Columbiana rolls 41-0 over Lisbon


It took the Columbiana Clippers awhile to get going, but once they did, it resulted in a dominating 41-0 victory over EOAC rival Lison Friday night at Firestone Park.  The win boosted the league-leading Clippers record to 5-3 on the year, 5-0 in the EOAC.  The Devils fall to 3-5, 1-4 in the league.

The Clippers junior quarterback Jakob Cross was on fire all night as he hit 19 of 31 passes for 358 yards, and tossing 4 touchdowns.  He also ran for 34 yards on the night as the Clippers racked up 465 total yards in the game.

Xathon Cross would be on the receiving end of 6 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Joe Bable caught 3 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.  Chase Franken would ass another 59 yards receiving on 3 receptions and a score.

“We think we have a speed advantage on everybody, we have a lot of speed on offense,” Cross explained.  “It’s not just our skill position players, our line had an amazing night.  I had all the time to be able to sit back in the pocket, they gave me great protection all night.  And our skill guys made it happen.”

The Clippers looked as though they were going to make quick work of the Blue Devils as they scored on their first possession following a 7-play drive with Chase Franken divining into the end zone from just 1-yard out.  That gave the Clippers an early 7-0 at the 7:15 mark of the first quarter.

But after that, the Clippers committed two turnovers at the goal line and had a touchdown called back due to an illegal procedure penalty.  Joe Bable was stripped of the ball at the 1-yard line on the first play of the second quarter, Xathon Cross scored on a 19-yard pass that was called back with about 7 minutes left in the half, and then the Clippers fumbled an exchange at the 2-yard line at the 5:56 mark of the second quarter.

“We had a great week of practice. I thought we were ready.  I thought our focus was fine.  Let’s just give Lisbon credit on that,” Clipper coach Bob Spaite said of the two turnovers.

“We actually stopped ourselves in the first half,” Cross admitted.  “We really just kind of beat ourselves in the first half.  But we got it going in the second half.”

“Actually it was one of our seniors who stepped up in our locker room who said something was Wayne Davis,” Cross added.  “He stepped up before the coaches said anything.  He said ‘we are beating ourselves.  We need to figure out what we’re doing and get back into this game’.”

In the second half, the Clippers offense really came alive as they scored on 5 consecutive possessions with Cross throwing touchdown passes on the first four drives.  The first came on a 37-yard pass to Franken at the 9:37 mark of the third quarter, followed by a 20-yard toss to Seth Ross with 5:56 left in the third period.

They added to their advantage with just 1:36 remaining in the quarter when Joe Bable took a screen pass 60-yards around left end to make it 27-0 in favor of the Clippers.  Then Cross found Hunter Zentner in the left flat for a 16-yard pass and run to boost the lead to 34-0.  Matt Morocco would close the Clippers scoring with a 26-yard run with just 6:07 remaining in the game.

“We’re struggling to finish drives,” Blue Devils coach Alan Mikovich remarked.  “We get a drive going, we start getting a little bit of momentum and then we start to fizzle out.  We don’t have a ton of play-makers on offense right now because of injuries, but the kids are playing hard and I can’t be any prouder of them.”

The Devils were held to 132 total yards in the game with senior running back Brice Blackburn leading the Devils with 53 yards rushing in 13 carries.  Senior quarterback Logan Bell would rush for 20 yards and pass for 31 additional yards.

“Their athleticism caught up with us in the second half,” Mikovich added.  “They have a lot of athletes out on the field.  They do a good job and Bob (Spaite) runs a great program.  We just sort of wore down in the second half and gave up some cheap ones.”

Next Friday night the Clippers travel to Southern Local to take on the Indians for a chance to clinch at least a share of an EOAC title.  The Blue Devils travel to East Palestine next Friday night.

“This one worried me. Certainly we were looking at Southern, and certainly, East Palestine is always on our mind,” Spaite remarked about the Clippers year-end schedule.

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