|Sport||Date||Visiting Team||Home Team|
Select a Sport:
Select a School:
High school football: Flyers' run game stalls out
Jim Bobel/The Morning Journal St. Paul’s Devin Smith, right, is tackled in the backfield by Berlin Center’s Dan Zilke on Saturday in a Division VII regional final.
Jim Bobel/The Morning Journal St. Paul's Jeret Nickoll slams Berlin Center quarterback Nick Allisonto to the ground after a short gain Saturday night.
Jim Bobel/The Morning Journal St. Paul's Devin Smith, left, follows his blocker Jessie Gross in the first quarter Saturday night.
Jim Bobel/The Morning Journal The high winds rip the banner away from the St. Paul cheerleaders at the start of the game.
The Flyers bowed out of the postseason by losing to Berlin Center Western Reserve, 22-2, in the Division VII, Region 24 final at Ken Dukes Stadium.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, the game wasn’t even as close as the score shows.
Through the first 12 weeks of the season, the St. Paul offense averaged 385.3 yards per game, 290.6 of which came on the ground. Saturday night, though, the Flyers were held to 22 yards rushing, 34 yards total offense, for the game.
The Blue Devils, on the other hand, had no problem moving the ball despite temperatures dipping into the teens and wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph at times.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Flyers’ opening drive, which turned out to be a theme for the rest of the game, Western Reserve went to its ground-and-pound style of offense and chewed up the Flyers’ defense and chunks of yardage. The Blue Devils marched 60 yards on 11 plays, while eating up clock, on their opening possession.
The drive was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Nick Allison to give Western Reserve all the points it would need. Everything seemed to go the Blue Devils’ way, as even a botched snap on the ensuing extra point turned into a two-point conversion with kicker Parker Clegg found Nick Tobin in the back of the end zone to give the No. 1 seed an early 8-0 lead.
The St. Paul defense finally settled in, though, and didn’t allow the Blue Devils to score again in the first half.
The Flyers even gained a little momentum when Scottie Slauterbeck showed why he earned first-team Northwest all-district honors as a punter when he boomed a 74-yard punt, with a little help from the strong wind at his back, that pinned the Blue Devils on their own 1-yard line.
Three plays later, the St. Paul offense forced a safety when Danny Rosati couldn’t find his way out of his own end zone and was tackled for a loss to cut the Western Reserve lead to 8-2.
Unfortunately for the Flyers, any momentum they may have seemed to have going into the half evaporated as soon as the third quarter started.
The Blue Devils drove down the field and scored on their opening drive in the second half in just 2:54, covering 79 yards in seven plays. After Dan Zilke punched in the ball on a one-yard run, the Flyers found themselves trailing, 15-2.
Though the scoreboard said St. Paul was still in the game, the Blue Devils’ defense was saying otherwise, as the Flyers seemingly could do nothing right on the offensive side of the ball.
Western Reserve added another score late to officially put the game away when Jon Timko ran 18 yards for the final score with 4:13 left in the game.
The Blue Devils finished the game with 255 yards rushing and 38 yards passing. While the numbers weren’t exactly gaudy, when your defense holds the opponent down the way it did, 293 yards of total offense is more than enough.
The Blue Devils (13-0) move on to play in a state semifinal next Saturday night, while the Flyers (11-2) see their excellent season come to a close.
The freezing temperatures not only affected the players on the field, but also the bands from each school. Neither band was able to perform during halftime due to their instruments freezing.
Last Updated: 11/23/2013 11:46:28 PM EST