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Unbeaten River Pilots Roll Past Bridgeport Bulldogs, 48-12

By Staff | Oct 12, 2016

The unbeaten River Pilots were coming off a huge win over rival and previously unbeaten Shadyside. Another acid test awaits next week with a trip to once-beaten Toronto.

River Head Coach Mike Flannery, however, had his talented Pilots focused on the task at hand Friday night, trouncing Bridgeport, 48-12, at Martin Flannery Field in a mercy-rule contest.

The lopsided triumph helps buttress the Pilots’ hopes for an OVAC 2A championship as well as a first-round home playoff game.

Bridgeport, meanwhile, is enduring some tough times, much of which triggered by a host of injuries. Coach Zack Melton’s squad is 1-6 and will play host to Bishop Donahue Friday.

“Our guys came out and took care of business from the outset. We let the Shadyside win go and we were not thinking ahead to Toronto,” Flannery said. “We got a lot of people involved and a lot of positive contributions. Our line play was again exceptional.”

“I give credit to Bridgeport. They played hard until the finish. Coach Melton is doing a nice job with his team. They are young and beat up physically but they play hard,” he added. “Now we have to get ready for another big test. Toronto is a quality team that has many weapons.”

Junior all-Ohioan Lukas Isaly once again sparkled in the Pilot victory. The multi-dimensional quarterback threw for one TD while rushing for another in limited duty.

For the season, Isaly now has more than 1,110 passing yards and another 700 on the ground. He has also accounted for 26 TDs.

Isaly had plenty of support as Flannery utilized nine ball-carriers on the night. The Pilots attempted just eight passes.

Running backs Parker Caretti, Dakota Smith and Drew Wagnild all enjoyed solid outings. Caretti gained 71 yards and a TD on just eight totes; Smith had 91 yards and a six-pointer on five attempts while Wagnild collected 45 yards and a TD on only five rushes.

River was never threatened, taking an 18-0 lead after one quarter. The Pilot defense got the hosts on the scoreboard initially as senior standout Luke Matusik – who proved a menacing figure all night – tackled a Bulldog balllcarrier in the end zone for a safety for a 2-0 lead at the 9:15 lighting.

River tallied two TDs in the quarter – a 5-yard run by Wagnild and a 2-yard burst from Braden Whetsell. Isaly ran in the bonus points after the first score and tackle Mason Ladyga tacked on the conversion run after the Whetsell score.

River turned the second half into a mercy-rule contest with a trio of touchdowns in the second period, pushing its advantage to 40-0.

Isaly speared Drew Dietz with a 34-yard score; Smith bulled in from the one and Caretti scored from the five.

River made it a 48-0 issue with 4:04 left in the third period on an 11-yard from Isaly. Caretti tacked on the conversion run.

Bridgeport finished in strong fashion, tallying two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Juniors Jeremiah Booker and Garrett Duncan teamed for a pair of aerial-scoring connections, covering 37 and 15 yards, respectively.

Booker completed nine passes on the night for 95 yards. The Bulldogs were charted with minus 30 yards in rushing as the Pilots recorded numerous quarterback sacks.

“We played pretty well and physical early on. But River is River. They are a very good team with a lot of weapons and a super line,” Melton said. “Our schedule is tough right now. Playing Barnesville and River back-to-back is tough on a young team.”

“On a positive note, we didn?t quit and put together a nice fourth quarter. Getting into the end zone twice is a positive,” he added. “We will get back to work tomorrow (Saturday) and get ready for Bishop Donahue. We have a group of kids who won’t quit battling.”

River ended the night with 275 yards rushing and 89 through the air. Isaly was 4-7 for 89 yards with one pick and one interception threw the air, and picked up 45 yards and a score on seven trips to lead the undefeated Pilots.

As a team, five different running-backs scored touchdowns. Along with Isaly’s score, Dakota Smith, five carries for 84 yards; Drew Wagnild, five carries for 43 yards; Parker Caretti, seven totes for 77 yards; and Braden Whetsell, three carries for 11 yards all scored touchdowns on the ground. In reserve, Heath Rosen and Hunter Dennis each totaled five yards on two trips, while Colton Lawrence tacked on a yard on his only carry for all the positive yardage gained.

Drew Dietz caught three passes and a score for 69 yards, while Whetsell hauled in an Isaly pass for 20 yards.

Defensively, last weeks Players of The Week, Luke Matusik sacked the Bridgeport quarterback for a safety, while adding six tackles, four of which were for loss of yardage, and recovered a fumble. Wagnild and Cody Saska each recorded seven tackles to lead all-tacklers, with Saska adding three tackles for loss of yardage, while Wagnild made one stop for loss of yardage, and forced a fumble.

Ethan Lively recorded two QB sacks and five total stops, while half of Hunter Dennis four tackles went for loss of yardage.

The Pilots will try to keep their undefeated streak in tact Friday night when they travel up the river to a very tough Toronto squad, with kick-off scheduled for 7 p.m.