Buckeye Local - October 12, 2018
What do you get when your star fullback is carried off the field on the eleventh play of the game, and your quarterback’s most successful pair of completions travel less than three feet each?
To top it off, the marching band had to play in the dark after the game because homecoming ceremonies precluded their normal half-time show…about the same time it started to rain.
The answer may surprise even the keenest follower of ELHS football: a 48-16 defeat of the visiting Buckeye Local Panthers; 415 yards of total offense; the breaking of the school’s oldest passing records – originally established in 1922 by one of the most respected names in East Liverpool history – and a highly successful homecoming event that almost got wiped out by rain.
Here’s how it unfolded:
Winning the opening toss, Josh Ludwig and his crew elected to receive, but to no avail, going three and out, punting out of bounds to the Buckeye 25. Seven plays later, second-year Buckeye coach, Roger Herbert, directed his team to return the favor-setting the locals up at mid-field.
Fate wasn’t with the Blue and White on their first play, when their star fullback, Jalin Moman, sustained a recurring knee injury on the Panther 27. Filling in for Momen, Cory Weyand picked up two, followed by a shuttle pass from QB Peyton Reed to Derek Carter who traveled 25 yards to make 6-0. The extra point was missed.
Reed and Carter would team up on a similar call on the fourth play of the second quarter – this time it was for 71 yards, which was preceded by a 43-yard TD pitch from Reed to Timmy Neal at the 2:25 mark in the first. Both times, Dominik Vallera’s conversion was true, and the Blue and White led 20-0.
The Reed-to-Neal combo reared its head once again with 6:59 remaining before the break with a 16-yard connection and a Vallera conversion which made it 27-0.
More importantly, it placed Reed in a category no other Potter had ever achieved – four TDs passes in a game. Nine other players shared the record of three touchdown passes in one game, originally set by Chuck McConville in 1922.
Cory Weyand, who played an outstanding game filling in for Moman, helped pour on the heat with a 49-yard sprint to the house at 4:49 before the Silver and Black scored on a Shayne Christian reception from Seth Richardson. The play measured 57 yards augmented by a two-point conversion pass from Richardson to Jack Reese, and it was 34-8.
With time running out in the first half, Reed scored on a seven-yard run and Vallera kicked his fifth extra point to make it 41-8, as Homecoming ceremonies began.
Weyand scored on the Potters’ first possession of the second half, capping off a six-play drive with a one-yard plunge. Vallera made it 48-8, and the officials gave the order to run the clock non-stop.
The only other Panther score came on a Richardson to Gino Barber 21-yarder followed by a two-point conversion run by Charles Smith to make the final 48-16.
“I learned a lot from Larry Kehres at Mt. Union, and he taught me how to crank up practices to keep the players’ focus sharp,” said Coach Josh Ludwig, following the game. So we went extra hard this week. We focused all week on making ourselves better and eliminating a lot of the mistakes we made at Edison.
“We have the ultimate goal to continue to win and possibly play in Week Eleven,” Ludwig concluded.
Darshay Foster was crowned homecoming queen in a random drawing from a court of eight.
Vallera’s six extra points puts him in an elite category with Eddie Oliver, Bernie Allen, Brian Miller, John Twyford, Jimmy Wood and Justin Barr. Miller and Barr each have seven while Jared Zirillo and Dylan Kidder have nine each.
When Peyton Reed completed his fourth TD pass, he broke one of the oldest records in the books, dating back to Charles McConville who had three vs. Lisbon in 1922. McConville, a member of one of the elite families in ELHS sports history, was joined on the list by: Kenny Cunningham, 1960 vs. Struthers; Mike McVay, 1967 vs. Cleveland St. Joe; Dan Cunningham, 1968 (3) vs. Cleveland West, Boardman and Alliance; Pat Burson, 1988 vs. Salem; Kevin Smith, 1989 vs. Niles; Anthony Coles, 1996 vs. Southern Maryland; Sean Yanni, 2000 vs. Buckeye Local and Austin Mayfield, 2016 (2) vs. Ravenna SE and Beaver Local.
Noah Wheaton, with five pass interceptions on the season is creeping up on the leaders: Mike Potts with seven in 1989 is tops with Gene Bell, Jr., Pat McNicol, Don Williams, Jeff Wright (twice) and Steve Mayo deadlocked at six. Wright, currently an EL assistant, is far and away the career leader with fifteen, followed by former head coach Pat McNicol with nine total picks.