By MARK DIERKES
For The Intelligencer
BEALLSVILLE - Beallsville lineman Dalton Secrest has All-Ohio credentials and Friday the defensive end closed his outstanding career in record-breaking style on Senior Night.
A 6-foot-2, 275-pounder with an eye for quarterbacks, Secrest eclipsed the OVAC's all-time mark for sacks with his 26th midway through the third quarter in a 39-0 Blue Devils victory against shorthanded St. John Central.
"I'm proud of my seniors and Dalton certainly has made his presence felt here for four years," said Beallsville coach Paul Kanzigg, hopeful his club's 6-4 regular season record is good enough for a Division VII playoff slot in Region 25.
Ironically, the old quarterback sack mark (25) was held by former Blue Devil Andrew Ashland in 2006.
"Hopefully, we're in (the postseason) for an 11th game Saturday night," Kanzigg added. "I'm just pleased with our effort on both sides of the ball. (St. John) had a few players out, but played hard to the end."
The Fighting Irish tried some trickery with an onside kick at the outset, but sophomore Dawson Weekley covered the ball at his 46.
After a holding call, Beallsville drove the distance for a 6-0 lead at 10:14. Sophomore quarterback Levi Phillips, subbing for injured starter Chase Mercer, threw to senior Derek Lucas for 35 yards on his first attempt.
Freshman running back Joey Cunningham, who finished with a game-high 106 yards on 14 carries, ran it twice for 12 and 16, before senior Bruce Sefert found the end zone with a 4-yard jaunt.
On the ensuing kickoff, St. John failed to cover the boot and junior Mikey Palmer pounced on it at the Irish 22.
A Phillips-to-Lucas pass on third-and-8 gained 16 yards to the 4, where Beallsville scored when Lucas pulled in a Phillips pass in.
St. John, which finished 0-10, went three-and-out to set up a third Blue Devils TD, 55-yard TD catch by Lucas.
The hosts forced another punt, leading to a 77-yard, four-play TD drive for the Blue Devils.
Lucas, uncovered on the right side, caught a short toss from Phillips at his 35 and scampered 66 yards to the St. John 15. Sefert bulled his way for the score on the next play with 40 seconds left in the first.
Beallsville scored on its second possession of the second when Palmer hauled in a Phillips pass and took it the distance, covering 79 yards with 3:27 left in the half.
Secrest set his record when he sacked Irish QB Dario Paolina at his 28 on the first series of the second half.
Beallsville closed the scoring with 1:49 left in the third after Cunningham's gain of 28, and Phillips' keeper for 29 to the 1. Senior Cole Beckett earned the TD call on a dive on the next play.