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Football: Jets Looking To Play The Spoiler Role

St. Clairsville has to get itself up off the deck

October 28, 2011

ST. CLAIRSVILLE - St. Clairsville is heading to the playoffs, while Union Local is headed for winter sports' practice.

Regardless, it's still Buckeye 8 rivalry week and you won't hear any chatter of either school looking past their regular-season finale Friday night.

The Red Devils will be seeking their ninth victory and a chance to go into the playoffs on a high as they prepare to play host to a game in Week 11, while the Jets will be seeking to play the role of spoiler as they chase their first victory in their last 18 outings when they make the trip to Red Devil Stadium.

''We need to have a good plan this week to bring our juices back,'' St. C. coach Brett McLean said. ''We're excited that we've clinched, but we've not talked about that with the kids. We can't get caught looking ahead or talking about anything but Union Local.''

The Red Devils (8-1) are coming off their only loss. They were on the short end of a 33-28 score at Martins Ferry last Friday night. St. C. didn't drop in the Division IV, Region 15 computer poll, however. They can still earn a piece of the Buckeye 8 title and could win it outright if Bellaire was to beat Martins Ferry on Saturday night.

''We're not going to flush the whole season because of one loss,'' McLean said. ''Obviously we hated to lose, but we did and now we have to recover quickly, which is something I don't think we did very well last season when we lost late.''

Union Local, meanwhile, has found itself in a season-long struggle on both sides of the ball. The Jets have lost all nine outings and haven't given up fewer than 30 points since Week 4.

''We're struggling, but it's not because we're not trying or putting in the effort,''UL coach Mark Cisar said. ''The kids have played very hard, but sometimes we've been overmatched. Sometimes you just have to admit that the other team is better than you are.''

On paper, the Red Devils certainly appear to be better than the Jets, but that won't affect Union Local's preparation this week.

''No doubt, they're better than us on paper,'' Cisar confirmed. ''They've got athletes who can score from anywhere on the field. But does that mean we won't come out and go full tilt? Not at all. I expect us to prepare hard and play hard and we'll see what happens.''

As the Red Devils prepare for the Jets, McLean has been preaching ''patience'' to his players.

''There are so many people blowing smoke at us and things, but we know UL will come here and play hard because they've got nothing to lose,'' McLean said. ''They've got young kids, who are determined to put themselves on the map. We have to be patient because frustration can build quickly if we let it. We have to take care of ourselves and protect the football.''

The Red Devils' offense is scoring more than 38 points a game thanks to a bevy of playmakers.

Junior quarterback Matt Kinnick has thrown for 2,157 yards and 22 touchdowns. He's also run for 433 yards and three scores.

In the passing game, the Red Devils are fueled by junior speedster Jerrid Marhefka, who has caught 26 passes for 641 yards and eight scores. After being slowed early in the season by an injury, junior Dan Monteroso has 16 receptions for 333 yards and five scores.

Ben Evick (16 catches), Chase Garan (12) and Michael Ferns (13) are also viable options in the passing game. A hidden weapon for the Red Devils is short-yardage back Greg Parker, who has seven touchdowns.

McLean is unsure whether or not sophomore speedster Jaylon Brown will be available again this week. Late last week, he was ruled out of the Ferry game. Brown has ran for 769 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 17 balls for 317 and three touchdowns.

''St. Clairsville reminds me of us from a few years ago,'' Cisar said. ''They actually run some similar things to what we do. They've got a real good ability to turn a 2-yard pass into a home run because of all of the speed. It's really impressive how quickly they can score.''

\The Jets offense, meanwhile, is triggered by senior quarterback Robert Simpson. He's passed for 1,513 yards and 10 touchdowns to go with 14 interceptions. Simpson's also the Jets' leading rusher with 227 yards and four touchdowns.

Senior Zane Ayouch has been a consistent bright spot on the perimeter. He's caught 68 passes for 910 yards and six touchdowns.

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