Martins Ferry - September 29, 2017
Just when the 2017 East Liverpool football team looked as if they were turning the corner, the Martins Ferry Purple Riders hung a loss on them that served as a bitter pill in week six of the season.
Initially, Coach Josh Ludwig and his team made the game interesting for their hosts when they scored on a Jaylen Moman four-yard plunge at 7:57 in the first quarter. Unfortunately, the conversion was missed and the Blue and White trailed 6-7 by virtue of an early first quarter Ferry TD and extra point kick.
Coach Dave Bruney and his team had set the tone by taking the opening kickoff to their 32, and only four plays later, at 10:25, they were in the end zone when Dalton Hoover essayed the final 18 stripes. Cody Olson made his first of seven extra points, and it was 7-0.
The Potters went ahead at the 2:22 mark in the initial quarter when Peyton Reed found Jalen Moman from five yards out and it was 12-7 Potters. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Hope sprang eternal for the Blue and White, but the optimism was quickly dashed when the Purple scored three unanswered TDs in the second quarter. The first came as the result of a 36-yard Jacob Probst pass to Dasyn Hores on the 33rd play of the game. Two plays later, senior defensive back, Cory Bennett, intercepted an EL pass and scampered to the house with 4:59 on the clock. Finally, before the second quarter had ended, Hoover scored his second TD of the game. Olson was good on all three conversions to make it 28-12 in favor of Ferry.
Following halftime homecoming ceremonies, the Potters refused to go away as Lane Kopras scored from the one-yard line at the conclusion of a eleven-play, 68-yard drive. A two-point conversion effort failed, and it was 28-18 Riders.
At this juncture, it became the Dalton Hoover show as the 5'11' 230 pound senior scored three additional TDs in the second half on runs of three, one and 20 yards with Olson booting all three extra points to make it 49-18, the final.
Coach Josh Ludwig said Martins Ferry simply made plays "They caught the ball when they had to," he said. "They made the plays on special teams, for certain.
Coach Bruney's squad didn't make the mistakes we made, and that was the difference," the coach concluded.
The five rushing TDs by Dalton Hoover had to place him in some elite category. Only two Potters have accomplished that feat, Henry Pack and Willie Leavall.
The team was provided pizza from the Blue and White Touchdown Club before the long ride home.
The Dave Bruney football complex is on its second turf. Other new additions include a handsome scoreboard -- a fine tribute to a great coach who is currently in his 39th year with the Riders with a 268-130 record through 2016.