BLACKSVILLE — We all second-guess ourselves daily. Maybe it was choosing A on a science test when the answer was C. Or it’s taking a shortcut on the drive to work that is now backed up due to unscheduled road construction.
It could be a decision that will really come back to haunt you, like drafting Aaron Rodgers in the first round of a fantasy football draft.
Every football fan likes to play Monday morning quarterback following their team’s games. Sometimes, high school football coaches do it, too.
The Clay-Battelle football team is looking ahead after starting 0-2. But if the ball had bounced their way a couple more times, the Cee-Bees would easily be 2-0. Both losses — to Hundred in week one and Valley last week — were by a combined six points.
Head coach Ryan Wilson doesn’t like to dwell in the past, but it’s hard not to look back at what could have been.
It was neck and neck for most of the game, then Valley overcame a two-touchdown deficit, but Clay-Battelle never gave up, forcing overtime by getting a crucial score with under three minutes remaining in regulation.
“It was fun to watch,” Wilson said. “It was a great game for both teams, you hated to see anybody lose. Both teams were making good plays and the crowd got their money’s worth for sure. As a coach, when you come up on the short end, you’re always looking for that one play that could have gone the other way. Maybe we should have done this, or why did we do that in that spot? Afterward, it’s 20-20. You look at the play afterward and realize you may have made a different decision than what you could have done.”
After the 50-48 overtime decision, the Cee-Bees had to reassess their lineup after several starters were banged up. Wilson and his staff have taken the week to evaluate where each player stands and what their status is heading into this week’s home contest with Beallsville (Oh.).
“Friday night during the game, we had several injuries and we played with a next-man-up mentality,” Wilson said. “Some of our younger guys did a fantastic job stepping up. They were thrown in there and got good experience and did a great job. The coaching staff did a great job of cycling guys in and out.”
Building depth and getting younger players more experience is exactly what is needed early in the season, but also in looking to build the program for years to come. That’s the approach Beallsville has taken over the past few years. Clay-Battelle is on a three-game winning streak against Beallsville and looks to make it four in a row Friday night.
Of the 23 players on this year’s Blue Devils roster, 11 are seniors. Many are four-year starters, including quarterback Garrett Perkins.
“They’re big and they’re a veteran group,” Wilson said. “A lot of these kids have been playing since they were freshmen and their starting group is now seniors. They have a lot of experience and they’re disciplined. They have a lot of playing time under their belts and they know what to do and that’s why they’re playing very well this year.”
Beallsville is 3-1 on the season, coming off a 14-8 win against Hundred, which beat CB, 26-22. Other players to watch out for on the Blue Devils are Connor Hagan, Reed Smith and Mark Lowden, talented running backs who have the benefit of running behind a senior-laden offensive line.
For the Cee-Bees, Maddox Shriver had 90 yards on nine rushes with two touchdowns last week and Zachary Hall ran 13 times for 126 yards. Quarterback JC Spears was 20 of 32 passing for 377 yards and four touchdowns.
“When we came in Monday, the message was to get back to work,” Wilson said. “We are very close. It’s just a couple of little things here or there. We just have to keep working and hopefully, good things will happen for us.”
At halftime of Friday’s game in Blacksville, the school will hold the Clay-Battelle Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The eight former athletes who will be honored are Adam Henkins, Chad Henkins, Aaron LaPoe, Nicole Mattingly, Russ Moore, Sydney Rush, Frank Skubis and Gary Steele.
BY MATTHEW PEASLEE