Weirton - October 30, 2015
Driving down the main street of Weirton conjures up thoughts of another time and place in the celebrated history of this small West Virginia community where as many as 12,000 men and women once worked for the local steel mill, turning out mountains of tin plate for the nation's canned food industry. To add to this, there was a company owned country club, segregated schools and unbelievable Fourth of July celebrations. All part of a unfathomable past.
One thing that remains, however, is a solid high school football program operating under the leadership of Coach Tony Fibrato, who led his warriors to a 44 point shut of the Potters in this, the final game of the regular season for ELHS.
For Coach Josh Ludwig and his team, who finished the campaign at 3-7, it would be a long night despite the fact a pass interception by Ryan Bombich on Weirton’s first play of the game triggered a 13- play, 28-yard EL drive before bogging down on the Weirton 32. Four plays later, Cody Enrietti found the end zone from 11 yards out and it was 8-0 following a two-point conversion pass from Jake Wypasek to Grant Carrigan.
It didn’t take long for Coach Tony Filberto and his team to prove their initial TD wasn’t a fluke, after the Blue and White went three-and-out with 7:45 remaining in the first quarter.
Starting on their own 22, following a Ryan Lilly punt, the game moved to 11:08 in the second quarter when, with the ball on the EL 33, Wypasek found JoJo West in the end zone and once again, the conversion combination of Wypasek to Carrigan made it 16-0.
The pounding continued in the second quarter, following, a short Lilly punt with a little over 10 minutes on the clock, as the Red and Black marched from the EL 29 to the end zone in just five plays, topped off by a three-yard Kameron Davis run. For an encore, the 185 lb. senior running back also scored the two point conversion, and was 24-0 with 7:47 ticks on the clock.
Coach Josh Ludwig and his team appeared to be in a complete tail spin as the half ended with a spectacular 82-yard pass completion from Wypasek to Donavan Spencer to make it 30-0, after an attempted two-point conversion pass failed.
The Riders continued the pounding after the intermission, scoring TDs in each of the final quarters, with Wypasek finding Carrigan from 17 yards out in the third and Danny Sarles taking it to the house on the second play of the fourth. Michael Mills was two-for-two from the conversion stripe to make the final 44-0.
“As a coach, you are never satisfied with a 3-7 season,” Coach Josh Ludwig said following the game. “We were shooting for much better. We have 11 seniors, and this is my fourth year coaching at East Liverpool. I was the defensive coordinator for two years, and I have been the head coach for two years, I met these kids on Day One, and they have poured their hearts out. They poured their hearts out. They tried hard. Some of them are going to be irreplaceable. Next year, we are going to need to mend the holes we are going to have. These kids gave everything they had.”
Jake Wypasek’s 82-yard TD completion to Donavan Spencer on the final play of the first half turned to be the WTOV9 electrifying play-of-the-week.
Seniors playing their final game for ELHS were: Julian Cowart, Ryan Bombich, Austyn Dozier, RaeQwon Eliam, Dillon Reynolds, Ryan Lilly, Austin Morris, Roger Lawson, Viszauni Williams and Charles Iacobucci.
Quarterback Austin Mayfield could be seen throwing warm up tosses to the receiving corps prior to the game. Only a junior, who had started 18 consecutive games for the team, Mayfield suffered a broken bone on his non-throwing hand in the Buckeye Local game.
Originally, it was expected that surgery would be performed, but a later diagnosis by a Pittsburgh hand specialist determined that the injury required only a cast.