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St. Marys survives: Blue Devils outlast Midland Trail, 52-49

Photo by Josh Hughes St. Marys’ Darrien Bortey (8) celebrates with teammate Jayson Clayton (13) after Bortey scores a touchdown in the Blue Devils’ 52-49 Class A playoff quarterfinal win over Midland Trail Sunday at Bill Hanlin Stadium.

ST. MARYS — In a game where St. Marys head coach Jodi Mote didn’t expect a shootout, his Blue Devils edged out Midland Trail in a 52-49 contest which saw plenty of offense generated. The win on Sunday afternoon loomed large, as the No. 4 Blue Devils (10-1) advance to take on Pendelton County in a Class A state semifinal at 1:30 p.m. inside Bill Hanlin Stadium.

Quarterback Brennan Boron responded after an opening score from Midland Trail’s Aden Issacs, as he rumbled in for a 17-yard score to tie it late in the opening frame. Instead of these teams taking time to feel each other out, they went full throttle and didn’t let up on the scoring. For Boron, his 196 yards of total offense and pair of scores kept pace with MT’s Christopher Vines.

It was Vines who kept the Patriots in the ballgame with 192 yards rushing and four total scores. Tre Moss got in on the act for SMHS, as a 35-yard scorer shaking off defenders put his team in the lead with 10:56 left in the 2nd.

Moss’ number was called more frequently in the second half, since he carried the load and helped put the game on ice. His 21 carries for 180 yards led the Blue Devil attack. Moss talked about the game and how he prepared for his big night.

“We had a lot of plays we practiced that we didn’t run,” Moss said of how wide open the playbook was. “We were just trying to find the things that were working. The way our plays run through the people that run them, and the guys that do the blocking is enough to get it done. On (Boron’s) options, sometimes it is better for him to keep it. There was that play early where he pitched it, and I got hit in the backfield. I think we could have done a lot better, and I wasn’t expecting the game to be that close. I knew they were a good team, but our defense needs to step up.”

The defenses struggled down the stretch, as Isaacs, Boron and Vines all contributed points later in the second. A 14-yard Vines run came just a couple minutes after a 10-yard Boron touchdown scamper with 5:49 left in the half to tie it at 21. On the ensuing drive, Boron and company marched down the field after Vines’ touchdown left them with 3:27 remaining. On a 4th and 14 from the 26, Boron launched a throw to the end zone that was caught by Darrien Bortey with just six seconds to go until the half. Moss got his second half started with a bang as a booming 73-yard punt from Jason Clayton set the Patriots at their own 3. That’s where Moss left an impact on defense.

A safety recorded by the senior made it 30-21, as the Patriots had to keep playing from behind the rest of the way. The closest they got was when Vines scored to make it 43-42 with 2:16 left in the 3rd. Thankfully for St. Marys, that earlier safety, an 18-yard score from Cyle West and a 60 yard touchdown catch by Clayton gaves the home team enough cushion to sustain a lead late in the game. Moss’ second touchdown with 29 seconds left in the 3rd gave SMHS at 49-42 lead following a failed two-point conversion, and a Jon Morrison 24 yard field goal with 8:05 left gave head coach Jodi Mote’s side a two-score lead. A Robert Ruffner 4-yard score with 4:25 left was all the Patriots could manage, as the Blue Devils look forward to a revenge game against Pendelton County.

“We weren’t expecting this game to be that high-scoring,” Boron said. “We thought it was going to be a defensive game and that we were going to stop them, but our defense wasn’t playing the greatest game. The offense executed the best they have all year, and that’s just how the game turned out.”

Mote and his staff now shift to that Pendelton game, as the head coach talked about preparing for PCHS.

“We really don’t know a whole lot about them, this year,” Mote admitted. “We’ve got to watch film and study them, but it’s exciting that we’ll get to play them at Bill Hanlin Stadium.”

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com

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