Shadyside Puts It to River, 40-6
SHADYSIDE – It was certainly a special night at Fleming Field.
In more ways than one.
As Shadyside celebrated its history, recognizing more than 230 former players who returned to celebrate the program’s 100th season, the current Tigers did their part in making them proud.
“The atmosphere here was great,” Shadyside coach Mark Holenka said. “I wish we could have one of these celebrations for each season.”
And on top of that, Shadyside’s special teams delivered the first key play of the game, which swung the momentum.
Thanks to a blocked punt, which was scooped by sophomore lineman Kristopher Tsoras and returned for a 16-yard touchdown, Shadyside broke open a scoreless game with a minute left in the half and never looked back en route to a 40-6 victory against River.
“The special teams play got us going and then we came out and played with a little bit more of a sense of urgency in the second half,” Holenka said. “I am happy that we have the ability to turn it on, but we still have to start the game better than we did.”
Once the Tigers shifted gears as Holenka pointed out, they pulled away from the Pilots quickly. A 20-point barrage in the third quarter – all of which was fueled by the running of talented sophomore Wyatt Reiman, proved to be too much for Mike Flannery’s team to overcome.
“We had a special teams mishap once again and the dominoes kept falling,” Flannery said. “(Shadyside) beat us in all phases of the game. I take responsibility for that. This (loss) is on me.”
In the pivotal third quarter, Reiman scored on runs of 6, 15 and 4 yards. He added his fourth touchdown early in the fourth, which sent the game into OHSAA mercy rule territory, from 4 yards out again. Reiman carried 29 times for 209 yards.
“When you call Reiman a workhorse, the last part of that is especially true,” Holenka said. “He’s a horse. He did a heckuva job and you have to give the line credit in the second half because we basically played power football and they woke up in the second half.”
Shadyside made the score 40-0 when junior fullback Jacob Visnic found the end zone from 7 yards out on his final carry.
Holenka then inserted the second unit on defense. Shadyside’s first team defense was lights out. On top of allowing no points, it limited the Pilots to 13 yards of offense and only two first downs, one of which came via penalty. All told, the Pilots finished with just 76 yards of offense and their lone score came on a 37-yard run, which included a heck of an individual effort from junior Michael Johnson.
“The defense played lights out,” Holenka said. “I am fortunate to have a great coaching staff on both sides of the ball. That really helps and makes things easier. When one area isn’t clicking, the other side can come through.”
Michael Johnson paced the Pilots with 63-yards rushing and a touchdown on 22 carries, while adding 8-yards receiving. Avery Creamer added 30=yards rushing on 8-carries. Stone Thompson threw for 18-yards on 5-completions. Jake Rose hauled in 2-passes for 20-yards.
Defensively, the Pilots Heath Rosen, Avery Creamer and Brody Lollathin each recorded 10-stops, with both Rosen and Creamer making 2-tackles for loss of yardage.
Friday, River will host Riverside on the their home-coming, with a 7 p.m. Start.
(Bruce Crawford added to the story)