ZANESVILLE – St. Clairsville used a swarming defense and a clock controlling offensive scheme to hold Licking Heights explosive offense to two touchdowns as the Red Devils won Saturday’s Division IV Region 15 game at Zanesville’s Sulsberger Stadium by a convincing 33-17 margin.
The Hornets entered the game averaing 33 points and had been held under 27 only twice all season.
Early on it looked like more of the same for Licking Heights, which took the opening kick and drove from its own 37 to the one inch line. From there though, the Red Devils defense made a stand and held the Hornets out.
The LH defense made St. Clairsville pay on the ensuing series, tackling running back Kurtis Cullen in the endzone for a safety. Cullen redeemed himself on the next Devils drive breaking through the line on third-and-short and taking it down the right sideline for the score. The PAT was good and the number one seeded Saints had the lead, 7-2 with 2:54 remaining in the first frame.
Licking Heights took back the lead on a 2-yard run from Roy Bias midway through the second quarter 9-7 but the St. Clairsville offense had found their groove. John Earliwine took a screen pass and rambled 51-yards to the Hornet 11. The 5-foot-7, 200 pound senior punched it in from the 1 to put the Red Devils up for good, 13-9.
St. Clairsville football coach Brett McLean’s offense played keep away taking the ball out of the hands of the Licking Heights with three clock munching methodical marches. St. Clairsville began the second half march with a 78-yard drive capped off by an 8-yard run from Cullen.
The Hornets pulled to 20-17 on a Bias 14-yard run with 1:48 left in the third, but the Hornets would get only two more touches of the pigskin until the final two minutes.
The Red Devils next drive covered 65 yards. St. C’s quarterback Anthony Vincent found Ryan Jarvie from 12 yards out on play 16 to put the Saints up 27-17 with 6:19 left.
Heights quarterback Shawn Smith threw his second interception of the game on second down of the next drive and the Red Devils went back to the business of burning time.
Cullen, who finished with 108 yards on 26 carries, combined with Earliwine to grind up real estate. Earliwine tallied one more from 19 yards out to put the game away with 2:13 remaining.
Bias led Heights with 134 rushing yards on 18 carries as the Hornets outdistanced the Red Devils 323 yards to 298 but comitted four turnovers.