10-0 Sweeter The Third Time Around
Pilots Put Finishes Touches On A Perfect Season; Beat Cougars, 56-12
The River Pilots 2008 football team just earned their school’s third 10-0 record with a 56-12 pounding of the Frontier Cougars Friday night at Flannery Field in the regular season finale.
The Pilots wasted little time in climbing out to a 21-0 lead on three plays. A 36-yard TD and a 83-yard TD by senior runningback Tyler Brooks, who also went over the 1,000 yard mark in the season and the fourth Pilot back to reach that plateau, with his 198-yard, four TD performance. “Its great to have a 1,000 yard runner, because not only does it mean a lot for Brooks, but it also means a lot for the linemen and the entire team as well as Jordan Clegg and Taylor Potts of springing him with their blocks,” said Pilot Head Coach Mike Flannery.
The third TD was a 70-yard run by first year senior fullback Jordan Clegg. Clegg rushed for over 100 yards on the night too. He rushed for 123 yards and two TDs on only two carries.
With a 21-0 lead at the break on just three plays, the Pilots went on a long drive that accumulated close to 80 yards and ended with a Taylor Potts six-yard scamper.
Brooks scored the next two TDs in the third on runs of 21 and seven yards, before the Frontier Cougars scored on a very nice 16-yard reverse play and a 31-yard pass play.
In between their scores, the Pilots’ Clegg saw pay dirt on a 53-yard run and Journey Wayts took it in from 24 yards out for the final Pilot TD. The Pilot total of 56 points was tapped off with eight Tanner Wright extra point kicks.
This was the first 10-0 season since the 1997 Pilots, led by Terry Snively at head coach. “This is such a treat for River High School and the community. These players, along with the coaching staff and many guys that you don’t see, made an investment in this all the way back to last season. I couldn’t be more proud of an entire group of kids,” said Coach Flannery.
Coach Flannery was the starting quarterback on the 10-0 1972 undefeated Pilot team. The team didn’t get to play in the playoffs because of an error in adding the points that wasn’t found until a River booster added the tally and found where they added incorrectly. But, it was too little too late.
“It’s special. Hopefully we can keep this thing going. We feel our running game is really crisp. It’s shown in our practice and its now paying off in games. We are firing on all cylinders right now,” added Flannery.
The Pilot defense has scored 377 points this season and their defense has only surrendered 51 points, an average under five points a game, and has had four shutouts. Only one team, Frontier, scored more than seven points. There has been no high school team that had a player rush for 100 yards. The defense has been in the opposing backfield more times than you can imagine, and has had 17 interceptions and has sacked the quarterback 27 times.
The Pilots’ defense is centered around a good group of players, but D.J. Duke, an all-state defensive tackle, leads the front four in their 4-3 defense. He, along with juniors Jeremy Corrick and Joey Asturi at the opposite tackle, and ends Tyler Jeffers and Travis “Hitman” Wells hold the containment at end. Jordan Clegg patrols the middle of the second level of the Pilot defense, with Tyler Brooks and Taylor Potts manning the outside. River’s secondary is no slouch either, they have Daniel Starr, Greg Caretti, Dylan and Devan Potts, along with Cody Caretti holding down the fort.
Holding down the kicking duties is Tanner Wright, Mr. Consistent. He hasn’t missed many extra point kicks and has been true on a pair of field goals so far this season. His booming kickoff is another nice defensive weapon Coach Flannery has as he can always count on his kicker and special teams to get the job done.
The River offense isn’t as one dimensional as one would think. They have a potent passing game as well, but hasn’t had to showcase it much since they have been leading in most of the games by half and the air game comes secondary after that. However, Dylan Potts can, and has, thrown the ball well. He has over 900 yards passing for the season and runs the wishbone just as well as Coach Flannery did in the 1970’s.
“The kids won’t realize what this means to go undefeated until five years from now, when they can reflect what they have accomplished this season,” added Coach Flannery.
Along with the victory, the Pilots wrapped up the Pioneer Valley Conference and OVAC Class AA crown. Now they go on to the Ohio Division VI, Region 23 playoffs for the second straight season and will host the Zanesville Rosecrans Friday night in Hannibal on Flannery Field at 7:30 p.m.
River High School will be selling pre-game tickets for their playoff game with Zanesville Rosecrans this Friday at Flannery Field. All pre-sale tickets are $7. There are no special prices for senior citizens or students. Tickets at the gate will be $9. Pre-sale tickets will be on sale every day at RHS from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Football Moms will hold a slide show today at 6 p.m. and a bonfire is scheduled for 8 p.m. River High School will also be selling the pre-sale tickets that night too, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.