SHADYSIDE - During Barnesville's late-season slide, taking care of the ball became extremely difficult for the Shamrocks.
Such was the case again Friday night at Fleming Field.
The playoff-bound Tigers turned three first-half Shamrock turnovers into three touchdowns and never looked back en route to a 26-8 victory.
Shadyside’s Brooks Ramsey (42) runs behind Branden Krock (58) as Barnesville’s Colton Pritchard (4) closes in.
Photo by Mike Palmer
Shadyside (7-3) has now won 6 of 7 since starting the season at 1-2. Its lone blemish during the stretch was a loss at Wheeling Central.
"The goal every week is to win, but one of the objectives is to grow every week, and I think we started doing that in the second half of the season," Tigers coach Mark Holenka said. "We seem to be getting better and better and better with each game, and I think it's the trust they've built in each other as we've started winning."
Shadyside is embarking on its third straight Division VI playoff under Holenka. The Tigers expect to be playing at home once again when the OHSAA formally announces its tournament pairings Sunday afternoon.
"We've played some games that have prepared us for what's down the road," Holenka said. "We should be home and that's nice for the seniors. That was a motivation for us to be able to play on this field one more time. It's important to the seniors, which makes it important to the underclassmen."
The Shamrocks, meanwhile, saw a season that began with so much promise by virtue of seven straight victories, end with a 7-3 record.
"It's a very disappointing way to end," Barnesville coach Luke Johnson said. "I feel as if we had all kinds of potential. It's been a disappointing last three weeks."
Shadyside got on the scoreboard just as the first-quarter clock turned to all zeros and eventually scored three times in a span of 7:04.
The first score came after a Barnesville punt from deep in its own end zone. On a third-and-long play, Tigers junior quarterback Chase Kinemond found freshman Austin Dorris on a 23-yard gain.
After a dead-ball foul set the Tigers back, it was another third-down conversion that got Shadyside on the board. Kinemond from junior Cody Hudson on a 12-yard hookup. Hudson was perfect on the PAT, making it 7-0.
Shadyside's Matt Hammond pounced on a Barnesville fumble on the Shamrocks' 48. From there, it took just four plays. Kinemond got things going with a 24-yard scamper and then Kinemond found Hudson again on a 26-yard pass. The PAT was botched.
Kinemond did it again on the defensive side when he picked off a Zach Dornon pass on the Shamrocks' 47.
"From looking at Barnesville on film, we could understand the passing problems against Monroe with the weather and stuff, but they also laid the ball on the ground quite a bit," Holenka said. "We had to be ready if and when that happened. I thought the big turning point of the game was they punted us into a hole and forced a punt, but fumbled it back and lost everything they gained."
Junior Alex Quinn ripped off a 42-yard gain to the 8-yard line. Three plays later, the Kinemond to Hudson combination struck again from 3 yards out. Hudson was again good on the PAT.
"It's been the same story for us," Johnson said. "We've been plagued for three weeks now by turnovers. We've not been able to hold onto the ball and keep it in our arms."
Barnesville clawed back into the game on its ensuing possession. After they completed a fourth-and-long with a 29-yard pass from Austin Hannahs, the Shamrocks called on rugged senior fullback Jesse Stoudt, who plunged in from 3 yards out. He then ran in for the 2-point conversion, making it a 20-8 game at the intermission.
The Shamrocks defense forced a quick three-and-out by the Tigers to begin the third quarter. However, the momentum was short-lived. Barnesville fumbled again and the Tigers' Levi Spencer came up with the recovery.
"Except for the drive we scored on, we never created opportunities for us to go forward throughout the game," Johnson said.
The Tigers iced the game away when Kinemond fought his way into the end zone from 6 yards out with 2:46 to go in the third quarter.
All told, Kinemond passed for 91 yards and added 64 yards on the ground. Hudson caught four passes for 68 yards and the three scores. Quinn carried seven times for 54 yards.
Stoudt finished with 27 yards to lead Barnesville. The Tigers, who received a three-sack performance from senior Mason Gulash, bottled up the Brothers Dornon. Preston had just six rushing yards and eight receiving yards. Zach, meanwhile, passed for 78 yards and caught a pass for 9 after being lifted for Hannahs.