Oak Glen - October 7, 2016
It took two years, 279 days, 19 hours, 11 minutes and 13 seconds for the East Liverpool High School Football team to live up to their expectations under Coach Josh Ludwig, but, when they did, it was like a blast out of the past in this one as the Blue and White defeated Oak Glen on the Golden Bears’ home field, 45-7.
Although the team’s performance against Martins Ferry had been above average and their defeat of Beaver Local on September 23 saw several records broken, it was on this damp night, playing on artificial turf in the West Virginia hills, that the Blue and White stirred memories of the past and lifted up hope for the future for the Potter faithful.
For those who were not present, here we go. It became evident early in the game that the Blue and White were going to have a special night when, on the third play of the game, Zach Gill picked off a Lance Collins pass at the Oak Glen 30 and scampered into the end zone for an early EL 7-0 Potter lead, following Dylan Kidder’s conversion kick.
Kidder’s ensuing kickoff was bobbled on the ten from where the Bears set up shop to no avail, as they quickly went three-and-out, punting to Dakota Ice who returned the ball to the Oak Glen 46. Eight plays later QB Austin Mayfield, who had completed four-out-of-four passes on the drive while running the ball three time for 11 yards, lugged the ball the final 12 yards to make it 14-0, following Kidder’s kick at 6:01 in the first quarter.
Coach Ted Arneault and his crew went to work at this point, relying on their featured star Dakota Price and running back Nic Roland, but could get no closer than the 50 from where they punted. Unable to move the ball, Mayfield got off one of his few bad punts of the season, setting the host team on the EL 31.
The Bears’ first play from scrimmage may have served as a wakeup call for the Potters as Price essayed his way to the end zone on the third play of the second quarter making it 14-7 after the conversion kick by Collin Williams. However, they would not score again in the game.
For the Blue and White, the scoring would then go like this: Kidder hit a 33-yard field goal with 7:10 remaining in the half followed by, perhaps the longest ball ever thrown in an ELHS game, a 62-yard scoring bomb from Mayfield to Noah Shaw. The couple had previously teamed up on a 58-yarder that set up Kidder’s field goal.
The second half would see Mayfield score with runs of ten and one yards, followed by a four-yard Peyton Adkins plunge with 2:15 left to play. Kidder’s conversion kicks after all three TDs gave him a total of five on the night.
“I’m proud of the guys’ overall effort in all facets of the game,” said Coach Josh Ludwig. “The offense moved the football, the defense came up with some turnovers and special teams didn’t give up anything big. It was a great effort by all the Potters.”
"Commenting on Mayfield’s 62-yard scoring pass, the head Potter said, “When Austin threw it, I said to myself, ‘Oh man, he’s going deep.’ I was worried. Then when Noah came down with it, I said to myself ‘Oh, what a great call.’ Noah was his third option on that play. He did a great job going his progressions.”
Noah Shaw moved to second place behind Zach Gill for most yards receiving with eight grabs for 161 yards. The team with 242 stripes through the air was the ninth best effort in school history. Anthony Coles stands alone with 304 vs, Southern Maryland in 1996 with the Potters’ 292 yard (combined Austin Mayfield and Peyton Adkins) effort vs. Beaver Local this season is sitting at second.
Oak Glen’s coach, Ted Arneault, Jr. is the son of the former CEO at Mountaineer Park who led the big recreational center through a tremendous resurgence in recent years. The senior Arneault is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and an inductee into the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame. He can also be heard on KDKA’s Rob Pratte show each Sunday morning.
While Mayfield’s 62-yard scoring pitch to Shaw with 1:23 left to play in the third quarter was not the longest in school history, few locals could recall a ball thrown so far. Each of the top three involved a longer run than Shaw who caught Mayfield’s ball at about the eight:
1955 Jim Potts to Bert Dorsey vs. New Philadelphia 90 yards
1997 Maurice Brown to Jayson Yanni vs. Salem 83 yards
2000 Sean Yanni to Brett Green vs. Buckeye Local 83 yards
David Smith, principal of Oak Glen is a class act. As both an alumnus of the school system and one who has worked his way up through the ranks, he is a credit to his alma mater, and a person one can count on 24/7.
Oak Glen senior Autumn Owen was crowned homecoming queen at halftime