Wildcats bounce Bears

NEW MANCHESTER – Edison Local scored three second-half touchdowns to break open a close game with Oak Glen giving Derrick Stickles his first victory as a head coach by a decisive 33-14 margin at the Oak Glen Sports Complex.

Senior quarterback Nolan Marcus threw for 190 yards and three touchdowns while bruising junior tailback, Ethan Shannon scored three times as he rumbled for 113 yards to lead the way for the Wildcats.

Stickles and second-year Oak Glen coach Ian Whittington are best friends, having played football together throughout their middle and high school years and even at West Liberty University. They also coached together last year as Stickles was Whittington’s offensive coordinator.

“It is very exciting getting my first win, but it is more important that Ian and I can be best friends again now that the game is over,” Stickles said. “It’s unfortunate that my first win had to be against my best friend, but you know what I never had a better feeling than when my son was born and I got married. It is a great feeling.”

Whittington felt his Golden Bears played well despite starting a bunch of sophomores and a freshman on each side of the ball.

“Edison made the plays when they needed to and came up big when they had to,” Whittington said. “They made a lot of third down conversions. Some missed tackling and a couple of bad executions really hurt us.”

Golden Bear junior quarterback Chase Hartley got things rolling in the second quarter completing four of eight passes including a 17-yard strike to classmate Micah Swiger for a touchdown.

Senior running back David Campbell dashed 70 yards for a third period touchdown that brought the Golden Bears to within six points of the Wildcats.

However, Shannon, a workhorse with 19 carries, took control scoring all three of his team’s second half touchdowns to shut the door on any comeback hopes Oak Glen might have had.

“Shannon runs hard and he’s a part of the nice tandem of kids that do their jobs and play their roles,” said Stickles. “And they’re all capable of making big plays. It’s nice as a coach to have that advantage.”

The Wildcats got the opening kickoff and moved relentlessly down the field with the opening drive going 70 yards in nine plays with Marcus hitting Rich Springer with a 15-yard aerial at the goal line for the first score of the year. Marcus kicked the extra point to arm the Wildcats with a 7-0 lead.

They made it 14-0 when Marcus found Springer in the end zone again with a 21-yard pass. Senior Storm Allese booted the extra point this time.

Oak Glen capitalized on a Marcus fumble midway through the second quarter. Senior Skylar Fluharty pounced on the loss football at the Golden Bear 42 and Hartley led a drive that ended in a 17-yard Hartley to Micah Swiger touchdown pass.

Swiger caught the ball at about the 15-yard line and zig zagged his way through the defense for the score. Senior Colton Speece kicked the extra point that made the score 14-7 at halftime.

“I knew that Oak Glen was going to be a formidable opponent. I knew it was going to be a dog fight,” Stickles explained. “That’s what I told my kids. Like I said earlier this week when you have big fights with really good friends they usually are really good fights.”

Edison put the ball in the end zone on its first possession of the second half, a three-play, 52-yard drive that ended when Shannon blasted through the middle and rumbled 18 yards to the end zone.

The Golden Bears struck back again when they got the ball. On the first play, Campbell, who led Oak Glen with 14 carries, was stopped for no gain on the first play, but found daylight on a slant over the right side of his line on the next play. He outran the Edison secondary to the end zone going down the right sideline in a play covering 70 yards. Speece’s successful point after kick brought the Golden Bears with within six points at 20-14.

Shannon, however, put the game out of reach with a 3-yard plunge into the end zone that capped another long Edison drive, and he scored on a 25-yard run in the fourth quarter starting left on the play and reversing his field while running to daylight.

Edison plays it first home game next week hosting Carrollton while the Golden Bears hit the road to renew a rivalry with Beaver Local.