Salem - September 9, 2016
It was an electrifying evening at Riley Stadium for the Week Three match-up with Salem, featuring the dedication of a new score board and the installation of artificial turf on the playing surface, along with expansion of the track. Sadly, nothing had changed for the Potters as the Quakers dropped the Blue and White for the third consecutive year, 31-0.
For Coach Ludwig and his team, it would be trouble from the get-go, after winning the toss and deferring to Salem who promptly took the opening kickoff from their own 27 on a nine-play ride down to the EL 13 from where Mitch Davidson found Chase Ackerman for six. Braydon Gibson converted and it was 7-0 with 8:33 remaining in the opening stanza.
Things went from bad-to-worse for the Blue and White when they were stymied after Dakota Ice took the Quakers’ kickoff back to his own 37 followed by a nifty 13-yard run by Kyle Walker to midfield. Unfortunately, Walker was able to pick up only minimal yardage on his next carry followed by a Hayden Jackson six-yard loss then by a sack of QB Austin Mayfield, led to punt time.
A beautiful 42-yard kick by Mayfield taken in by Cooper Bezeredi on the Salem 20 went for naught as the senior running back promptly scooted to the 40; however, the play was called back due to a Salem block-in-the back penalty.
A second punt by Mayfield resulted in a Salem take-over on their own 34. Four plays later, the Red and Black were in the end zone when Davidson threw a 30-yard TD strike to Davidson with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter. Gibson made it 14-0.
The game went back-and-forth until one minute and 46 seconds were left to play before the intermission – enough time for Coach Ron Johnson and his team to run off an eight-play, 58-yard drive to make it 21-0. The crowning blow was a four-yard reception by Jake Humeniuk off the arm of Davidson followed by Gibson’s conversion kick.
Sadly, the only highlight for the Potters in the second half was a 66-yard punt by Mayfield, the second longest in ELHS history.
Salem’s scoring culminated with a 16-yard field goal by Gibson and 36-yard hook up from Davidson to Humeniuk on the last play of the third quarter. Gibson’s conversion kick made it 31-0, the final.
“What a beautiful facility. Hats off to Salem, their school district and community for being able come up with such a major project in such a short amount of time,” said EL coach Josh Ludwig. “Great playing surface and the kids loved it.”
“We played too much defense. Offensively, we need to get first downs and kill the clock. You can’t play that much defense because, eventually you’re going to get stuck. I know 31 seems like a lot of points, but I feel like tonight we finally started to play better defense. At times we did play pretty good defense,” Ludwig concluded.
The game marked the 90th time the pair of Columbiana County rivals played with the scales tipped in the Potters favor by a 49-38 margin. Two games ended in a tie.
The initial game between the two rivals occurred on November 4, 1911 with East Liverpool, coached by “Doc” Kennedy, dropping a 22-5 contest to Salem. Touchdowns counted for only five points prior to 1912.
Mayfield’s 66-yard punt, which was launched from his own 25-yard line, was only bettered by Fred Mountford in 1904. Mountford’s kick came against Wellsville, and in all probability it was made with a rounded, rugby-type ball, while Mayfield has the advantage of an artificial playing surface. At any rate, both athletes deserve much credit – Mountford, who went on to West Point, where he was a classmate of future general, George Patton – and Mayfield, who is an outstanding athlete and a fine representative of his school’s athletic program, as well as the city of East Liverpool.
The upgrades at Riley Stadium are incredible; credit the community and local Rotary Club for the special effort in putting Salem over the top. As expected, retired businessman Bob Sebo, a member of the Salem High School Class of 1954, was among the top four listed on the new electronic-video score board.
Bob Sebo was also saluted along with seven other individuals with significant connections to Salem. They included: General George W. Riley, John Auld, Fred Cope, Alan Freed, Barbara Butler Greene Rich Karlis and Lauren Teal.