ST. MARYS - The unbeaten, and unscored upon, St. Marys team from 1963 were on hand for Friday night's home opener for the Blue Devils. And, what better way to honor that team than for this year's version of the purple and gold to keep its slate (3-0) clean with a 49-20 victory over Little Kanawha Conference rival Parkersburg Catholic at Imlay Field.
Junior Jeremy Pratt led a St. Marys' rushing attack, that piled up 353 yards on 46 carries, with 147 yards and three touchdowns on only eight carries to power the Pleasant Countians to the victory. Senior Noah Spitzer added 82 yards on 16 carries and junior quarterback Michael Stout completed 4-of-9 attempts for 132 yards-one going to Spitzer for 49 yards and the game's first six points.
Parkersburg Catholic, now 2-1, was led by Peyton Sturm's 238 passing yards on 14-of-27 with one interception. Junior wide receiver Jake Boice was the recipient of eight of those completions for 126 yards and two scores.
Photo by Jim Butta
Parkersburg Catholic’s Peyton Sturm (2) hands the ball off to Ryan Schriner (30) during last night’s 49-20 setback to St. Marys at Imlay Field. Sturm finished with 238 yards passing, but it would not be enough as the Blue Devils improved to 3-0 on the season.
St. Marys needed only three plays, and a little bit of luck, to tally the first score. After forcing the Crusaders to punt on fourth-and-8 from the PC 30, the Blue Devils began their first drive of the day at the PC 49.
A two-yard run by Spitzer was followed by a two-yard loss by David Gray. Facing a third-and-10, the Blue Devils' Stout dropped back and lofted a pass toward junior Addison O'Brien. However, the ball slipped off of his outstretched fingers and, for a moment, appeared to be the end of the hosts' drive.
But, the ball stayed in the air and into the arms of Spitzer who took the ball the final 40 yards to put the Blue Devils in the lead for good. Garrett Furr's point after was successful to make the score 7-0 with 9:43 remaining in the first quarter.
The hosts would need the same number of plays (3) to up the score to 13-0 when Stout broke loose for a 62-yard touchdown with 6:06 still remaining in the quarter. Those would be the final points of the frame, but not the half.
St. Marys' third possession of the game ended with its third six-pointer. This time Pratt culminated a 7-play, 95-yard drive with a 59-yard scoring run with 8:57 left before the intermission. The drive was set up by a fumble recovery at the Blue Devils' five yard line on a fourth-and-goal for PC.
The Crusaders finally lit up the scoreboard on their next drive when Sturm hit senior fullback Kyle Bronski with a screen pass at the SM 35. The 245-pounder broke several tackles and raced the final 10 yards to paydirt to pull the visitors back to within two scores, 19-7.
Both teams would add scores before the half ended with Spitzer scoring from one yard out at the 4:14 mark and PC's Boice hauling in a Sturm pass with no time left from 7-yards out to make the score 26-13.
Parkersburg Catholic was far from finished, however, as the Crusaders pulled to within six, 26-20, when Sturm connected with Boice on a 50-yard bomb on the Crusaders' second possession of the half. Peter Keiser added the PAT.
That would be as close as the guests would get as St. Marys went to its favorite weapon-the run-to salt the game away on touchdown runs of 13 and 27 yards by Pratt and Stout's 1-yard quarterback sneak.
St. Marys returns to action on Thursday when winless Tyler Consolidated pays a visit for a 7 p.m. start. Parkersburg Catholic will look to rebound from its first loss of the season on Friday at Calhoun County.