ELLENBORO-Football is both a physical and mental game and visiting St. Marys took advantage of both to hand host Ritchie County a 32-10 setback in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
Playing in front of a sold out Chuck Schofield Memorial Stadium the Blue Devils of head coach Jodi Mote pounded out 321 yards on 53 rushes while mental mistakes plagued the Rebels during a first half that saw the hosts never cross mid-field or make a first down in heading into the intermission trailing by 17-0.
St. Marys (1-0) takes to the road again next Friday night when it travels to Elizabeth to take on Little Kanawha Conference Class A rival Wirt County while the Rebels stay in LKC play when they play host to Roane County.
Photo by Jim Butta
St. Marys running back Noah Spitzer runs for yardage against Ritchie County Friday. The Blue Devils won, 32-10.
After an exchange of punts gave the Blue Devils a first-and-10 at the Ritchie County 40, the visitors needed only eight plays to put the first seven points on the scoreboard. First-year starting quarterback Michael Stout culminated the drive with a one-yard plunge with 1:47 left in the opening quarter. Garrett Furr's point after kick was successful, giving the purple and gold the lead for good, 7-0.
Ritchie's first miscue of the game occurred on its second play from scrimmage following the St. Marys' score when Blue Devil David Gray picked off an Alex Lipscomb aerial and returned it for an apparent touchdown. A penalty on the play negated the score, but the guests were back in business at the Rebels' 31.
St. Marys was unable to take advantage of the miscue, but a 33-yard punt by Gray pinned the hosts at their own 7 where, three plays later, they were forced to surrender the ball back to their Pleasants County rivals on a 32-yard punt by Tyler Reed.
This time the Blue Devils would make their hosts pay for their miscue as Furr connected on a 30-yard field goal with 4:14 left to play in the first half. Those, however, would not be the final points of the frame for St. Marys.
A third-down sack of Lipscomb by the Blue Devils' Tyler Davis resulted in a fumble that was recovered by St. Marys' Bernie Northrop at the Rebels' 29. Seven plays later the score went to 17-0 on a 2-yard run by Gray, who finished with 76 yards on 13 carries, and Furr's second PAT of the half.
Mike Dawson's squad came alive offensively in the third quarter when Lipscomb, who connected on 6-of-11 attempts for 86 yards, found Jayden Allender wide open behind the St. Marys' secondary for a 59-yard scoring strike with 8:54 left in the third quarter.
The Rebels made it a one score deficit five minutes later when Orlando Burgy connected on a 28-yard field goal. That, however, would be as close as the Rebels would get as a pair of 2-yard scoring runs by senior Noah Spitzer iced the game away and sent the Rebels to 0-1 on the season.
Spitzer finished as the game's leading rusher with 92 yards on 17 carries while Ryan Miller chipped in with 66 yards on two carries late in the game. The Blue Devils defense was as dominant as its rushing attack as it limited the Rebels to 123 total yards-37 rushing and 86 passing.