Ravenna Southeast - September 16, 2016
After three weeks on the road, Coach Josh Ludwig and his team showed up at Patterson Field at their home opener for this one, but the result was all-too-familiar, as their guests dropped the Potters 35-20 before a sparse crowd on a spectacular night for football.
Unfortunately, much to the dismay of the East Liverpool faithful, the first quarter set the tone for the night, as the visiting Pirates held the ball for 25 plays, allowing their hosts only a three-and-out in the stanza to take an early lead with 7:29 on the clock. The score came on a 29-yard pitch from junior ball handler Dylan Rogers to tight end Kyle Pruitt, concluding a thirteen-play drive. Keadron Sonderecker kicked the extra point and it was 7-0.
The Maroon and Yellow controlled the ball in the same fashion on their next possession following an Austin Mayfield punt which set them up on their own 38. Fortunately, fifteen plays and nine minutes later, the drive bogged down on the EL five, thanks to a fine tackle by Hayden Jackson.
Taking over on their own five, the Blue and White, once again, were unable to move the ball and Mayfield punted out to the 39 on fourth down.
This time, it took only four plays for the Pirates to reach the end zone with Rogers finding Billy Rose from 28 yards out and Sonderecker converted to make it 14-0 with 7:55 remaining before the half; however, the scoring had just begun
Taking over on the ensuing kickoff at their own 33, the locals ran off an eight-play drive that saw Dakota Ice score on a deflected pass thrown by Mayfield from the 21. Dylan Kidder’s conversion kick made it 14-7, but the Pirates came right back.
Starting on their own 40, after a 15-yard kickoff return, the visitors moved quickly to the EL one in four plays from where Kyle Stull took it to the house and Sonderecker made it 21-7.
The scoring wasn’t over before the intermission; however, as the never-say-die Mayfield, unfazed by a pair of incompletions, used his feet for runs of nine, then 44 yards to score with 2:57 on the clock. The extra point kick failed, but there was still more to come.
Starting at mid-field, it took Coach Patrick Youel and his crew a little over a minute to find the end zone with 1:21 on the clock. Stull, who would end the night with 37 carries for 169 yards on the night, took it to the house from the 12-yard line and Sonderecker make it 28-13.
The 5’ 10’ Stull added another TD in the second half, scoring from the two with 9:17 left in the game. Again Sonderecker converted to close the scoring for his team. East Liverpool had previously made it interesting when Mayfield found Zach Gill from the six on the second play of the fourth quarter. Kidder converted and at this point, it was 28-20, but Stull’s third TD of the night was the straw that broke the camel’s back
“Austin Mayfield played the best game of his career tonight,” Coach Josh Ludwig said following the game. “He’s our athlete and we’re going to keep riding him."
“I was proud of our offense, we really started to move the ball,” Ludwig commented. I thought we could have put more points on the board than we did. We thought we could throw the ball against them and we accomplished that; however, we didn’t fight through the blocks and didn’t fly to the ball. We came too far up field and bit on the pass. That was a game changer. We needed one more defensive stop so we could try and tie the score,” the Potter third year coach concluded.
The turf at Patterson Field is already showing signs of extreme deterioration from heavy use by both football and soccer, combined with the September heat. To complicate matters, the football team has moved its headquarters from the high school back to the West End.
As part of the transition back to the stadium, Coach Ludwig had his team enter the field from under the concrete bleachers, although they dress in their new club house on the bluff above the field.
Former West Branch coach Bob Altenhof is a defensive coordinator for Southeast. He served as West Branch’s defensive coordinator under Coach Jim Laut when the team won the state championship in 1994.
Hats off to ELHS band director Alaina Felgar-Cornfield and her staff for putting an outstanding musical aggregation on the field. The band is up in both number and quality of performance.