Clippers blank Tigers
COLUMBIANA — After last week’s thriller against the Brookfield Warriors, a chance of a letdown could have been expected.
Though the Columbiana Clippers have had to be perfect with no letups after starting the season 1-3.
Plus, their starting center Tyler Zagotti was hurt last week which pushed Cody Miller into that position. This was a kid who was the lead blocker for Steven Anderson last year. It’s been a carousel of plugging players on the line in as three players have missed extended time.
“Honestly, it was a lot easier than guard,” Miller said. “I feel like it’s the easiest spot on the line. It’s all about angles. I loved it.”
Though, one would have never guess the way the Clippers offense rolled in the first half.
They took advantage of Wellsville being without standouts Darien Suggs and Justin Wright as they scored on their first five possessions to take a 34-0 lead and rolled to a 41-0 victory in Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference play Friday night at Firestone Park.
The play even caught coach Bob Spaite off guard.
“Surprised,” Spaite said. “Very much so. These kids worked very very hard. I’m very proud of this group. They did a tremendous job. I was really surprised. I didn’t expect that. I think that’s a little bit of a wounded team.”
Just about any play the Clippers (5-3, 3-1) ran in the first half was successful as they rolled up 116 yards on the ground and 198 through the air in the first half with 16 first downs.
“At one point we had 21 seniors,” Spaite said. “We’re down to 16 now. Those that stayed, just like Bo Schembechler used to say, I think they’re champions. That’s no reflection on anybody that decided they didn’t want to be a part of us. I get that. This group that stuck around has done a great job of leading. You have a tremendous group of kids that will do anything. They are very selfless.
“Everyone of these guys, even the guys who haven’t played. Cam Fortune is a great example. He hasn’t gotten to play a whole bunch this year. He is there every day. He saws wood every day. He does anything we ask. He makes us better. It’s really been an enjoyable group to coach.”
The Tigers (5-3, 2-2) were limited to 66 yards of total offense in the first half with 41 coming on a pass play from Troy Carter.
Brady Dixon got the Clippers going as his two-yard run finished off an eight-play, 65-yard drive to make it 7-0, 3:01 into the game.
After a three-and-out, Columbiana started at the Wellsville 49 and punched it in four plays later on Chase Franken’s 5-yard run to make it 13-0 after the extra point was no good with 5:19 left in the opening quarter.
After another three-and-out, the Clippers scored again on another 2-yard run from Dixon at the 11:21 mark of the second quarter.
Less than three minutes later, Franken scored again from 5 yards out to make 27-0 at the nine-minute mark of the second quarter.
Wellsville got their first first down of the game on their next possession but saw the drive implode on a couple of penalties.
The Clippers extended the lead out to 34-0 when Jakob Cross scored on a 2-yard run with 4:07 left in the half.
The Clippers welcomes back senior Steven DeBone who was hurt in week one and just now has come back as the Columbiana ran 36 plays in the first and 33 went for positive yardage.
“Coming back just gives you another rush,” DeBone said. “It’s a whole other kind. You’re just glad to be back. You give it your all like it’s your last. It’s just great to be out there with the people you’ve grown up with and playing with them for the last real ride we have.”
The last real ride concludes with games against Lisbon and East Palestine and then hopefully another opponent after that.
“We have to be the very best we can be by the end of week 10,” Spaite said. “If we’re fortunate enough to get into the playoffs, then we want to make sure we’re ready. Our goal is to be better than we are right now. The opponent is us. How good can we make ourselves? With the group of seniors we have, I think we’ll be just fine.”
C — Brady Dixon 2 run (Collin Schick kick), 8:59
C — Chase Franken 5 run (kick failed), 5:19
C — Dixon 2 run (Schick kick), 11:21
C — Franken 5 run (Schick kick), 9:00
C — Jakob Cross 2 run (Schick kick), 4:07
C — Xathon Cross 52 interception return (Schick kick), 1:40
First downs 7 16
Total Yards 144 320
Rushes-yards 32-103 35-122
Passing 41 198
Comp-Att-Int 3-10-1 10-11-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 7-65 2-15
RUSHING-Wellsville, Jason Tice 13-38, Connor Ramsey 5-29, Valen Krzyston 6-19; Columbiana, Jakob Cross 10-57, Joey Bable 5-20, Brady Dixon 5-19.
PASSING-Wellsville, Troy Carter 3-9-1-41, Valen Krzyston 0-1-0-0; Columbiana, Jakob Cross 10-11-198.
RECEIVING-Wellsville, Garrett Krzyston 1-41, Jason Tice 1-2, Valen Krzyston 1-0; Columbiana, Xathon Cross 4-72, Justin Rydarowicz 2-67, Hunter Zentner, 2-30.
INTERCEPTIONS-Wellsville 0 ; Columbiana 1 (X. Cross 1).
FUMBLE RECOVERIES-Wellsville 1; Columbiana 0.