St. Clairsville - October 28, 2016
It was a bittersweet ending, to say the least, for the 2016 East Liverpool High School football season as the team was severely beaten by a fired up St. Clairsville eleven, 34-7, while senior quarterback Austin Mayfield set his team’s record for the most passing yards in a single season with 1,714 stripes through the air.
Playing on the road for the closer, Mayfield finished the season with a record 121 of 214 passes completed. He also rushed 486 yards in ten games and as a three-year starter passed for 2,861 yards, combined with 958 on the ground for 3,819 yards of total offense. Only Marky Thompkins with 4,332 between 2009 and 2011 achieved more.
Unfortunately, the game got off to an ominous start for Mayfield, who fumbled the opening kickoff which was recovered by the Red Devils on the Potters’ 22-yard line. Standing tall; however, Coach Josh Ludwig’s crew held their hosts to a 37-yard field goal by Matt Greenwood two minutes and eleven seconds into the game.
After going three-and-out on their initial possession, the Blue and White, once again, were faced with a St. Clairsville field goal attempt from the 18-yard line which failed, leading to a seven-play EL drive taking the ball to the Red and Silver’s 41 from where Mayfield was forced to punt.
Following the kick, it took Coach Brett McLean and his team 12 plays, starting on their own six to march all the way to the Potter five from where Brady Kolb took it to the house, and it was 10-0 following Greenwood’s conversion kick with 9:39 left to play in the half.
The Devils would tally three more times before the break, starting with a 60-yard strike from Zach Bigelow to DeVon Harris to make it 17-0 after Greenwood split the uprights with a little under three minutes on the clock.
Then with 2:54 remaining on the clock, it appeared that the Potters were on the move starting at their own 15, moving out to the 43 in three plays.
Unfortunately, at this juncture, disaster struck on a second-and-two situation when Jacob Keen stepped in front of a Mayfield pass and traveled 50 yards to the end zone. Yet another Greenwood extra point made it 24-0. Finally, a below average punt by Mayfield would give Greenwood an additional scoring opportunity on the last play of the half from the 15-yard line, and the big junior tight end split the uprights with a field goal to make it 27-0.
The home team would score one more time on the night when Joey Maroon crossed the final stripe from the three-yard line with 5:48 left to play in the third quarter. Greenwood made his fourth extra point of the game and it was 34-0.East Liverpool’s only TD came with 1:14 on a moving clock when Mayfield went in from the three and Dylan Kidder kicked for the final point of the season
“We felt that we had a good plan, but it became apparent that we were wrong,” said Coach Josh Ludwig from a crowded locker room following the game.
“For certain, our kids didn’t quit, especially when we held St. Clairsville to one TD in the second half. I have never been around a finer group of kids,” he concluded.
Noted Pittsburgh surgeon, Dr. Joe Maroon, was in the crowd on hand to watch his nephew Joey Maroon play an outstanding game for the Red Devils. Dr. Maroon, who played high school football ay Bellaire St. John High School is a 1999 inductee into the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame.
The team was treated to submarine sandwiches from Bricker’s prior to the long ride home.
Head Coach Josh Ludwig was assisted throughout the season by Alvan Thompson, Jeff Wright, Andy Vulgamore, David Thompson, Eric McMahon, Bill Potts, Jim Crane, and Mike Crane.Special recognition goes out to trainer Deena Martin along with Jim Crane who carries out a number of responsibilities in addition to being an assistant coach.