Red Devils light up the scoreboard

• Strong start propels St.C. boys to 5-0 win

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — In many ways, Gary Watt didn’t know what to expect from his St. Clairsville boys’ soccer team when it opened the season Friday afternoon.

After 80 minutes, he liked what he saw.

The Red Devils scored three goals in the first 11 minutes and went on to a 5-0 blanking of Indian Creek in the first of two matches against the Redskins as part of the OHSAA and Columbus Crew SC’s ”Friday Night Futbol” initiative at Red Devil Stadium.

”It’s a nice way to start,” Watt beamed. ”When you don’t know how players that have neither played before as starters or even in those positions will do and then they step up and come through, it’s a nice start.

”It’s a real boost for those guys and I’m just really thrilled for them.”

Noah Brown scored two goals and Zach Orzolek had two assists as St. Clairsville took care of the Redskins in quick order, scoring four first-half goals.

”We just weren’t ready and they came out ready,” Redskins head coach Chuck Brettell said. ”They just seemed like they were ready to play.

”They’ve had our number for years. They beat us twice last year. They’re kids are confident.”

And energetic.

The Red Devils jumped out of the gate like gangbusters, scoring two goals in the first 8:04.

With 4:58 elapsed, senior Alec St. Clair broke the ice with a goal off an assist from classmate Kyle Hendershot.

Hendershot got into the scoring act himself in the 8th minute, capping a nifty exchange with teammates Orzolek and Noah Palmer. Orzolek had the ball, found Palmer, who, in turn found Hendershot near the front of the net.

”That was one of our big questions,” Watt said. ”Who will be our goal scorers?

”St. Clair got us going, then Hendershot. Our seniors really got us going. We expect them to lead us and they did.”

With Jordan Vincent lost to graduation, the Red Devils will be looking for a player or players to pick up his production. Friday, four players scored for St. Clairsville, a sight Watt enjoyed.

”(Jordan) was one of a kind, but we have some really good guys here. That good start was a nice way to get us rolling.”

Brown recorded the first of his two goals a little more than two minutes after Hendershot’s score, finding the net on a breakaway. Then, in the 36th minute, he connected on a nifty corner kick from left side that gave the hosts a 4-0 lead.

Through it all, the Redskins were stymied.

”I have to give a shout out to my defense,” Watt said. ”My goodness, we had a new player, Cade Wolfe, in the middle, that was playing lights out. And Nate Verardi, Evan Colaw, Joey Wissman and Brandon Coleman, those guys just played great.”

Jared Morgan came off the bench to collect the Red Devils’ only second half goal with about 21 minutes remaining.

”I was able to play everyone,” Watt said, ”and there was no let down when I did that.

”This is the best-conditioned team I’ve ever coached. We run all the time.

”We used to drive up to the practice field and now we run up.

”They’re a close-knit group because they know they have a lot to prove. They stick together.

”They’re a team playing as one and they did that today.”

St. C. returns to action Tuesday at home vs. West Muskingum.