (pass failed)
EL- John Miscuk 1 run (Austyn Dozier pass from Kade Reynolds)
Total Yards 221262
RUSHING-SALEM Trace Jenkins 15-1, Haedan Panezott 22-129, Marcus Crittenden 4-31, Dan Rumsey 1-6, EAST LIVERPOOL Kade Reynolds 10-16, Zach English 22-82, John Miscuk 2-4, Kaleb Tallent 8-32
PASSING-SALEM Trace Jenkins 6-13-50-0, Matt Weingart 1-1-4-0, EAST LIVERPOOL Kade Reynolds13-15-138-0.
RECEIVING-SALEM Max Wolfgang 2-13, Blake Hochadel 2-19, Haeden Panezott 1-(-5), Dan Rumsey 1-15, Mike Popa 1-12, EAST LIVERPOOL John Miscuk , Zach English 2-26, D.J. Austin 3-40, Jason Kutzner 1-23, Kaleb Tallent 2-6, Austyn Dozier 2-14, Marcus Beebout 3-30