South Harrison beats St. Marys

Hawks end Blue Devils undefeated season

St. Marys' Zac Long tries to break lose from a South Harrison player's shoestring tackle Friday night during the Hawks' 43-15 win over the Blue Devils at Bill Hanlin Stadium. Photo by Joe Albright

ST. MARYS — Class A top-ranked South Harrison improved to 2-0 on a tough four-game gauntlet to end the season after the Hawks snapped 2016 state champion St. Marys’ 20 game-winning streak Friday night in Pleasants County.

Brad Jett’s Hawks rolled into Bill Hanlin Stadium, now 8-0, and left with a 43-15 victory over Jodi Mote’s Blue Devils (6-1).

Ironically, South Harrison was the last team to beat St. Marys before they began their win streak 20-13 on the same field in 2015.

“We are 2-0 on this field since they built it,” said Jett. “Which is amazing. He has a good football team and we will see them again at our place. It is a great atmosphere here. They have great fans and we brought a lot of fans. It was a good football game. We were fortunate. They made some mistakes and we capitlized on them.”

Running back Freddy Canary paced the visiting team on the ground with 308 yards on 27 carries and four scores. However, he was quick to give credit to his offensive line.

“Our lineman … They made this game go for us,” said Canary. “They blocked really well and kept their composure. The game was dictated from the front – without our lineman it would have been tough.”

Big plays helped the Hawks’ end one of the longest winning streaks in the state. SHHS ripped off multiple plays of 20 plus yards or more against a St. Marys defensive unit dealing with a few injuries.

None of those gains were bigger than Canary’s 80-yard dash through the heart of the St. Marys offense with 10:56 left in the first half. His score put the visitors up 13-0.

Quarterback Landon McFaddon also had a 71-yard scoring dash later in the period.

Jett’s team went up 21-0 after Cam Barnette found the end zone from 11 yards out with 5:58 left until halftime. The score proved costly for the Blue Devils as it appeared they were going to get the ball back after forcing a three and out. However, a St. Marys player fumbled the ball on the punt recovery and Barnett recovered at the St. Marys’ 30-yard line.

Canary picked up 19 yards on first down before Barnett found paydirt one play later.

The Blue Devils didn’t go quietly.

St. Marys gave their fans hope after falling behind 28-0. Dalton Houser got the home team fired up after hauling in 22-yard pass from Eric Illar with nine seconds left before halftime.

Dylan Gray then sliced the margin to 15 with a 45-yard run four plays into the second half.

Gray was St. Marys workhorse on the evening with Jaiden Smith only playing on defense. He ran seven times for 59 yards, as well as catching seven balls for 107 yards.

Matt Eichhorn and Illar brought the home team two points closer after they connected on the two point conversion pass to set things at 28-15.

However, Jay Powell’s SMHS defensive unit couldn’t overcome losing linebacker Smith in the fourth quarter. Jett’s team scored the final 15 points of the game to send the South Harrison cheering section into frenzy.

“Without watching film I can tell you we got physically dominated on the offensive and defensive lines,” said Mote when quizzed on the outcome. “It is a credit to South Harrison and their staff. We just struggled as a team tonight. We have to work and bounce back.”

Both team’s return to action next week. St. Marys travels to Ravenswood for a 7:30 p.m. matchup Friday, while South Harrison is on the road for another big matchup against East Hardy in Baker.