Beaver Local - September 22, 2017
Entering their annual battle with "the team up north", the East Liverpool Potters were tied in the series with 19 wins each, dating back to 1962 when Beaver Local won the initial contest. Make that 20-19 in favor of the Beavers, who devastated their guests, 43-12, on a hot muggy night before a packed house at Beaver Local's newly refurbished stadium before a sell-out crowd.
It was 81 degrees when the Beavers won the toss and chose to kick off to the Potters at 7:00 p.m. - a good decision as the Blue and White, starting on their own 32, went three-and-out, giving, their hosts the ball on their own 27 with 10:25 on the clock.
Enter the "Michael Clendenning show" as the 6'2", 230 lb. Beaver star was involved in each of the five plays that took his team into the end zone in a little over one minute. The show stopper for the Potters came at 8:58 when the versatile back took it to the house from the EL 39 and Drew Theiss converted to make it 7-0.
The Blue and White showed life, however, on their next series when Payton Adkins, filling in at QB for the injured Payton Reed, sprinted 61 yards on the third play from scrimmage, and it was 7-6 Beavers after the conversion kick failed.
At this point, it looked as if would become a back-and-forth affair as the Red and White scored on their second play to make it 14-6 following the Theiss conversion. The back breaker was 47-yard run by Torey Calio, his first of two TDs on the night.
Theiss would add to his point total with a 29-yard field goal at 4:08 in the first quarter to make it 17-6, as the momentum was moving quickly toward the Mike McKenzie coached team.
The next TD came with 9:40 remaining in the second quarter, capping off a six-play drive with a plunge from the six by Clendenning to make it 23-6. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
The final points of the first half for the Beavers came at the conclusion of a nine-play, 50-yard drive that saw QB Luke Call go the last eight yards; however, once again a two-point conversion effort failed, and the Beavers would take a 29-6 lead to the locker room.
Things didn't get any better for the Blue and White after the break, as Clendenning and Garret Givens, who scored from the three, shared the work load on a six-play, 67-yard drive that would invoke the mercy rule after the conversion kick by Theiss made it 35-6.
The Beavers would score only more time when Call found Damien Emmert from 29 yards out, and it was 43-6 following the Theiss conversion.
For the Potters, Derek Carter managed to make a sparkling 17-yard scoring run midway through the the final quarter, but it was too little, too late. A two-point conversion play failed, and it was 43-12, the final.
"With Payton Reed out the game due to a slight concussion suffered at Ravenna Southeast last week, we relied on Peyton Reed at quarterback who was able to open things up a bit with his arm and legs", said a discouraged Josh Ludwig.
"We tried to offset their blitz with some quick passes and were able to hit on some nice plays. Give credit to the Beavers. They have some really good players. I think Clendenning is the best back we will see all year. It is important for us to rally together and get back to work this week", Ludwig concluded.
The game marked the initial meeting of the two teams at Beaver Local's new stadium. The only facet of the former "Beaver Dome" remaining is the Mangano Sports Building and the grass turf, which was installed several years ago by the Weber family of the Beaver Meadow Golf Course.
The Mangano Building was built with assets from the estate of the late Frank Mangano, as was the all-weather track at ELHS.
Visiting fans are now seated on the east side of the playing surface, while the press and Beaver Local faithful are on the west.
The Beavers racked up 342 total yards, including 265 on the ground, mostly by Clendenning with 123 stripes and Colio with 64. Both players scored twice.