Martins Ferry - October 2, 2015

Martins Ferry has been playing football for 108 years, winning 684 games, 155 more than the Potters. Make it 156 more than  EL  as the  Purple Riders dropped the Blue  and White to 1-5 on this chilly night in the down river city. It was a rough outing.

Led by the pinpoint passing of quarterback James Edwards and the all-around play of  Arjay Burress, along with that of running of  Andrew  Hython, who gained 210 yards rushing on the night,  Coach Dave  Bruney and his crew scored 42 points to East Liverpool’s seven in a renewal of one of the Upper Ohio Valley’s oldest rivalries.

Fans had hardly settled into their seats in the first quarter when The Purple took over on their own 46-yard line, following an out-of-bounds EL punt a minute and 30 seconds into the game. Paced by the running of Hython, who carried all five times for 54 yards on the drive, it was 7-0 after Matt Barbour's conversion kick at the 8:17 mark.

After the  ensuing kickoff, Coach Josh Ludwig stuck to the ground in  what would turn out to be his team’s longest drive  of the evening, a nine-play effort  that, regrettably, got EL no closer than their hosts' 40, where they turned the ball over at 3:20 in the first period.

It didn't take long for the Riders to take advantage of their field position as Edwards immediately found Burress for a 60-yard strike that put the Riders up 13-0. The conversion attempt failed.
Ferry would score three times in the second quarter on their way to placing the “mercy rule” into effect for the second half. Their initial TD came with 11:54 on the clock when Burress found the end zone from eight yards out, howeve,r the conversion kick failed once again and it was 19-0.

It was then a three-and-out series for the Blue and White with Austin Mayfield punting to the Riders who took over on their own 31 with 9:36 remaining before the intermission. Less than one minute later, Hython sprinted 56 yards to make it 25-0. Zac Selby then hauled in a Edwards pass for a two-point conversion to run the home team’s total up to 27.

Yet another East Liverpool punt, after gaining only two yards on three plays, set the Riders up on their own 35, and seven plays later it was 34-0. The nail in the coffin was a 25-yard pass from Edwards to Burress followed by a Barbour conversion kick.

Each team would score only once in the second half, while playing with a continuously running clock enforced under Ohio High School rules when there is a 30 point margin.
For the home team, their final TD came early in the fourth quarter at the end of a nine- play-69-yard drive, featuring the running of Burress and Hython, who scored from 13 yards out with 7:04 on the clock. A two-point conversion pass from Edwards to Jack Davis made it 42-0.

The Potters got on the board with a little over a minute left to play when Austyn Dozier scored from the ten and Dylan Kidder split the uprights to end all scoring.


“I think we are a better team than we showed tonight, but we knew Martins Ferry was a quality team – much better than 1-4,” said Josh Ludwig speaking to veteran Ogden Newspapers’ sports writer Bubba Kapral on the sidelines following the contest.
“They have a lot of weapons and their offensive line was dominating. Ferry is coached by a legend in Dave Bruney. He is one of the best of all-time, and we had several players out with injuries.”


The Martins Ferry facility has shown vast improvements over the years. The original WPA bleachers on the north side have been replaced with an aluminum structure complete with hand rails and a separate press box for the visiting team. The familiar covered bleachers on the home side continue to be a great place to view a game.

This marked the 35th year for Dave Bruney to coach the Purple Riders. The entire sports complex is named for him, a well-deserved honor.

There was an in-service day for the EL school system, meaning no school, so the team was fed a hearty breakfast at the Moose Club through the generosity of an anonymous donor, who also picked up the tab for pizza following game.

It was a difficult week for Kim Appolloni, the Martin Ferry athletic director, whose husband, “{Nook”, died a few days prior to the game. Kim’s sister, Janie, and her husband, Don Reese, were at the contest. Don, who played for Martins Ferry under Coach Bob Bruney in the late 70s, is now the Chief Operating Officer for the Gurly Leep Automotive Group in the South Bend, Indiana, area. He was quick to remind that his position coach as a quarterback for the Purple Riders was none other than Dave Bruney.