COLUMBIANA – Ohio (WKBN) – The Columbiana Clippers made a special night even more significant as they dominated East Palestine 45-19 in front of over 100 former alumni and coaches celebrating 100 years of Columbiana football. The victory improves the Clippers to 2-1 on the season while the Bulldogs drop to 2-1.
After both team sputtered to start the game, the Clippers got their high powered offense going with a 32-yard touchdown run by 5’8 155 pound senior tailback Tanner Pearl with 6:59 remaining in the first quarter. He would add a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mitch Davidson early in the second quarter to give the Clippers a 14-0 advantage.
“I just try to play hard. I know I’m real small but I try to ignore that and show that size isn’t everything when you play from the heart,” Pearl remarked. “I know everyone from our team played from the heart (tonight).
Pearl also leveled a vicious hit on a Bulldog receiver from his safety position on defense in the second quarter, showing how he plays bigger than his size. “You can’t have any fear of defense,” Pearl remarked.
On the night, Pearl rushed for 50 yards and caught 3 passes for 11-yards to go along with those two scores.
Following Pearl’s touchdown catch, the Clippers would go on to score on their next five possession, racking up 18 points before intermission. East Palestine would add two short touchdown runs by quarterback Parker Sherry to score twice, making it 31-13 at halftime.
“The Crestview scenario is the one that scares us the most,” Clippers coach Bob Spaite said after the Clippers lost week to Crestview following a 14-0 in that game. “If we can’t score enough to take you out of your comfort zone to where all you can do is just hold onto the ball and be happy with three yards then we’re in trouble.”
“We just had a cluster of missed blocking assignments, missed opportunities, and dropped balls. I don’t know what it was, whether it was a lack of focus on our part. I don’t know,” Bulldogs coach Tony Foster remarked.
On the night the Bulldogs would commit four turnovers, including one fumble and three interceptions. That, combined with nearly 100 yards in penalties and numerous dropped passes by receivers caused the Bulldogs offense to sputter all night.
The Clippers would add two more touchdowns in the second half while the Bulldogs added a late score to reach the 45-19 final.
Although the Bulldogs were suffering from a virus that ran through the team in the past week, Foster was not going to accept that as a reason for the team’s performance, “I told these guys when we were down here (post game meeting), we came out and we got whooped. I said you guys were straight up beaten tonight. So I’m not going to make excuses. We had 15 guys out on Monday, 13 out on Tuesday, stuff we put in and adjustments we made some guys had them, some guys didn’t. We had to deal with it better than we did, and we saw the result.”
“We executed pretty well on offense tonight,” Spaite said. “I thought our kids played well.”
But perhaps more importantly, the win on a night that Columbiana was celebrating 100 years of football made it even more sweeter. “I’m an emotional guy anyway, I don’t hide my emotions very well,” Spaite said. “That really, really touched me. Having those guys, there was a bunch, there had to be over 100 (former players and coaches) so we are really pleased that we were able to perform for them.”